A TEENAGER suffered horrific burns when he accidentally set fire to his hair after using a new head lice lotion.

Fifteen-year-old Matthew Moore's mother Lesley applied the lotion at their home in Purbeck.

Matthew then went to his room and played with a cigarette lighter, which ignited his hair and resulted in severe burns to his face, ears, neck and arms.

Mrs Moore said: "He was holding the lighter at arm's length and it must have caught his fringe. The instructions on the packaging for the lotion said nothing about it being flammable."

Fire services and paramedics were quickly on the scene.

Matthew was transferred to the burns unit of Salisbury Hospital.

Doctors are still waiting for the swelling to subside but fear he will have to undergo multiple skin grafts.

"The fire brigade said he was lucky he was wearing his glasses," said Mrs Moore.

"If he hadn't been, he could have lost his sight."

The fire service took away the lotion following the incident on April 10 and ran tests on it.

Poole fire station manager Keith Barnes said: "The lotion contains an agent that could be combustible.

"We have contacted the manufacturers and asked them to think about altering their labelling to make this known."

The agent is silicon-based and can also be found in cosmetics products.

Mr Barnes said: "The general public should be aware that cosmetics and hair care products can contain this type of chemical, and that after applying them they should stay away from any kind of naked flame."

Hedrin is a new lotion that can be bought over the counter and has been touted as an advanced alternative to traditional lotions.

It is virtually odourless and is said to suffocate lice rather than kill them with pesticide.

The lotion's manufacturer, Huddersfield-based Thornton and Ross Ltd, released a statement saying that Hedrin would not be classified as hazardous on any regulatory scale, as it has a flash point of 77C.

Chemical materials are only considered flammable if they have a flash point under 55C, and as a licensed medicine Hedrin is exempt from these regulations in any case.

The statement also said: "All the company's products are labelled in accordance with all appropriate legal requirements, and we do not believe there is any issue with the labelling of Hedrin.

"As a licensed medicine the labelling is also assessed by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.

"We are concerned about the incident and would invite the customer to contact us directly so we can carry out a full investigation."