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First Aid for Shaving Cream Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 25, 2018

Shaving Cream Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound.


What is Shaving Cream Poisoning?

  • Shaving cream is a cosmetic product that is generally in the form of lotions, creams, or gels. It constitutes a complex mix of emulsified oils, surfactants, and soap
  • Shaving Cream Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Shaving Cream Poisoning may be also referred to as Shaving Lotion Poisoning and Shaving Cream Toxicity.

What are the Causes of Shaving Cream Poisoning?

  • Shaving Cream Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of shaving cream
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • The cream is a mixture of several chemicals including stearic acid, myristic acid, triethanolamine, glycerin, sodium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide; any of these chemicals may induce symptoms of poisoning

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Shaving Cream Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Shaving Cream Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Burning sensation or pain in the throat
  • If the cream gets in the eye, then eye irritation and pain; blurred vision
  • Skin rashes (sometimes)
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (that may be watery, or in severe cases, bloody)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pain affecting the stomach or abdomen

How is First Aid administered for Shaving Cream Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Shaving Cream Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • If exposure of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give water or milk to drink
  • In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and seizures
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Wash eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining compound
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of compound from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Shaving Cream Poisoning?

First aid for Shaving Cream Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Shaving Cream Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Shaving Cream Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms, with appropriate medication and early support, the outcome is generally good. Since, shaving creams are generally non-toxic, the condition is not very dangerous

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Shaving Cream Poisoning be Prevented?

Shaving Cream Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, dosage and time of administration of medication
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 6, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 25, 2018