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Complaints about Cancer Society sunscreen increase, with babies among those burnt

More and more people are coming forward with complaints about Cancer Society sunscreens.

A couple, who were badly sunburned last week while using Cancer Society SPF 50+ sunblock according to directions on the tube, sparked more people to come forward with the same issues.

Cancer Society chief executive Mike Kernaghan today confirmed the number of complaints this season had jumped to 49 - with seven of those complaints so far going to a formal process.

On Tuesday the Cancer Society told 1 NEWS they had received 30 complaints this season about their sunscreen.

"The recent media activity has prompted a lot of people to get in touch with us," Mr Kernaghan said. "We take complaints very seriously and have a process that we follow with each complainant."

Two days later, this man's sunburn is still severe and has affected his ability to sleep. Source: 1 NEWS

"It’s really important that New Zealanders understand that sunscreen is only one part of being sun smart and to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap, especially between 10am and 4pm," Mr Kernaghan said.

"We also recommend people keep infants out of the sun as much as possible from September to April, especially between 10am and 4pm."

The Cancer Society came under fire this week after three incidents surfaced of parents claiming their children were badly burned while using Cancer Society sunscreen.

A woman, who told 1 NEWS she did not want to be named, criticised the brand when her 8-and-a-half-month-old daughter was "beetroot red" after a short time in the sun, and after being lathered in the Cancer Society Kids Pure SPF50+ sunscreen. The woman and her family were holidaying at Cooks Beach in the Coromandel at the time.

"I was so shocked," the woman said. "The main way I felt was like a terrible mother and extremely guilty for letting her get burnt."

The NZ Herald also reported a 4-month-old baby was left blistered after using SPF 50 Cancer Society sunscreen, and RNZ reported a mother was outraged after her teenage son was burnt after using Cancer Society's SPF 50 plus sunscreen spray and spending just one hour in the sun at Raglan beach.

Margaret says she is appalled with the way the Cancer Society handled her complaint about their sunscreen product.

The Cancer Society is investigating the cases, but Mr Kernaghan said he had 100 per cent confidence in the brand's products.

"I want to reassure New Zealanders that our sunscreen is safe if used correctly.

"Cancer Society sunscreens are manufactured under strict medicine manufacturing requirements. This includes being manufactured and packaged under the same strict Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Standards as medicines," he said.

The Cancer Society has not responded to questions about if the other complaints involved babies or children, or what sunscreen types were involved in the cases.