Paraffin skin care products carry hidden dangers

With paraffin-containing skin creams hitting headlines for the wrong reasons, alternatives could be in demand

Earlier this month, BBC Radio 5 made a startling discovery: since 2010, 37 deaths in England have been linked to moisturisers containing paraffin.

The highly flammable ingredient is a key component in skin care creams, especially common in emollient products for people with skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis.

Brands with products containing paraffin include E45, Cetraben and Oilatum, which are all widely-stocked on the high street.

From case studies, it emerged that if users of such products do not change or wash their clothes and bedding often, then parraffin can soak into fabrics posing a fire risk.

Although the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency historically asked for on-pack flammability warnings on creams containing 50% paraffin, it is now urging manufacturers to add warnings to all paraffin-containing skus.

While the benefits of using paraffin formulas outweigh the risk for many, the findings also beg the question: what are the alternatives?

Risk-free formulas

More brands are pushing ahead with paraffin-free formulas specifically catering for eczema-prone skin, although the market is still . . .

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