Using botanical oils not paraffin for eczema

Safer alternatives to paraffin based skincare

You may have seen the alarming news article on the BBC website this week, that skin creams containing paraffin have been linked to fire deaths.

The BBC Radio 5 Live investigation reports: 

The products for conditions like eczema and psoriasis can leave people at risk of setting themselves ablaze.

If people use the creams regularly but do not often change clothes or bedding, paraffin residue can soak into the fabric, making it flammable.

The medicines regulator has updated its guidance and says all creams containing paraffin should carry a warning.

The article goes on to report that creams like E45 and Cetraben have been linked to these deaths, and that their manufacturers have been instructed to place warnings on the packaging that their products are highly flammable.

Benefits of using organic botanical oils

We've been asked by a couple of customers where we stand on this, particularly since we also have eczema in the family.  First of all, we'd like to clarify that none of our products contain paraffin based ingredients.  Petroleum and paraffin based cosmetic ingredients are very common (they are very cheap), and tend to be included in cosmetics where an emollient effect is required.  People often comment that they feel very oily and behave like barrier creams.  But the problem is that the paraffin can sink into textiles, and if it comes into contact with a naked flame it causes the material to catch fire very easily.

Natroma has always avoided using petroleum based ingredients because we do not agree with using these types of oil on the skin when there are more natural botanical alternatives.  We believe that it's better to use organic botanical oils and butters that sink into the skin, and add moisturising qualities, rather than mineral based ingredients which tend to sit on the skin surface.  This is why, we recommend using organic botanical oils for body massage and in the bath (rather than the more well-know mineral oil based products) and shea butter where a heavier emollient is needed (such as for dry patches of eczema). 

It's important to note however that any oil is flammable, so any spillages need to be treated with care, keeping clothing away from potential ignition sources.  But the difference with using botanical oils is that they're more likely to sink into the skin, rather than soaking into clothing and bedding.  Botanical oils are also easier to remove from textiles with normal washing, compared to heavier paraffin based products that are more likely to leave a residue. 

We hope this offers some reassurances that Natroma products do not contain paraffin derived ingredients, and that it encourages more people to try using botanical oils and butters, to cope with their eczema.