Is Jessica Alba's Honest Company Sunscreen Really Ineffective? A Dermatologist Weighs In

Jessica Alba: Dermatologist Weighs in on Honest Company Sunscreen Complaints
Jessica Alba
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08/03/2015 AT 07:10 PM EDT

Jessica Alba's Honest Company has been the target of online backlash after consumers took to social media to complain that the all-natural product line's sunscreen is ineffective – but is that really the case?

The sunscreen SPF 30 lotion sold on the site boasts that it is made without synthetic chemicals. Its ingredients include non-nano zinc oxide (the only active ingredient), beeswax, shea butter, flower extracts and natural oils.

Dermatologist Dr. Kafele Hodari says that although zinc oxide is the "hallmark ingredient of any effective sunscreen," it may not be effective enough on its own.

"In my experience, most high-quality sunscreens contain at least two active ingredients, including titanium dioxide or octinoxate," he tells PEOPLE.



However, Hodari also explains that the natural ingredients used in the sunscreen could cause allergic reactions in some users that could be mistaken for sunburn.

"While so-called natural ingredients may appear safer, often they contribute to allergic-type reactions or can react adversely with ultraviolet light in some patients," he says. "It would not be surprising if some of the adverse reactions that patients experienced were actually allergic rather than a burn per se."

When it comes to staying safe in the sun, Hodari's guidelines are in line with the directions found on The Honest Company's sunscreen.

"Sunscreen should be applied evenly and liberally," he says. "The biggest mistake people make with sunscreen is that they do not properly re-apply it. Sunscreen should be applied approximately every two hours, and it should be applied every 80 minutes if people are participating in water activity or sports."

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The Honest Company previously responded to customer complaints in a statement to PEOPLE.

"The Honest Company is committed to providing safe and effective products, and we take all consumer feedback very seriously."

"Our Sunscreen Lotion was tested, by an independent 3rd party, against the protocols prescribed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) monograph for over-the-counter sunscreen products. The results showed that our product is effective and safe for use as an 80 minute water-resistant (FDA's highest rating), SPF 30 sunscreen lotion in accordance with FDA regulations when used as directed (Shake Well. Apply liberally and evenly 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying and at least every 2 hours)."

"The number of complaints received on our own website about our Sunscreen Lotion constitute less than one half of one percent of all units actually sold at honest.com."
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