NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Massachusetts man who was applying sunscreen to protect himself from a nasty burn got anything but the intended result.
Brett Sigworth told CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois that just seconds after putting on a coat of sunblock, his body was engulfed in flames.
“I was sliding it down like this and all of a sudden, just lit up on fire everywhere,” he said.
Sigworth said shortly after he applied the sunscreen he went to work on the grill, and that’s when disaster struck.
“I walked over to my grill, took the holder to move bricks around, and all of a sudden it went up my arm,” he said.
Dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman explained that some sunscreens can contain flammable substances.
“In these spray sunscreens there is often a very high alcohol content, so that alcohol can be very flammable. What happens is when somebody sprays their sunscreen a lot of times they don’t wait for the sunscreen to absorb into the skin,” she said.
Sigworth said he did not know how to react.
“I went into complete panic mode and screamed. I’ve never experienced pain like that in my life,” he said.
The second degree burns on Sigworth’s chest, ear, and back mark the area where he sprayed himself with Banana Boat Sport from an aerosol can.
“I didn’t think the product itself on your skin is flammable, and no warning that says flammable when applied to skin, or for a period of time when applied to skin,” he said.
The label on the can in question reads, “Flammable, do not use near heat, flame, or while burning.”
It makes no mention of being flammable once it has been applied to the body.
Banana Boat told CBS 2 that it is taking this matter very seriously, adding that aerosol products should only be used as directed on the product label, which cautions against using in the presence of flames, heat or while smoking.
Jaliman recommended rubbing the product in and then waiting, before going near any kind of flame.
“So if you were to use it, you have to wait, rub it in, and wait before you go anywhere near a fire. That includes cooking with a barbecue, or making your eggs, even on a stove top,” she said.
Sigworth said that he went public to prevent this from ever happening again. The FDA advises consumers to always report problems like this to prevent them from happening in the future.
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