Erin Belsher’s legs make you want to wince. The 24-year-old says she sustained burns after using a Banana Boat sunscreen product on Saturday.
Five days later, she can barely walk after painful blisters formed on her legs — they are red, raw and, for most people, hard to look at.
“In the mornings I cry for about twenty minutes before I get out of bed because it’s just so bad,” said Belsher
“I can’t even stand up — it feels like someone is chopping off my legs.”
She is now warning others about the product line used by millions of Canadians every summer for sun protection.
“Be careful what you use.”
Belsher says the specific sunscreen she used was Banana Boat’s SPF 60 Sport Performance Sunscreen, offered to her by a friend.
“I didn’t feel anything for a little bit and then we were coming back home I felt the burning — I thought it was just a sunburn.”
The next day she had to leave work three hours into her shift. She was in so much pain and went to St. Paul’s Hospital where she says she was diagnosed with second-degree chemical burns.
“I wanted to pop them but my doctor said ‘don’t pop them because it may scar’,” said Belsher.
“I may have permanent pigment damage.”
WATCH: Calgary mom comes forward with concerns over Banana Boat sunscreen reactions
All because, Belsher says, she was wanting to protect her legs from damage that may have been caused by the sun.
“I could not imagine a kid going through this,” Belsher said.
“If I can barely go through this — imagine if a kid had to feel that.”
Children even infants like this one, allegedly have.
As of July 17, Health Canada has received 202 complaints about Banana Boat products, the majority of those reports have been received in the past two months.
Here is part of Banana Boat’s statement to Global News regarding this latest allegation:
“To date, Health Canada has not made any link between our product and the consumer complaints. As of July 14, 2017, Health Canada has said that it has reviewed our certificates of analysis and test results available and has not seen any issues.
Banana Boat sunscreens fall within a neutral pH range, which means they are safe for human skin, topical use and cannot cause chemical burns, which are sometimes mistakenly linked to personal care products or confused with sunburns.
For some people, their sensitivity to an ingredient can be triggered or exacerbated by the sun. This type of photoallergic reaction can result in an exaggerated skin rash or sunburn. In more severe cases, blistering may also develop.”
Belsher, however, isn’t buying it with the number of cases Health Canada is currently reviewing.
“Obviously there’s something wrong, obviously it’s not just people’s skin,” she said.
Health Canada is now conducting tests of its own on the products, results should be released in the coming weeks.