Old Spice Facing $5 Million Dollar Lawsuit After Deodorants Cause Extreme Burns

After suffering severe chemical burns and painful rashes from using Old Spice deodorant, Plaintiffs last week filed a class-action lawsuit seeking over $5 million in damages from Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Old Spice products.

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on April 11, 2022

Old Spice Facing $5 Million Dollar Lawsuit After Deodorants Cause Extreme Burns

The suit was filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. It alleges that 13 Old Spice products are defective. Furthermore, they caused severe and painful chemical burns and rashes in “hundreds, if not thousands of men” after using products like the popular Old Spice Swagger, Lionpride, and Arctic Force High Endurance deodorants. These are also included in the complaint.

The Case

Rodney Colley a man from Alexandria, Va., is the lead plaintiff in the suit. He complained individually and on behalf of others similarly situated; meaning those who have also suffered burns and rashes from the named Old Spice products. Colley alleges that he suffered intense “oozing” sores and chemical burns only after a few short uses. The complaint also included photos of his injuries.

The lawsuit, seeking up to $25,000 for plaintiffs suffering injuries since 2012. Including allegations of defective product design, false advertising, improper labeling, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and unjust enrichment. It further alleges that Proctor & Gamble falsely reported the products in the complaint have “no known effect with regard to skin irritation”. It cites a few of the hundreds of online complaints posted about the products, dating as far back as 2009. One woman from North Carolina writes “[m]y son has been using Old Spice Swagger Deodorant and has a rash in his armpit that is red and burning.”. Online complaints from consumers even included YouTube videos displaying the injuries on the media site.

Other reviews cited in the complaint describe extreme pain for several days. This has included difficulty moving arms up and down, itching, chafing, and even oozing sores. Plaintiffs further contend that the defendant company, Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble has continued to ignore repeated complaints and negative reviews from customers. This has been despite the evidence of the harm it causes. The complaint also notes that Proctor & Gamble is a Fortune-500 company and had revenues of $70.7 billion in 2015.

Company’s Response

Representatives of Procter & Gamble have commented that consumer safety is the bedrock of their business. They have also argued that thousands of men have used their products for “years without incident”. A few men may experience discomfort or higher sensitivity to alcohol-a major ingredient in the products. This is attributable to a range of factors.

“The safety of the men who use Old Spice is the foundation of everything we do. We go to great lengths to ensure our products are safe to use, and tens of millions of men use this product with confidence and without incident every year. A small number of men may experience irritation due to alcohol sensitivity, a common ingredient used across virtually all deodorant products.”

Insisting Old Spice products are safe to use, spokesperson Damon James argued the online complaints weren’t exclusive to Old Spice. He suggested that men who experience adverse reactions from using deodorants should try using antiperspirants. This is because of their different chemical formulation.

What’s Happening Next?

After the complaint was filed March 11, presiding Judge Michael H. Watson referred the case to Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Jolson. The current suit against P&G for Old Spice products is yet another mass-tort action this year against cosmetic products for having harmful side effects to potentially thousands of unsuspecting customers after use. Earlier this year, makers of the popular hair product Wen faced a class-action suit. It alleged many of the same counts after consumers experienced painful burning of the scalp and extreme hair loss from using the product. As for the Old Spice suit, the complaint notes that “[t]he Class is so numerous that individual joinder of class members is impractical.”. Defendant company Proctor & Gamble was served on March 18. An answer to the summons is due from Proctor and Gamble by April 8.

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