Is Sunscreen Flammable?

Did you ever think that some of the things you apply on your skin can cause you to burn? By burning we mean being engulfed in flames, and not just the usual sunburn. There are products that we use every day, which can implicitly hold these hazards.

As the summer season approaches, sunscreens are a must-have in every bag. But as pick up your trusted container, have you ever wondered if sunscreen is flammable? Will it toast you alive, or are the reported cases just isolated ones?

Is Sunscreen Flammable?

By itself, sunscreen is classified as a non-flammable product. However, it is subjective to the form it takes. It comes in many different forms like creams, gels, lotions, and sprays. Emollient form sunscreens are usually non-flammable, while on-screen sprays are products with a high fire risk.

The flammability of sunscreen is often displayed in its packaging. So, when it says flammable, one should exercise precaution in handling it. Avoid heat sources like the stove, grill, or candle among others. Smoking is also prohibited to avoid any untoward danger.

Why Is Sunscreen Flammable Like Aerosol?

Sunscreen sprays are convenient, easy-to-use, less messy, and easy on hard-to-reach areas. But most of the reported cases of people burning are linked to sunscreen spray usage. Because more than their container, sunscreen sprays are made from components slightly different from lotions.

Why Is Sunscreen Flammable Like Aerosol

Some of these chemicals are propane, dimethyl ether, volatile hydrocarbons, and alcohol. These substances are highly flammable, which makes the sunscreen vulnerable to open fire.

The flammable vapors from the spray are highly flammable while it is still wet. After it evaporates and dries out, its fire risk decreases. Still, the fire department advises that people using sunscreen should avoid the naked flame completely – dry or not.

What Happens If You Light Sunscreen On Fire?

Lighting sunscreen on fire may produce little to no reaction. Some products may burn for a while, and others will remain unchanged. Its reaction varies depending on its ingredients and components.

Is A Sunscreen Container Flammable?

Products in spray packaging are compressed and the container is pressurized. Some containers also have propellant products like butane, propane, or nitrogen. When exposed to extreme temperatures, the product may explode. When the heat source is a naked flame, a sunscreen may set ablaze.

Is A Sunscreen Container Flammable

Spray-on sunscreen containers may burn and explode when it is exposed to extreme heat. At temperatures higher than 120⁰F, the pressure on the container will begin to expand, causing it to blow up. The propellants used in the can is also often flammable which will fuel a bigger fire.

Will A Sunscreen Container Explode If Heated?

Spray cans do explode since the pressure could build up inside when heat is applied to them. Products in a plastic bottle do not have the same risk. However, the problem with heating a sunscreen is it decreases its action and effectiveness. Under heat such as sunlight and a hot car, the ingredients will disintegrate.

While it may not cause an eruption of fire, the chemical change will lessen its effect. It is either you are left with inadequate UV protection, or may even cause you skin cancer.

Is Burning Sunscreen Bad For The Environment?

Toxic fumes released into the atmosphere as sunscreen burns can cause air pollution and increase global warming. Carbon-based sunscreens are also environmental threats not only when it is burning, but are also hazardous when they leach substances into marine waters.

Is It Dangerous To Inhale Burning Sunscreen Smoke?

Any fumes released from a burning object are toxic and may cause irritations. The special hazard in its thermal decomposition is the release of hazardous substances and mixtures like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.

What Is The Best Way Of Putting Out A Burning Sunscreen?

In an accidental fire, remove the sunscreen spray can from the source and cool it with water jet spray. The suitable extinguishing media for sunscreen is extinguishing powder or foam, waterjet, or carbon dioxide.

Related Questions

What is the Best Way of Using Sunscreen When Fire Exposure is Unavoidable?

According to the FDA, you may only approach a flame once the product has dried out completely. But do not, by any means, apply sunscreen near a flame or ignition source because it only makes you a walking fire hazard. Stay out of the fire or heat for about two minutes after application or until the sunscreen dries out.

Is Sunscreen Explosive?

Sunscreens do not explode unless it is in aerosol form.

Is Sunscreen Mousse Flammable?

Sunscreen in mousse forms is flammable because of its pressurized container. It also has a different product composition compared to lotions. Most sunscreen mousse contains titanium, which is a flammable and combustible substance.

Final Thoughts

Sunscreen is one of the indispensable products that people use all year long and is particularly extensive in summer. These products contain different ingredients that give them varying flammability. Sunscreens are non-flammable in their emollient forms. Injury from sunscreen burning is rare, but it always pays to be cautious. Read the product label and avoid the fire source to avoid burning yourself from sunscreen ingredients.

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