Of course Summer is just about over but we still encounter the sun on a daily basis. Folks who work outside for a living and kids who play outdoor sports well into the Fall are at risk for sun damage. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about sunscreen spray. The FDA recently became aware of five separate incidents in which people wearing sunscreen spray near open flame suffered burns that required medical treatment. The sunscreen spray contains flammable ingredients, most common of which is alcohol. There are many products on the market that contain alcohol such as hairspray, insect repellents and even non-spray sunscreens. These products do contain warnings use near open flame but the sunscreen spray ignited after application. The source of the ignition varied from lighting a cigarette, standing too close to a lit citronella candle, approaching an open grill, and in one case someone welding. These incidents suggest that catching fire is possible even if sufficient time has passed after application and the skin feels dry.
Sunscreen Is Necessary
Spending time in the sun increases our risk of skin cancer and rapid aging. Skin cancer affects more than 3.5 million people annually. Regular use of sunscreen is a must especially between 10a.m. and 2 p.m. the hottest part of the day. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a value of at least 15 or higher combined with other sun protection such as sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts, and hats, decreases the risk.
To stay safe when using sunscreen spray, do the following:
- Read the label to see if there is a flammable warning. If there is, choose another type or brand. Although no children were harmed in these incidents, it is especially important to check the label because children may get near an open flame source.
- Think about the outdoor area where you will be applying and wearing the sunscreen spray. Avoid grills, candles, cigarettes, or other sparking materials such as sparklers on the 4th of July.
- Do not apply the sunscreen spray or any other flammable substance near an open flame.
Alcohol Free Sunscreen
I didn’t find any alcohol-free sunscreens listed on the FDA website. So, I did my own research. There are very few alcohol-free products out there. Sunscreen is no exception. However, I discovered a brand made in Canada called Kinesys. Kinesys touts itself as a SPF 30 oil-free and alcohol-free sunscreen spray with Avobenzone manufactured as Parsol 1789. Parsol 1789 is an ingredient that is supposed to absorb all UVA rays. All the reviews seem to be positive and I didn’t find any complaints. The other product I found is called Deter Insect Repellant with SPF 20. I didn’t see alcohol on the ingredient list for this product, however they do have some on their product page.
So, enjoy your time in the sun but remember sun safety and protection now needs extra precaution!