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British Lung Foundation
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Can anyone please tell me if it is safe for my husband who is on oxygen 24/7 to use this cream. His whole body is very dry and scaly which make him scratch, no skin problems just very dry skin.

I went on the web but there is no specific answer for the use of this cream, there are answers for hand creams where you don't know the ingredients, but it is the E45 cream I am interested in.

I hope you can help.

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39 Replies

Hi sweetthing I am on oxygen all the time, I use cream daily as I have very dry, flaky skin. I use anything I don't think it affects the safety of using oxygen, I use Dove, Nivea, E45, depends what's on offer.

Lib x

Hi again Sweetthing

I found in hospital that I was allergic to paraffin based creams but E45 should be alright for him. I was eventually prescribed a cream called Fucibet and although it has a small amount of white paraffin in it I didn't react to it. It might be worth a try if E45 doesn't work. As Lib says, there shouldn't be a problem with the oxygen.

Bobby xxxx

You are right to check sweetthing as petroleum based creams and oxygen are not safe together. You have to check that the cream being used is water based (check the ingredient list). I use the Dove Intensive moisturiser and find it works particularly well.

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No-nos would include any oil based cream.

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To be on the save side , ring your oxygen supplier.

They will advise?


My son has psoriasis and doc prescribes exorex moisturising cream, maybe that will help. Have a word with your doc.

Paraffin based creams are not safe to use with oxygen. At one time my husband's legs literally seemed to be flaking away and paraffin cream was prescribed by the doctor! (Now it's his head that seems to be dry for some reason.)

Hi sweetening, I am not an oxygen user but was interested in your comments and others about dry skin. My skin has become very dry also since last Winter, I thought it might be exposure to the sun when I go on holidays but I am now thinking it is more likely the COPD medication, Ventolin, Spiriva and Seretide. I use E45 and it is very good

but I should really use it more as a preventative rather than a cure. Many Thanks. Adrian

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My mum uses double base gel, it's fabulous for dry skin and helps protect the skin, especially if your skin is quite papery because of steroids.

I think you can buy it but not sure of price. We get it on prescription

Boots have it - priced £4-£5

I checked the ingredients and there is purified water in it but it does not state whether it is water based or oil based and there is a lot of oil in it as well. Will speak to our respiritory nurse this week.

Thank you all for your comments.

I use Aqueous cream bought from either Lloyds, Tesco or Morrisons. Approx £2,50 for a very big tub, lasts ages and is about a third of the price of E45. No problems with my O2.

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I am going to check with the oxygen company because it states on the web that oil based creams can cause fire for oxygen users. I don't know if E45 is oil based or water based, but if there is paraffin in it it must be oil based. Better to be safe than sorry.

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That is what my oxy company explained - and why they state any oil based cream should never be used by anyone on oxygen. I honestly thought everyone using oxygen would know that. This is from Air Liquide -

"Home Oxygen User Guide Oxygen Saturation (Enrichment)

Materials will become saturated or enriched with oxygen and may burn very quickly and fiercely if they catch fire.


turn off the oxygen equipment when you are not using it


use or store oxygen equipment in a well ventilated area


place oxygen equipment near curtains or cover it with coats,

blankets or other materials that may restrict the air circulation around it


leave the cannula or mask on the bed or chair when oxygen

equipment is switched on


carry or use portable oxygen equipment under clothing or in an

airtight bag

Oils & Grease


make sure your hands are clean and ONLY use water based

soluble creams or products similiar to K-Y Jelly when using oxygen



use Vaseline or other oil based creams to soothe a sore area when using oxygen equipment.


use oils or grease with oxygen equipment.



Materials will become saturated or enriched with oxygen and may burn very quickly and fiercely if they catch fire.

What they are saying here is that anything you wear, or sit near will be 'touching (in contact with) the oxygen and become saturated (like a sponge in water gets dripping wet) so if you happened to have a cigarette and the ash fell, your clothes or creams could catch fire. The oil in the creams becomes the fuel.

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Thank you so much TOCI, in fact I went on the web last night and after much searching found something similar to your post, so I will not let my husband use E45 cream.

I will buy the Aquas cream (I have had this before for myself) and he can use that.

I knew about vaselene being dangerous, butt it would be a good idea for the Oxygen companies to print a list of well known creams whether over the counter or on prescription that are dangerous when used with oxygen, this will enable oxygen users to be safe.

Some people are too ill and do not have a carer who can spend time surfing the web looking for these answers. The answers to all questions regarding oxygen use should be readily available, especially when they can cause such serious damage.

Thank you all for your comments.


Hi Sweetthing, another thing which may help is getting some cod liver oil tablets for your husband. My dietician recommended them for me for dry/flaking skin. He said to take up to 1000mg daily.


A fire needs three things to burn (this is called the fire triangle)

1. Oxygen, is not explosive, does not burn but with the other two really makes the fire go.

2 Fuel, coal, gas, oil, petroleum oil comes from crude oil, same as petrol. Also cooking oil. Without oxygen no burning.

3. Heat, flame, cigarette, match, gas cooker, gas fire.

In the unlikely event of all three coming together there may be a fire. Health and Safety means that this has to be pointed out as there have been fires where the victim was found with lips burnt off from using Vaseline.

Sorry to sound a bit of a know it all but I do have a degree in Chemistry.


You are right about the triangle. But it was explained to me that oil and grease are particularly hazardous in the presence of oxygen as they can ignite spontaneously.

Sorry Toci, there is no such thing as spontaneous combustion, closest would be a spark from static electricity, or lightning strike.


I am no expert Alwayssmiling but BOC would not agree with you and I reproduce a part of one of their documents below.

"Oil and grease

Oil and grease are particularly hazardous in the presence of oxygen as they can ignite spontaneously and burn with explosive violence.

They should never be used to lubricate oxygen or enriched-air equipment. Special lubricants which are compatible with oxygen must be used under certain conditions".



Does this mean that cream with paraffin in its makeup in can cause a fire when used by a person wearing an oxygen mask.

I don't know sweetthing. I am not trying to cause an argument or scare anyone. It is just that the literature my oxygen company supply (Air Products), the website for Air Liquide and the web pages of the British Oxygen Company all warn of the risks in respect of oil based products and oxygen, and I just wanted people to be aware of that fact. If I (and they) are wrong there is no problem but if they are right I would hate anyone to be harmed because they simply did not know.


It would appear that everyone who knows about this warns about it.

"Respiratory oxygen

Oxygen and oxygen-enriched air is used in medical equipment such as oxygen masks, oxygen tents, incubators and hyperbaric chambers.

Even in the vicinity of exhausts from equipment in which oxygen is used, the air is liable to become enriched. The resulting oxygen enrichment leads to a greatly-increased fire hazard.

To reduce the possibility of ignition, the following precautions should be taken:

*naked flames and spark producing equipment must be avoided

*smoking must be strictly forbidden

*the use of cosmetic oil and grease should be strictly forbidden

*precautions should be taken to avoid static electricity".



I did nt know this when first put on oxygen and put cream on my lips and skin after a bath .and believe ne it stung .I have heard that it burns you

Hi sweetthing12

Airliquide say under no circumstances should Vaseline or E45 cream be used around the nose or mouth when using medical oxygen. PDF document link below .

See Section 2 Safety:


Check with 02 supplier for any queries about using E45 anywhere on the body whilst using medical oxygen.

Check with GP about the dry skin problem keeping in mind what the 02 supplier has said about water based products being completely safe.

Also check with BLF helpline I am sure they can be of help on this situation.

Take good care.


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Thank you for your reply, I did go on the internet found out the answer and then purchased the water based cream, I also had a reply from Mark from the BLF who kindly has pointed me in the right direction and told me to only use water based cream.

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Well done


As several people have said already - please follow the advice given by all your oxygen companies and only use water based creams - do not use any oil/paraffin based creams. There is a reason why this advice is given - and really not something to go into any great discussion about. Do not take the risk.




Thank you very much, I had so much different advice given that I ended up going on the internet and read up about it then bought the Aquaous cream.

I appreciate you answering my question.

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Do not wish to rock the boat, but aqueous cream has paraffin oils in it. You can doublecheck on netdoctor.co.uk. It is difficult finding anything that does not have some form of derivative from the petrochemical industry, unless you go organic and that = more costly.

KY Jelly nudge nudge wink wink

I use aveeno expensive but good

Thanks, Mark.

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I would like to thank everyone who tried to help me regarding E45 and oxygen use. I have been informed that creams to be used around oxygen should only be water based. I have now purchased a large tub for my husbands use, because as much as he gets on my nerves and drives me mad I do not want him going up in flames as he will damage the furnishings.


LOL, sweetthing. x

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Good thinking sweething, if he goes up in flames and you are anywhere near those flame won't discriminate against you. So glad you opted for the safe water based cream options. :)

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Try Aveeno, it is wheat based and advocated for excema sufferers, and is good for any dry skin. aveeno.co.uk/

Aqueous cream tends to thin the skin and make it fragile, as I found out to my cost.

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dont use the ones with alcahol in .I use aveeno .You need water based creams .Doc will surply sun cream on pperscription

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