Certain sunscreen sprays can catch fire when close to an open fire source, even after sufficient time given is given for it to dry up on the skin, warns U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Sunscreens have several benefits including protection from skin cancer and slowing the aging process by up to 24 percent with regular use. But certain sunscreen sprays with flammable ingredients can also be hazardous if worn near an open flame.
A latest warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that certain sunscreen sprays are inflammable and can catch fire when close to an open fire source causing serious skin burns.
The warning comes after five such incidents were reported. Explaining the distance from which a sunscreen spray user can potentially catch fire, the FDA warns the distance could be as close as lighting a cigarette with a lighter, or standing near a citronella candle. These are not just examples to emphasize the warning issued by FDA but also occurrence of incidents in real life.
A Massachusetts man's arm and chest caught fire after he applied sunscreen and worked on his backyard grill, according to a University of New Orleans report. He was treated for second degree burns. Similarly, a woman from Norfolk, Virginia, turned on a welding torch, even after she thought the sunscreen on her skin was completely dried, and her arm caught fire.
"Based on this information, we recommend that after you have applied a sunscreen spray labeled as flammable, you consider avoiding being near an open flame, sparks or an ignition source," Narayan Nair, M.D., a lead medical officer at FDA, said in a statement.
Earlier in May, FDA issued new sunscreen labeling guidelines to all manufacturers making it mandatory to mention if their product protects skin from both skin cancer and sun burns.
FDA also pointed out that people should not stop practicing sun protection out of fear of catching fire. Making the right choices for the right places can be a smart move. When people use waterproof sunscreen lotions when going to water places, it is important to use non-flammable sunscreen lotions near open flames like a BBQ grill or candle.