Woman injured when shaving foam erupts

She worries she has permanent eye damage

Published on July 27, 2012
Juanita Summerton holds the can of Balea shaving foam that exploded, sending the foam into her eyes and she says, according to her doctor, caused chemical burns. The inset at top left shows the part of the can that failed, causing the foam to shoot into her eyes. — Telegram photo

Juanita Somerton was babysitting her nieces when she decided to take a shower and try out the new brand of shaving cream she had bought.

But after popping the top of Balea shaving cream and pressing down on the tab, the entire contents of the can burst out.

Foam was everywhere: in her hair, in the tub, and worst of all, in her eyes.

“Everything got sucked right up the can, it blew right up through the hole and foamed right into my eyes,” Somerton said.

“I couldn’t see, everything was all burning and blurry.”

Her nieces helped her clean up, but were horrified by what they saw.

“My eyes were filled with blood,” Somerton said.

“It was horrifying. It was just the most horrible thing ever.”

Somerton called emergency services, and they told her to go to the hospital if her eyesight got worse.

That happened Thursday, July 19, but not wanting to leave her nieces, Somerton waited until Friday to see a doctor.

Her eyes were feeling painfully dry and she still had impaired vision.

The doctor told her she had chemical burns on her eyes and that she might have corneal damage.

Somerton said, a week later, her eyesight is not back to normal.

She had laser eye surgery in December, and she’s worried that the 20/20 vision that she spent so much money on is ruined for good.

When she went to Shoppers Drug Mart to complain about the product, she was offered a refund of $2.99 for the shaving cream — if she returned the can.


Afraid to return can

Somerton said she’s afraid if she returns the can, she’ll lose any evidence that the can was faulty.

“If they have the can, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

She eventually talked to Shoppers’ head office. “They asked me what I wanted out of this,” Somerton said.

“First of all, I want everyone to be aware of the product.”

Shoppers was unable to provide comment before deadline. Attempts to reach Balea were unsuccessful.

If her vision is permanently damaged, Somerton said she may seek legal counsel.