Unicorn face mask pulled from shelves after reports of chemical burns

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, January 9, 2020
Unicorn face mask blamed for burning girls' skin
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Unicorn face mask blamed for burning girls' skin

APEX, N.C. -- It's a beauty product that is supposed to brighten and give your face a glow, instead this face mask is now being pulled off store shelves after moms say their daughters had a bad reaction to it.

Teens, young girls and women have all reported the face mask burning their skin.

The product in question is the Yes To Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Mask. It's sold in retailers like Target, Walmart, Ulta, just to name a few.

Apex mom Alicia said her 5-year-old daughter loves to have spa days with her.

"She's very girly. She loves bath time, spa time, getting her nails done, doing facials," Alecia said. While shopping together, her daughter picked out the Yes To face mask which Alicia says was in the kid's section mixed with the bath bombs, soaps, and glitter.

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"She saw the unicorn and thought that was cute and also the shiny packaging that is super pink."

Alicia said her daughter had the mask on for just five minutes when it was obvious something was wrong.

"Once I took it off of her face, she said it started burning it was hurting, she was crying, it was itchy and she immediately started getting puffy and red all over," Alicia said.

Alicia's 5-year-old daughter after using the Yes To face mask.

Alicia's daughter's face was warm to the touch, very itchy, and in pain.

"Luckily, I knew what to do, so I put Aquaphor on her face, so aloe on her face, I gave her Benadryl. I kept her upright to reduce the swelling and just to make her comfortable, even though she felt miserable."

Alicia looked at the packaging on the mask, but didn't see any red flags.

"It didn't say anything about it not being for kids and it was boasting about how it had natural ingredients," Alicia said.

Sarah Moore said she and her 13-year-old daughter had a similar experience. Moore says her teen, Lauren, had the Yes To mask on for three minutes when it began to burn, when she couldn't stand it, she took it off, and her face looked bright red, swollen, and hot to the touch.

Moore believes the mask caused a chemical burn.

13-year-old Lauren wore the Yes To mask for just a few minutes, but it still burned her skin.

After about six hours of burning, Moore said Lauren's face started itching. They applied a little hydrocortisone cream to stop the itch. By the next day, the redness and swelling was much improved, but Lauren's jawline still had mild redness and itching.

Same story for 17-year-old Izzy. She shared with us a video of what she says her face looked like after the mask was only on for two minutes and her face began to sting and burn.

It's not just young ladies having trouble. Kayla Pegues said the same mask made her face feel really hot. She decided take it off to be safe, and realized her face was extremely red where the mask had been.

She said she felt and looked like she had a severe sunburn. Her first thought was that she had an allergic reaction to something in it, which she said was strange because she never had a reaction like that before.

"I was in so much pain that I took a Benadryl to be safe, covered my face in aloe vera, and applied ice packs. My face stayed red and burning for several hours. It remained sensitive for a couple of days," Pegues said.

She believes speaking out is important to help others become aware of the possible adverse effects, especially because of how the product is marketed.

"It is designed in a way to attract young girls. You can see on the label there was no warning about it being only for adults and no instruction to do a test patch before use," Pegues said.

Kayla Pegues warns that the mask is not only dangerous for children.

On Yes To's website under the face mask in question there were a total of 31 reviews, all 31 gave the product a one out of five star review and complained about adverse reactions. The first review posted was in July, and the complaints continued through the New Year.

One review stated, "it gave me chemical burns;" another wrote "burned my face;" one review said, "I reported this product to the FDA due to chemical burn." All of those reviews were removed by Monday, January 6.

ABC11 reached out to Yes To, they provided this statement:

"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. Our products are all also only intended for adult use. 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.

We have reached out to all our retailers and informed them that we are voluntarily pulling the product off the market and to please remove all Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Unicorn Paper Masks off their shelves immediately. 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.

We have directed the stores to refund anyone who returns a not used purchased mask to the store and have advised them to let the customers who have already used the product to contact us for a refund. To notify consumers we have posted on social media about the product being pulled and have updated our website with the appropriate information."

Dr. Sue Ellen Cox a dermatologist at Aesthetic Solutions in Chapel Hill looked at the ingredients on the Yes To face mask. She said when it comes to products you put on your face, you need to look closely at the labels. She said some products might be too harsh, especially for young skin.

"Just because something is organic or natural doesn't mean that it is not going to be irritating or doesn't mean it's not going to produce a reaction of some sort," Cox said. "So you have to be very careful about ingredient lists.

It's good advice as the use of beauty products is becoming increasingly popular among children and teens.

"Kids are experimenting and they don't know yet their face," Cox said. "They look at their mother and emulate what their mother is using, they will try makeup, they will try masks, they will try all sorts of things and I don't think it's a good thing."

When asked about the adverse reaction adults can have to face masks, she said, "It's all about ingredients. You can become allergic to anything at any time in your life so something that I can use, you might not be able to use. Anything can cause dermatitis, it just takes the right combination of the person's susceptibility of their skin and the right concentration of the product that is being used."

Cox doesn't recommend that children or teens use face masks.

"I think as consumers it's hard to vet each ingredient," Cox said. "I would say for kids, there is really no reason why they should be doing this. They have beautiful skin, they should not be putting masks on their faces."