Man Catches Fire After Applying Sunscreen

By Amir Khan on June 7, 2012 11:31 AM EDT

Banana Boat
A Massachusetts man suffered second-degree burns after the sunscreen he put on caught fire (Photo: Banana Boat)

Many people use sunscreen to prevent burns, but for one Massachusetts man, it did the exact opposite. Brett Sigworth said he suffered severe burns after applying an aerosol sunscreen to his body.

"I sprayed on the spray-on sunscreen, and then rubbed it on for a few seconds," Sigworth told CBS News. "I walked over to my grill, took one of the holders to move some of the charcoal briquettes around and all of a sudden it just went up my arm."

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Sigworth said he applied Banana Boat sunscreen to his body and went over to the grill, not knowing it would still be flammable. While the bottle warns to not to use the product near an open flame, it does not say anything about it being flammable once it's applied.

Sigworth suffered second-degree burns to his chest, ears and back -- the only areas where he applied the sunscreen.

"I went into complete panic mode and screamed," Sigworth told Good Morning America. "I've never experienced pain like that in my life."

Dan Dillard, CEO of the Burn Prevention Network, told Good Morning America that the sunscreen most likely did not absorb into his skin and that drops of it may still have been in the air.

"As he approached the flame, the charcoal simply caught the vapor trail and it follows the vapor trail to where the bulk of the substance is, which is on his body," he said.

Sigworth said more people need to be aware that the product stays flammable for a little bit after you use it.

"There is no warning that says this product is flammable when applied to your skin or for a period of time when applied to skin," he told CBS News. "I think if people were told this is flammable for two minutes on your skin afterward, people wouldn't use it."

Banana Boat officials apologized for the incident and said they would investigate thoroughly.

"We are unaware of any prior incidents similar to what Brett has described, but because nothing is more important to us than the safety of our consumers, we are taking this matter very seriously," the company said in a statement.

Sigworth does not plan to sue, but said he wants people to be aware of what happened.

"It was so scary," he said, "and I just wouldn't want to see it happen to anybody else. 

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