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Johnson & Johnson Recalls Sunscreens After Finding Carcinogenic Ingredients

Caroline Inglis sprays sunscreen on the 11th tee during round two of the Hugel-JTBC Championship at the Wilshire Country Club

Harry How / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Johnson & Johnson is recalling five aerosol sunscreens that have small amounts of benzene, a carcinogen.
  • People who own these sunscreens should discontinue use and discard them immediately.
  • The company is voluntarily recalling the products. No adverse health consequences have been reported so far.

Johnson & Johnson is recalling five aerosol sunscreen products after detecting low levels of benzene, a cancer-causing agent, in some samples.

The company urged customers to stop using these products and discard them immediately. 

The recalled sunscreens include: 

  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen
  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen

Distributors and retailers will be notified of the recall and Johnson & Johnson will arrange for product returns. 

“While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products,” Johnson & Johnson said in its press statement. “We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products.” 

This is not the first time Johnson & Johnson has recalled a product due to potential carcinogens. In 2019, the pharmaceutical giant recalled 33,000 bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found small amounts of asbestos in a sample. It also halted sales of Power Morcellators, a surgical tool used in abdominal procedures, after the FDA found it had the potential to spread or worsen uterine cancer.

Benzene is a naturally occurring carcinogen, which people can be exposed to through breathing, eating or skin contact. It is mostly found in cigarette smoke and it can increase a person’s risk of developing leukemia or other blood disorders.

Currently, no adverse health effects from customers have been reported. While the levels of benzene in the sunscreens are not expected to be high enough to affect people’s health, the corporation said it is voluntarily recalling the products “out of abundance of caution.”

What This Means For You

If you are using one of these five sunscreens, Johnson & Johnson is advising customers to discontinue use and discard the products. You can call the company’s customer care line at 1-800-458-1673 for questions regarding the product, health concerns, and refunds. 


Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen

Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen

Neutrogena Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen

Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen


You should still opt for another sunscreen product or brand to protect yourself from risks of skin cancer.

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