Gisele Bundchen was recently misquoted after making controversial comments about sunscreen, her spokesperson says, days after a UK newspaper reported said the 30-year-old Brazilian supermodel called such products "poison."
Most sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb ultraviolet light, which helps prevent sunburns and skin cancer. Those containing a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 70 have been found to be particularly effective, according to a 2010 New York University study.
The UK newspaper The Daily Mail had reported that Bundchen, wife of NFL star Tom Brady, recently said "I cannot put this poison on my skin. I do not use anything synthetic," while referring to subscreen, adding that she opts for natural products to protect her skin from the sun's harmful rays.
"They misquoted her due to a language barrier," People magazine on Monday quoted a spokesperson for Bundchen as saying. "Gisele would never say not to use sunscreen because she has family members who have had skin cancer. She simply stated that her all natural skincare line does not include an SPF product. She followed that line of questions saying she tried to stay out of the sun when it is the strongest between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m."
"When using sunscreens, she selects ones that are free of parabens, oxybenzone, PABA, and retinyl palmitate, the spokesperson added. "She buys her sunscreen at Whole Foods, so she can find ones that are free of harsh chemicals."
Bundchen, said to be the highest-paid model in the world with estimated annual earnings of some $35 million, has appeared in advertisements for Nivea Sun products in the past. After the Daily Mail article was published, she had echoed similar comments on her blog.
"I do use sunblock but also I try my best not to be exposed to the sun when it is too strong," Bundchen said. "My line of skincare products are all natural and do not contain SPF. I feel we all need to pay more attention to what we are putting on our skin. I definitely know the importance of using sunscreen and I try to look for more natural options."
Bundchen raised eyebrows last year when she told the UK edition of Harper's Bazaar magazine that mothers should be required by law to breastfeed their babies rather than use formula. She and Brady welcomed a son, Benjamin, in December 2009.
"Some people here think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think, 'Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?'" she said. "I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."
She also clarified her comments on her blog then, saying: "My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law. I am not here to judge I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best."