Sunscreens may be flammable, warns the FDA

Sunscreens may be flammable, warns the FDA

Options for sunscreen seem endless these days: creams, gels, sticks, sprays, waterproof, etc.  Many people opt to use a sunscreen spray because it’s convenient to apply.  But experts say, these sprays can be very dangerous when worn near an open flame.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported five separate incidents of people who were who suffered serious burns when the sunscreen they were wearing caught fire.  In all these cases, the burns occurred after the sunscreen was applied.  This is evidence that sunblock sprays can be flammable even after it has appeared to dry on the skin and the skin feels dry.  The products involved in the five situations were voluntarily pulled off the market, the FDA said.

There are still a lot of sun block products on the market, spray and non-spray that have flammable ingredients such as alcohol, the FDA says.  Insect repellent and hair spray have similar ingredients that also make them flammable. Thankfully, many of these products have warning labels.  If using one of these products, the FDA urges people to take caution by avoiding open flames, sparks or an ignition source.  Common sources of open flames include candles, grills, fire pits, and lit cigarettes.

Dr. Rishi Sikka, emergency medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group, says the warnings are a good thing.

“Though it may seem unlikely that you might be injured by flammable sunscreen, the danger is real,” he says. “The report is a good reminder to be extremely careful when you’re close to open flames under any circumstance.”

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One Comment

  1. How ironic that sunscreen could be flammable! Good to know!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.