Consumer Reports has issued a safety warning in a category that not many people probably consider: burns sustained by using sunscreens.
Specifically, sunscreens that are applied by way of an aerosol canister are those whose safety has been called into question. A new report has been making the rounds of news outlets detailing how a man in Massachusetts sprayed his back with sunscreen, but then suffered second degree burns after coming near a grill.
So how dangerous is this issue, and is it really possible for an open flame to latch onto sunscreen as it would any other flammable substance? Although Consumer Reports doesn’t test for flammability, they recommend applying sunscreen indoors and then waiting 20 minutes before going out into the sunlight. This would apparently allow the sunscreen to soak into the skin and mitigate potential danger.
They also recommend never using spray sunscreens on children. If it’s the only sunscreen available at the time, then it should be sprayed on an adult’s hands first and then rubbed on the child. Otherwise, it should be avoided entirely. Even though there hasn’t been a proven danger to children from such sprays, the Food and Drug Administration is in the process of looking into this very danger.
As for the incident mentioned above, an individual with the Burn Prevention Network surmised that an open flame caught the vapor trail remaining from the sprayed sunscreen and followed it to the man’s back.