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October 28, 1992

Potential Dangers of Alcohol-Based Sunscreens

JAMA. 1992;268(16):2169. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490160039020

To the Editor.  —It has been reported that certain topical medications, including Retin-A gel (Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp, Raritan, NJ), Erygel (Herbert Laboratories, Irvine, Calif), Cleocin-T topical solution (The Upjohn Co), and Solbar PF 15 liquid (Person and Covey, Inc, Glendale, Calif) are highly flammable because of their alcohol content.1,2 I have confirmed these observations and determined that the new Solbar PF 30 liquid sunscreen (70% SD alcohol; Person and Cobey, Inc), Pre-Sun Active 30 Clear Gel sunscreen (69% SD alcohol; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Princeton, NJ), and Clinique oil-free sunblock (15 SPF [sun protection factor], 36% alcohol; Estee Lauder Clinique, Melville, NY) are also highly flammable.The Solbar PF 30 liquid sunscreen recommends "keep away from open flames." The Clinique product does include the following statement: "Common sense caution; flammable. Do not use near flames or while smoking." It may not be "common sense" to assume that a sunblock is