jessica alba, honest, sunscreen
photo: Getty

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company prides itself on selling products that are “unquestionably safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient, and affordable.” So, why are they getting so much slack lately? Social media has been bombarded with complaints by people who claim to have suffered sunburns after using Honest’s SPF 30 sunscreen lotion.

The Honest Company released a statement today regarding these complaints stating:  

"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 …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. We stand behind the safety and efficacy of this product."

There’s an abundance of sunscreen products on the market, but how do you know which one will suit your needs? One way to begin your search is to find out the difference between a physical sunscreen and a chemical sunscreen

Physical sunscreen contains active mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. This type of sunscreen is a “natural broad spectrum,” which protects against UVA and UVB rays, and sits on top of the skin (so you can see the actual lotion). The whiteness of the lotion deflects the sun’s rays and works instantly, but also comes off easier so you need to reapply often.

Chemical sunscreen is much easier and smoother to apply to the skin, but the protection takes about 20 minutes after it’s been applied to kick in. Chemical sunscreen may also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Although this type of protection is generally safe and widely popular, it is also controversial: The chemical filters generate free radicals which can cause skin damage, irritation, and aging. 

Another great way to figure out if the sunscreen you already own is actually protecting you from the sun is to go on the Environmental Working Group website and search for your product. When we searched Honest’s SPF 30 sunscreen lotion, on a scale from 1 to 10 (with one being the best protection), the brand received the highest rating. EWG suggests that consumers avoid spray sunscreens because they cloud the air with tiny particles that may not be safe to breathe and urge users to reapply protection often — regardless of the weather conditions. We say better safe than sorry, so it's imperative to be informed about what you're purchasing.