If You Have This Banana Boat Sunscreen, Stop Using It Now, FDA Warns

This popular product is being pulled due to the presence of a potentially harmful chemical.

Summer beach days are the highlight of the season for many of us, but the extreme heat that has hit most parts of the country over the last couple weeks makes pleasant outdoor excursions that much more dangerous. With that in mind, it's important to take the necessary precautions, including drinking lots of water, knowing the symptoms of heat stroke, and, of course, slathering sunscreen over every bit of exposed skin. Before you do so, however, you'll want to be aware of a sunscreen recall attached to popular brand Banana Boat. Read on to learn which product you should toss instead of using.

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This isn't the first sunscreen recall this summer.

woman putting on sunscreen at the beach

Depending on where you buy your sunscreen, you may have already had to toss some products this summer. Earlier this month, Family Dollar had to issue a massive recall on a number of items that had been stored outside of temperature requirements, according to a release posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The 11-page list of pulled products includes several sunscreens, among other skincare products.

The affected brands include Banana Boat, Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic, Suntone, and Neutrogena, with sprays and lotions of various strengths subject to recall. But these sunscreens only need to be thrown out if they were purchased from certain Family Dollar locations. Now, a new recall includes a specific Banana Boat sunscreen product you could have picked up anywhere.

One Banana Boat sunscreen product has been recalled.

banana boat hair and scalp defense spray
Banana Boat

As Banana Boat rightfully notes on the product page for its Hair & Scalp Defense Spray, "sunscreen application shouldn't stop at the hairline." If you're using this particular sunscreen, however, you may want to double check your bottle.

Per a July 29 release posted on the FDA site, Edgewell Personal Care Company is voluntarily recalling three batches of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 after testing found trace levels of the chemical benzene. The recalled products all have the UPC 0-79656-04041-8, but three different lot codes: 20016AF, 20084BF, and 21139AF. You can also check the expiration date, as the affected sunscreen will have an expiration of Dec. 2022, Feb. 2023, or April 2024.

No other Banana Boat sunscreen is subject to recall, according to the FDA release, and other lots of Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray remain safe to use.

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Benzene is considered a carcinogen.

close up of aerosol spray on black background
pics five / Shutterstock

As the FDA release explains, trace levels of benzene were found in the recalled sunscreen sprays. "While benzene is not an ingredient in any Banana Boat products, the review showed that unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can," the release says. It also notes that while benzene is a carcinogen that can cause cancers like leukemia and other blood disorders, daily exposure to the levels of benzene found in the sunscreen "would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences according to an independent health assessment using established exposure modeling guidelines."

Nevertheless, it's important to be aware of benzene exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that benzene causes cells to not work properly, leading to anemia and immune system damage. Benzene exposure can manifest in symptoms including headache, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, and confusion, per the CDC.

Here's what to do if you have the recalled sunscreen at home.

woman looking considered on phone

The first thing to do if you have any of the recalled Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray is to stop using it right away: "Consumers should stop using the affected product immediately and appropriately discard," the FDA release says. Banana Boat is offering reimbursement for anyone who purchased this sunscreen, and you can visit its website for more information on the recall and getting your money back.

While the recall is careful to note that no adverse effects tied to this sunscreen have been reported, the FDA asks that if you do experience any symptoms, you report them to the agency's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. And if you have any questions or concerns about benzene exposure, you should talk to your doctor.

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