Man catches on fire after applying sunscreen

Published On: Thursday, December 13, 2012 7:00 AM
By: Moses Gold
Brett Sigworth
A Massachusetts man said he suffered second degree burns from a grill after applying spray sunscreen on parts of his body.

Brett Sigworth said he used Banana Boat sunscreen on his body before he walk to his grill, without knowing that it was flammable after it was already applied to the skin.

"I went into total panic and shouted," Sigworth said. "I have never experienced such pain in my life."

The result was second degree burns on his chest, ears and back, the only areas where applied the sunscreen. Ten days after the incident, Sigworth still shows the effects of the incident.

The warnings on the bottle of Banana Boat sunscreen read, "Flammable, do not use near heat, flame or burning." But none of that applies once it is already applied to the body.

Banana Boat officials said in a statement they were sorry to hear about the experience of Sigworth and began an immediate investigation. "We are not aware of any previous incident similar to what Brett has described, but because there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our consumers, we are taking this matter very seriously," the statement said.

Dan Dillard, executive director of the Burn Prevention Network, believes that sunscreen cannot be fully absorbed into the skin and spray droplets could have been even in the air before catching on fire.

"As he approached the flame, or charcoal, the fire simply caught the vapor trail and followed the vapor trail where most of the substance was on his body," said Dillard.

"I think if people said that this is flammable for two minutes after it is applied on the skin, people would not use it," said Sigworth.

He has no plans to sue, but sharing his story and photos with others to make sure no one goes to the hospital after the application of sunscreen.
"It was very frightening," he said, "and I would not want to see that happen to anyone else."