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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Benzene and the Voluntary Sunscreen Recall

Over the weekend popular sunscreens from top-rated brands like Neutrogena and Aveeno were voluntarily recalled after indepenting testing found traces of the cancer-causing chemical benzene in them. All of the sunscreens recalled thus far have been aerosols, and large pharmacy chains like CVS have already removed the sunscreens from the shelves.

The brands’ parent company, Johnson & Johnson, released a statement wherein they clarified that “While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impact aerosol sunscreen finished products. We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products.”

“Consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately discard them.”

What is Benzene?

It’s a carcinogen primarily used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and is a natural component of crude oil. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Exposure to benzene increases the risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders.” So, basically, it’s not something you want to slather all over yourself multiple times while at the beach.

The main way most people are exposed to benzene is by breathing air that contains the chemical. Limits have been placed at a federal and state level on how much benzene is allowed in gasoline, in order to limit the average person’s exposure.

Which Sunscreens Were Recalled?

The brands’ parent company Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled all lots of the following types after the test results came back “out of an abundance of caution“:

Related Stories

  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol spray
  • Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily defense aerosol
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol
  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol

In the meantime, it’s still important to wear sunscreen to protect yourself while out in sun. Here are a few highly-rated brands and bottles that aren’t a part of the recall, that you can safely order and use.

Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion

This Neutrogena beach defense sunscreen lotion is rated SPF 70 and is stabilized with Helioplex sunscreen technology that gives broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s formulated to be fast-absorbing and has a lightweight, oil-free formula that’s water-resistant for 80 minutes.

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Courtesy of Amazon


Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray

This spray sunscreen is SPF 30 and has that signature coconut smell that just screams summer. It’s designed to be moisturizing and non-comedogenic, and delivers UVA/UVB protection while being packed with Vitamin E as well. This formula is also hypoallergenic.

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Courtesy of Amazon


Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Lotion

This is another water-resistant sunscreen lotion from Hawaiian Tropic that provides protection for up to 80 minutes, and has a breathable, lightweight formula that’s designed to not clog your pores. It’s got broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is fast-absorbing so you can get back to adventuring without being weighed down.

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Courtesy of Amazon