People who use emollients and smoke are at greater risk of setting themselves on fire, due to the flammable residue that may be left on clothes, bandages and bedding, warns the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).


The warning comes after research from Anglia Ruskin University, De Montfort University and the NFCC’s Emollient Group confirmed that both paraffin and non-paraffin emollients can act as an accelerant when absorbed into clothing and exposed to naked flames or other heat sources.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has partnered with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Fire and Rescue Services and health charities in a new campaign to raise awareness of the fire risk and the precautions that need to be taken by users of skin creams.

Emollient products, which include creams, ointments, sprays and body wash formulations are used by millions of people every day to manage dry, itchy or scaly skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and ichthyosis. They may contain paraffin or other ingredients such as shea or cocoa butter, beeswax, lanolin, nut oil or mineral oils which can leave a flammable residue.

NFCC advises people who use emollient products not to:

  • Smoke, if there is any risk that their clothing, dressings or bedding are contaminated with emollient;
  • Use gas or electric hobs when wearing clothes contaminated with emollient;
  • Sit too close to sources of heat such as open flame or gas fires, electric or halogen heaters if there is any risk that their clothing or dressings may be contaminated with emollient.


Emollient Leaflet – click here to view


Further Information:

Emollient Toolkit – click here to view

NFCC Information – click here to view