Sydney mum's warning after boy's 'horrific' reaction to sunscreen

·2-min read

A Sydney mum wants skincare brands made to list all ingredients on their products after a decision to test sunscreens for cancer-causing chemicals.

Violet Lowe says she feels it's important to take a stand after her three-year-old son, Sonny, suffered an allergic reaction to a well-known sunscreen.

"It was horrific," said the 37-year-old from the city's northern beaches.

"Everywhere I'd applied it came out in hives within 20 minutes and his face swelled up.

"He was really distressed as it was so itchy and we ended up taking him to hospital in case it caused anaphylactic shock."

Three-year-old, Sonny, came out in a terrible allergic reaction to a well-known sunscreen. Source: AAP
Three-year-old, Sonny, came out in a terrible allergic reaction to a well-known sunscreen. Source: AAP

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration announced last week it would test locally-made sunscreens for cancer-causing chemicals following a US study which found nearly 80 brands contained benzene.

Separate US research in June found an anti-ageing cream ingredient, octocrylene, is also contained in sunscreens and can degrade into a known carcinogen called benzophenone.

The TGA says the results of its own tests will be published on its website once available.

It told News Corp Australia that while octocrylene was an approved ingredient in locally-marketed sunscreen products at a maximum concentration of 10 per cent, it did not consider this an unacceptable risk when the sunscreens are used as directed.

It also said benzophenone had been reported to be detected only at trace amounts in octocrylene-containing products.

Even so, Australian skin care expert Craig Jones says he has concerns about the American findings.

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration will test locally-made sunscreens for cancer-causing chemicals. Source: AP
Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration will test locally-made sunscreens for cancer-causing chemicals. Source: AP

The creator of the popular MooGoo range of skin, body and hair care products says not listing ingredients on sunscreen labels makes it impossible to make informed choices.

MooGoo only uses zinc-based sunscreen after Mr Jones spent four years developing a product that doesn't need penetration enhancers and UV filters found in most brands.

"Many people seem to assume that the sun protection factor is the only important thing when choosing a sunscreen and don't tend to be concerned with what it's made of," he told AAP.

"Unfortunately in Australia, most sunscreen ingredients are not shown on the label."

Mr Jones said not listing the ingredients at a time when so many people have allergies constituted "a public health hazard".

"There is simply no reason not to disclose ingredients," he said.

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