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Lululemon Stirs Up Sunscreen Controversy

by kelly / July, 23 2014 01:30

Lululemon bags say not to wear sunscreen
Current Lululemon bag advises against sunscreen

Lululemon is not a company to shy away from provocative statements. Nevertheless, I was surprised when they made a pretty bold statement about sunscreen. On their shopping bags, one of their new manifestos reads "sunscreen absorbed into the skin might be worse for you than sunshine. get the right amount of sunshine". In addition to their bags, this statement is on their website manifesto page.


First off, let me say I'm actually a fan of their clothes. I do have a pair of their yoga pants. Also at Block Island Organics we do love the sun and we don't believe in avoiding it altogether, we just want everyone to play smart and safe in the sun and our belief (which is supported by scientific research, doctors, consumer advocacy groups, the US Food and Drug Administration, a multitude of cancer associations including the American Cancer Society and more) is that wearing sunscreen is key to sun safety. So I was a little concerned by Lululemon's statement.


Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Today, according to the American Cancer Society, one in every three cancer diagnosis is skin cancer. Plus, there are numerous studies that prove sunscreen can prevent skin cancer. The American Cancer Society even recommends the use of broad spectrum UV radiation blockers with SPF 30 or greater whenever you are in the sun and recommends applying it regularly. Business Insider also looked into Lululemon's statement and cited Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers and in their research they conclude that the benefits of sunscreen are numerous: "Our research revealed that topical use of sunscreen protects against squamous cell carcinoma [skin cancer], does not cause vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency in practice and has not been demonstrated to adversely affect the health of humans".


Lululemon bag says wear sunscreen
Prior Lululemon bag says wear sunscreen

Now there is controversy over some of the ingredients used in sunscreen, in particularly as it relates to the chemical UV filtering ingredients used in most sunscreens, and it could be what Lululemon is referring to. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit consumer advocacy group, has outlined their concerns about chemical UV filtering ingredients here.  This is why our sunscreens are mineral based (zinc and titanium) and why we believe they are a better alternative to the more common chemical sunscreens. Additionally, you should always check the ingredients of any product you use as there can still be chemicals in a mineral sunscreen. You need to look at both the active ingredients (these are the UV filters and anything listed that is not zinc or titanium is a chemical) and the inactive ingredients. At Block Island Organics we strive to use both active and inactive ingredients that are non-toxic and safe. In fact, the EWG named us one of the best and safest sunscreens of 2014.


I wonder if Lululemon will change it's stance on this topic. Hopefully they will. I mean at one point they did seem to support wearing sunscreen. See, their prior bags actually recommended wearing sunscreen. A bit of confusing message from them, no?

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