Fact Check

Neutrogena Rash

Published July 9, 2015


FACT CHECK:   Did Neutrogena brand Pure & Free sunblock cause chemical burns on a young child?

Claim:   Neutragena brand Pure & Free sunblock caused chemical burns on a young child.


Example:     [Collected via Facebook, July 2015]


Origins:    On 2 July 2015, Facebook user Amy Malpocker Kohl posted a message reporting that her child had received chemical burns from Neutragena brand Pure & Free Baby sunblock: Shortly after Kohl posted her Facebook message (which was shared more than a hundred thousand times), another parent shared a similar story on Twitter:

On 8 July 2015, Neutrogena responded to the messages, saying that the chemical burns resulting from use of their sunblock product were not "typical":

While the specific cause of the burns has not yet been identified, Kohl said that she believes that the ingredient retinyl palmitate could be the culprit:

Some groups have cautioned consumers to avoid sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate, but because of the possibility that it may increase skin cancer, not because it causes burns:

Government-funded studies have found that this particular type of vitamin A may increase risk of skin cancer when used on sun-exposed skin. However, these reports have been in mice and evidence has been inconclusive for humans.

Neutrogena has said they are working with parents to find the cause of the reported rashes:

Last updated:      9 July 2015

Originally published:    9 July 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.