It's been three years since customers pointed out the questionable bag text—but the Internet is still pissed.
Between doctors, magazines, news reports, and the guy at the gym who won't stop talking, there is no shortage of places to get advice about your health these days. But one place we didn't expect was on our shopping bags! Yet, in July 2014, customers at Lululemon were surprised to note that among the inspirational phrases on the store's trademark red and white tote was some advice about sunscreen.
"Sunscreen absorbed into the skin might be worse for you than sunshine," advised the (ironically) recyclable tote.
Two years later, and a new Reddit post about the tote has people are freaking out all over again, garnering headlines across media outlets that call out Lululemon's "shady" or "questionable" sun safety advice. (FYI, Lululemon was also under fire recently for a body-shaming incident.)
Business Insider reached out to Lululemon in 2014, and the brand said that "The manifesto design that goes on our bags is a collection of statements that are ever-evolving and intended to spark conversation that is relevant at the time. To clarify, the manifesto design on our webpage is the most up-to-date and has been used on our most recent release of manifesto print bags." Meaning, though the Reddit post is from early August 2016, the bag featured in the picture is likely an old model.
The current manifesto design on their website exists sans sunscreen mention, and instead suggests, "Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen surfaces. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter." (That's a whole other topic.)
Regardless of what the current Lululemon bags say, and even though the famous athletic apparel company is known for promoting a healthy lifestyle, they aren't necessarily seen as a place you'd go for medical advice. This piece of sun safety advice, in particular, still has shoppers and health professionals alike raising their eyebrows.
While it's true that sunshine on your skin is the best source of vitamin D and that some sunscreens can contain harmful chemicals, that doesn't mean you should avoid sunscreen altogether. The American Cancer Society recommends that all people wear sunscreen, adding, "Because of its negative effects, intentional, unprotected sun exposure should not be used as a way to increase vitamin D level."
But while we may not want our shopping bags giving us medical advice, we love this mantra also printed on the bag: "A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins helps you make better decisions, feel at peace and reduce stress!" That's a message we can definitely get behind.