Care should be taken to keep clothing and bedding that may contain paraffin residue from skin creams away from naked flames.
As you may have seen reported in the news over the weekend,
a BBC investigation has raised concerns that paraffin-residue from skin creams can soak into
fabrics, including clothing and bedding, and easily ignite if these materials
should come into contact with a lit cigarette or naked flame. The BBC also
reported that most paraffin-based skin creams that are licensed in the UK do
not carry warnings despite being highly flammable. This comes after a similar
investigation last year found several deaths in England were linked to skin
creams containing paraffin.
Following last year’s investigation, the Medicines and
Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates medicines and
medical devices in the UK, asked all manufacturers of skin creams that contain
paraffin to carry a fire risk warning. However, almost a year later, only 7 of
38 products containing paraffin that are licensed in the UK have put warnings
on their packaging.
The MHRA says it is conducting a review around safety
information concerning paraffin-based skin creams and is continuing to “collaborate closely with partner
organisations including both manufacturers and the fire service to further
reduce the risks associated with paraffin-containing topical products.”
In the meantime, it
is important to clarify that paraffin-based skin creams are not, in themselves,
dangerous. The creams will not spontaneously combust and are perfectly safe
to use as long as they are kept away from naked flames and lit cigarettes. If you are unsure whether or not your cream or emollient contains paraffin, please check the ingredients listed on the packaging. The
Psoriasis Association strongly recommends that anybody using paraffin-based
skin creams follows the MHRA’s safety
If you would like more information on different
moisturisers, creams or emollients, please click
If you have further concerns about paraffin-based creams
which are not addressed in this article, please do get in touch.