'Felt like acid': Aldi defends sunscreen despite customers' horror stories

Aldi has defended a heavily-criticised sunscreen range it carries despite accusations by several people it has failed to protect them and left them with horrific sunburn.

Shoppers reviewing the Ombra SPF 50+ sunscreen blasted the product with some saying they were left with burns and skin irritations. But the discount supermarket chain says the sunscreen has passed industry testing and is safe.

Complaints emerged last summer with more than 50 product reviews online giving the sunscreen a one-star rating.

“Felt like acid on my face,” one customer wrote on a product review website.

“Used this once and would never use it or recommend ever. Face felt like I had acid on it. My face was red and burned for hours after. Very, very itchy.”

“The Ombra 50+ spray is horrendous,” one woman said.

“I reapplied twice and was in the sun for a few hours at most (I am very pale), and I got absolutely roasted. It’s criminal to sell this product with the intensity of the Australian sun.”

A Brisbane resident said they were scalded by the sun despite heavily applying the sunscreen to their skin.

“It’s almost like it, as others suggest, acts like an oil and encourages burning,” they said.

Pictured are bad sunburns on the back of a woman's legs.
A woman claims she was burnt after using the Ombra sunscreen. Source: Facebook

Another customer claimed the sunscreen was like an oiling for “roast pork for crackling” and said she and her children suffered severe blisters, swelling and constant pain as a result of their sunburn.

Ombra meets industry standards, Aldi says

The complaints have extended to Facebook, with customers posting about their experiences last summer.

“Everyone got sunburnt in only the spots the sunscreen was applied, worst ever,” one woman wrote.

Another said when her daughter used it she either got sunburnt or had a reaction.

Others however reported they had no issues with the sunscreen and suggested people reacted differently.

“It’s not the actual sunscreen it’s how different individuals react to the active ingredients in it,” a woman said.

“It’s the same with every type of sunscreen. It’s why you should always patch test...”

An Aldi spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the sunscreen meets industry standards but they will investigate complaints.

“We are always concerned to hear if a customer has experienced issues with our products and we will thoroughly investigate any complaints,” Aldi said in a statement.

“We can confirm ALDI Ombra sunscreens are extensively tested to ensure they meet best practice, safety and industry standards before they become available to customers.

“They are regulated by the TGA (Therapeutic Good Administration Australia) and ALDI adheres to all their requirements.

“As outlined on the product labels, ALDI Australia recommends customers carefully follow application instructions to achieve optimum protection including reapplying often enough and using the adequate thickness.”

Pictured is a person holding a green bottle of Ombra sunscreen in an Aldi store.
Aldi says its Ombra sunscreen range has been tested and meets industry standards Source: Facebook

Canstar Blue gives Ombra 4-star rating

Product review site Canstar Blue compared Australian sunscreens earlier this year and found ALDI’s Ombra sunscreen rated four stars for overall customer satisfaction. It rated five stars for value for money, four for texture and consistency, effectiveness and ease of absorption and three for smell and scent.

Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s National Skin Cancer Committee, Heather Walker, told Yahoo News Australia all Australian sunscreens were regulated by the TGA to ensure they were safe and effective, but correct application was crucial.

How to apply sunscreen effectively

“Research published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology has shown 85 per cent of Australians don’t apply enough sunscreen. When applying sunscreen you need at least one teaspoon per limb, one for the front of the body, one for the back, one for the face, neck and ears. A full body application should be at least 35ml, or seven teaspoons. It’s more than most Australians think,” she said.

“Sunscreen needs to be applied 20 minutes before heading outdoors – it’s an emulsion and time is needed for the liquid to evaporate leaving the protective layer on the skin.

“Regardless of the level of water resistance, if you are spending time outside sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or immediately after swimming, sweating or towel drying.”

The Ombra sunscreen is not the first brand to be criticised for not having the desired effect.

In January a mother was calling for Banana Boat to be pulled from shelves after her son was burned to the point of blistering.

Banana Boat offered the mother a refund but reassured customers its products meet high standards.

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