“In light of reports that our Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Mask has resulted in skin irritation for some consumers, Yes To has decided to remove this particular product from store shelves while we investigate,” read a Jan. 3 Facebook post from the brand. “At Yes To, the safety and satisfaction of our customers are our main concerns. We value you and apologize to anyone who was affected in this way, especially over the holiday season.” The brand advised customers to reach out with complaints.
The unicorn-branded package instructs people to place the paper mask around the eyes, nose and mouth and leave it in place for 10 minutes. “Tingling? Yes, it’s working!” it reads. But parents of children who used it told BuzzFeed it was painful and burning.
And that mask wasn’t the only problem product, noted BuzzFeed, pointing out that among the happy reviews on retailer Ulta’s website, Yes To’s Cucumbers 2-Step Eye Kit Buh-Bye Bags & Dark Circles! and Coconut Hydrate & Restore Ultra Hydrating Sheet Mask received comments like, “They gave me a large rash under my eyes and into my cheeks. Took all day to go away so at least 12 hours,” and “Prepare to have your face BURNED TO A CRISP.”
A spokesperson from Yes To sent Yahoo Lifestyle a statement, which reads, in part, “We have recently seen reports on social media that children have used the Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Mask, unfortunately resulting in skin irritation. We have also received some similar reports from adults who have used the product. We apologize to anyone who was affected in this way, especially over the holiday season. While our products are all independently tested for safety, irritation, and allergy — and while we provide both warnings and instructions on our products about the potential for skin irritation — the safety and satisfaction of our customers are our main concerns. As such, we have decided to pull this particular product off of the shelves while we investigate the complaints that we have received and seen online.”
According to the statement, Yes To reached out to participating retailers about the voluntary and immediate recall of Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Masks. “However, each store has a different procedure and process when removing products. We hope to have all products completely removed by Friday and will continue to follow-up with each store to make sure that the product is pulled from shelves as quickly as possible.”
The brand directed retailers to refund customers who return an unused mask and for those who have already used the mask, to contact Yes To directly for refunds.
When asked by Yahoo Lifestyle about the other masks produced by Yes To mentioned in the BuzzFeed article, a company representative said, “The Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Mask is the only product that we have voluntarily asked to have removed from the market. Importantly, it’s the only product we’ve removed since our founding in 2006. While our products are all independently tested for safety, irritation, and allergy, all of our customers have different skin and sensitivities, and therefore, adverse reactions can occur. We do everything possible to avoid this from happening, and take all complaints and reactions very seriously.”
A few weeks ago, Alexandra Jo of Bismarck, North Dakota, shared selfies to Facebook after using the unicorn mask. “Enjoy these super flattering photos of my face with chemical burns/allergic reaction to one of the most commonly used face mask company,” she wrote. “I’ve used tons of their face masks and never had a problem until today....I didn’t last 3/4 minutes before my face felt like it was on fire.”
The 24-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle that, having enjoying Yes To’s charcoal mask, she was curious about the unicorn product’s Vitamin C claims. She applied it one morning before work. “After three minutes, I thought, my face isn’t ‘tingling,’ it’s burning,” she says. Jo dunked her face in cold water, then called her mom, who is a nurse, and recalls, “I felt scared and embarrassed.”
Jo took an antihistamine, then left for work with a red face, also buying a $40 cream to soothe the redness, which dissipated after a few hours. “But now I’m breaking out,” she says. Jo says she emailed Yes To, then left a critical review on the website, which was removed for containing “legally sensitive content.” When she emailed the brand again, she received an apology and an offer for a $10 gift card to the retailer from which she purchased the mask.
Meanwhile, Tiana Roth, of Kansas, says her daughter Tailynn, 7, only wanted to wear the mask for five minutes, but when she removed it, “Holy cow, her face is red,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle, adding that the girl wasn’t in pain, but uncomfortable, “like a sunburn feeling.”
The mask left an imprint on her daughter, she says, but after taking Benadryl, it disappeared. She adds, “I will never buy from Yes To again.”
Stacy Slater of Tampa, Fla., bought the unicorn mask for her 11-year-old daughter Addison, who wore it this week. “She set her phone timer for 10 minutes, but two minutes in, she said it stung,” Slater tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “On the package, it mentioned tingling was normal.”
But the girl “freaked out” and pulled off the mask, and her face was bright red. “It looked like a chemical burn,” she says. Slater gave her Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream and the effects subsided after 24 hours.
“I saw the product was being discontinued, but only afterward since I don’t follow Yes To’s Facebook page,” says Slater. “My daughter is now afraid to try any other skincare product.”
Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the word “natural,” which is commonly used while marketing products, isn’t well-defined.
After reading the listed ingredients in the Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Mask packaging, Greenfield notes, “There are a few acids in the product (lactic acid and grapefruit) which exfoliates the skin, but could irritate if left on for too long.”
However, she says, skin sensitivity, skin type and how one treats their skin overall should also be taken into account. “For example, if one used retinol the night before, that could contribute to a bad reaction,” she says, adding that consulting a professional before using new products is best.
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