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Spray Sunscreen Can Set You on Fire If You’re Near an Open Flame

The Falls Festival sunscreen
Kristian Dowling, Getty Images

Sunscreen might be able to protect your skin from burning under the unforgiving harshness of the sun, but fire may be another matter. One Massachusetts man learned that lesson the hard way.

CBS News in Boston reported that Brett Sigworth of Stow, MA, allegedly caught on fire after spraying himself with sunscreen during an outdoor barbecue.

He applied some of the sunscreen on his arm from a spray bottle. Then after rubbing it all over himself, he walked over to grill some burgers on his barbecue. As he started to move the hot charcoal briquettes around the grill, the heat reacted to the sunscreen and flames rocketed up his arms and towards his body. He told a local reporter, “I’ve never experienced pain like that in my life.”

Luckily, his friends reacted quickly and were able to extinguish the flames that spread to the rest of his body. He was taken to a local burn unit with second degree burns on his chest, neck, ear and back, the same places where he applied the sunscreen causing second degree burns. Doctors told him that if he had been on fire for a few seconds more, the burns could have been much more severe.

Fire experts say that despite the instructions on the bottle, spray sunscreen should be considered a flammable material whether someone is using it or just wearing some near an open flame.

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