Creams containing paraffin, used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, have been linked to 37 deaths in the UK since 2010, an investigation has found.
Residue from liquid paraffin can become flammable when it soaks into fabric, and could become a fire hazard for regular users of such creams who do not frequently change clothing or bedding.
The warning came from a BBC Radio 5 Live investigation that aired in March and looked into three separate cases where people died by accidentally setting themselves on fire when lighting a cigarette or pipe near fabric soaked in paraffin residue.
Liquid paraffin is used in creams to help treat dry skin conditions because it is believed to create a protective layer over the skin that helps retain hydration. The findings could also have an impact for salons that offer paraffin wax skin-softening treatments with manicures or pedicures.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said manufacturers should print a flammability warning on the packaging of creams containing any paraffin at all. Previously it only asked for a warning on products containing more than 50%.
Following a request from the coroner involved in the case, the manufacturer of E45, a popular cream that was involved in one of the 2015 deaths, agreed to include a warning on some of its products from April, said the BBC report.
PB reader Karen Salandy, a make-up artist based in London, commented: “This is something we have been talking about for years. Paraffin should carry a warning sign. I welcome this change.”