Five-year-old suffered a ‘chemical reaction’ to Banana Boat sun cream

‘His skin was on fire’: Banana Boat sun cream leaves boy, 5, screaming in pain and with first degree burns after causing a ‘chemical reaction’

  • Father Ashley Martin slathered him in Banana Boat No Tears SPF 50 sun cream 
  • Two hours later, youngster Oscar screamed his ‘skin was on fire’
  • He was rushed to A&E after his skin starting peeling and his blisters burst
  • Nearly two weeks on, Oscar is in agony and is afraid of going outside
  • Banana Boat said they ‘work diligently to provide high-quality sun protection’
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A five-year-old suffered first degree burns that could leave him scarred for life after having a ‘chemical reaction’ to sun cream.

His father Ashley Martin, 23, from Newport, South Wales, slathered Oscar in Banana Boat No Tears SPF 50 sun cream he bought from Tesco before sending him outside to play last Bank Holiday Monday. 

Just two hours later, Oscar raced in from the garden screaming in agony that his ‘skin was on fire’ and woke the next day covered in 6cm wide puss-filled blisters.

After initially being treated for sunburn, Oscar was rushed to A&E when his skin started peeling and his blisters burst, before being transferred to a specialist burns unit.

Nearly two weeks on, Oscar is still in severe pain and is afraid of going outside.

Furious Mr Martin, who claims Banana Boat have ignored his complaint, is speaking out to urge parents not to use the brand on their children.

A Banana Boat spokesperson said the company ‘works diligently to provide high-quality, cost-effective sun protection products’.

Oscar, five, suffered first degree burns after having a ‘chemical reaction’ to sun cream

Oscar was playing in the garden on a sunny day when he ran in the house screaming in agongy

His father Ashley Martin slathered him in Banana Boat No Tears SPF 50 sun cream from Tesco


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‘He was screaming “Mummy, Daddy, I’m burning” 

Speaking of the incident, Mr Martin said: ‘It was a hot Bank Holiday Monday and I was setting the table for Oscar to have his ham sandwich before he came running.

‘He was crying and screaming “Mummy, Daddy, I’m burning”.

‘Over the next few days we gave him Calpol, cold showers and the flamazine cream but nothing seemed to be working.

‘The doctors said the sun cream shouldn’t be sold over here because it’s an American product and they aren’t as stringent when testing their products.

‘You would think a sun cream that has “Tear-free” and SPF 50 plastered on it would be fine so that’s why I didn’t mind spending £10 on it.’

Oscar woke with 6cm-wide blisters on his shoulders, which doctors thought was just sunburn

His father became concerned when the blisters burst and rushed his son to A&E

A hospital blood test suggested Oscar had suffered a chemical reaction to the lotion

Doctors warn Oscar could be scarred for life on his back due to his treatment being delayed


A chemical burn is the irritation and destruction of human tissue caused by exposure to a chemical.

Many cases occur due to accidental misuse of hair, skin and nail care products.

Most chemical burns are caused by strong acids that kill cells, which can lead to scarring and disabilities. 

The extent of tissue damage depends on the strength of the chemical, the site of contact, whether it was swallowed, whether skin was intact and how long it was left on for.

Symptoms include:

  • Redness, irritation or burning at the affected skin site
  • Pain or numbness
  • Vision changes if the eye is affected
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

In severe cases people may suffer a cardiac arrest, seizures or low blood pressure. 

Minor chemical burns that affect a small area of skin can often be treated by thoroughly washing the affected area with water. 

Major burns require hospital treatment.

Source: eMedicine Health 

‘He could be scarred for life. I’m so angry’ 

Thinking his son was just sunburnt, Mr Martin smothered Oscar’s back with aloe vera to help ease his pain.

Mr Martin then booked an emergency GP appointment later that day where Oscar was diagnosed with sunburn and prescribed flamazine cream to prevent the affected skin becoming infected. 

Oscar spent that night screaming ‘help me, I’m burning’, which prompted Mr Martin to book a second GP appointment, where he claims nurses advised moisturisers and cold showers.

When Oscar’s blisters burst, Mr Martin took him to Wythybush Hospital A&E where doctors treated the youngster for first degree burns brought on by a chemical reaction.

Medics warned the schoolboy may be scarred for life due to the long period of time Oscar went untreated.

Mr Martin said: ‘They were shocked none of the GPs bothered to do a skin test.

‘And because Oscar’s burns were treated as sunburn rather than a chemical reaction he could be left scarred for life across his shoulders and lower back. I’m so angry.’

‘He’s scared to go out’ 

Speaking of how the ordeal has affected Oscar, Mr Martin said: ‘He spent the rest of his half term indoors. He’s scared to go out in the garden now as he fears it will happen again. 

‘Oscar has to have a T-shirt on at all times. He still can’t have a proper bath as he has to have lukewarm water and sensitive skin products.

‘He went back to school this week and he’s had to spend his lunchtime inside while his friends go out and play. 

‘I urge parents not to buy this product. I would just hate to see another kid go through what Oscar has been through.’

Last year mother Claire Tymon, from Hull, claimed Banana Boat left her children’s skin resembling ‘burnt bacon’ while holidaying in Spain.

Despite applying SPF factor 50 Banana Boat UltraMist sun screen several times as instructed, Ms Tymon claims her children Louie, nine, and daughter Millie, 13, were left with horrific burns and also face being scarred for life.

A spokesman for Banana Boat said: ‘We are sorry to hear of this case. We take each customer’s concerns seriously and investigate all cases when we are contacted.

‘We work diligently to provide high-quality, cost-effective sun protection products, and we are greatly concerned when any person is burned by the sun or encounters a reaction when using our products.

‘Our products are tested by qualified independent laboratories using the mandatory European Union and other government agencies test methods and formal quality reviews of the results.’

Oscar (believed to be pictured before the incident) is now afraid of going outside

Oscar (believed to be before) cannot have warm baths and requires specialist skin products

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