Aftershave Poisoning

Written by Bree Normandin and Elizabeth Boskey, PhD | Published on July 16, 2012
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD

What Is Aftershave Poisoning?

Aftershave is a lotion, gel, or liquid that is applied to the face after shaving. It is most often used by men. If swallowed, aftershave can produce harmful effects.

Aftershave poisoning can be a medical emergency. It may require immediate care.

The information discussed in this article is not intended to treat or manage poison exposure. If exposure occurs, call 911 or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Why Is Aftershave Poisonous?

Most aftershaves contain the poisonous ingredients isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) and ethyl alcohol. Other ingredients vary by brand.

What Are the Symptoms of Aftershave Poisoning?

Common symptoms of aftershave poisoning may include the following:

  • confusion
  • decreased alertness
  • muscle cramping
  • low blood sugar
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of consciousness
  • headache
  • lowered body temperature
  • low blood pressure
  • racing heartbeat
  • labored or slow breathing
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty walking
  • throat pain or irritation
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty urinating

Isopropanol can also cause additional symptoms:

  • lack of coordination
  • dizziness
  • unresponsive reflexes

Children who experience aftershave poisoning are at very high risk of developing low blood sugar. Low blood sugar in children can cause the following symptoms:

  • weakness
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • irritability

How Is Aftershave Poisoning Diagnosed?

Only a physician can diagnose aftershave poisoning. Children who suddenly begin to show signs of poisoning should be taken to a medical professional immediately.

How Is Aftershave Poisoning Treated?

It is important to seek immediate medical help for victims of aftershave poisoning. Never make a victim throw up, unless told to do so by a medical professional. You may give the victim water or milk, unless they are throwing up or having seizures.

Your doctor will want to know the victim’s age, weight, and symptoms in order to treat aftershave poisoning. They will also ask what kind of aftershave the victim drank, how much of it, and when. If possible, take the container with you to the doctor. This will help doctors to determine how much poison was ingested.

Once admitted to the ER, a doctor will assess the patient. The patient’s pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and breathing rate will be checked. The patient may also receive:

  • oxygen
  • activated charcoal
  • dialysis
  • IV fluids
  • laxatives

The poisoning victim may also need to have his or her stomach pumped. This removes the poison by inserting a tube down the throat and into the stomach.

What Can Be Expected in the Long Term?

Poisoning usually occurs in small children who accidentally drink aftershave. Alcoholics also sometimes drink aftershave when other alcohol is unavailable.

The outcome of aftershave poisoning depends on how much is swallowed. Aftershave poisoning is rarely deadly. Rare but serious complications may include seizures and severe breathing problems.

How Can Aftershave Poisoning Be Prevented?

Store all health and beauty products, including aftershave, securely out of children’s reach.

Calling Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (NPCC) can provide additional information about aftershave poisoning. You can call them from anywhere in the United States at 1-800-222-1222. This service is free and confidential. NPCC professionals are happy to answer questions about poisoning and poisoning prevention. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Article Sources:

More on Healthline

Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
There is not just one type of migraine. Chronic migraine is one subtype of migraine. Understand what sets these two conditions apart.
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Learn about some of the most common triggers for asthma, as well as measures you can take to minimize your risk of exposure, symptoms, and flares.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage COPD
Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage COPD
Leading a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in your COPD symptoms. Learn more about basic changes that will make it easier to manage your COPD.
The Best Multiple Sclerosis iPhone and Android Apps of the Year
The Best Multiple Sclerosis iPhone and Android Apps of the Year
These best multiple sclerosis apps provide helpful information and tools to keep track of your symptoms, including medication reminders.
Seasonal Allergies and COPD: Tips to Avoid Complications
Seasonal Allergies and COPD: Tips to Avoid Complications
For COPD patients, allergies pose the risk of serious complications. Learn some basic tips for avoiding allergy-related complications of COPD in this slideshow.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement