What is aftershave poisoning?

Aftershave poisoning generally occurs among small children who accidentally ingest aftershave. It is important to note that aftershave is available as a gel, lotion or liquid that is applied on the face after shaving. If ingested, aftershave can cause detrimental effects.

Most aftershave products include isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol. These ingredients are dangerous if ingested. Some individuals suffering from alcohol abuse might also ingest aftershave if other forms of alcohol are not available to become intoxicated.

What are the indications?

The usual indications of aftershave poisoning include:

  • Low blood sugar

    Seek immediate medical attention if a child shows indications of aftershave poisoning.

  • Confusion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diminished level of alertness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drop in the body temperature
  • Low blood pressure
  • Labored breathing
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness

What should I do?

Seek immediate medical attention if a child shows indications of aftershave poisoning. Call for emergency assistance or bring him/her to the nearest emergency department.

It is also beneficial if you can provide the type and amount of aftershave the child ingested. Bring the container with you to the emergency department if possible. This can help the healthcare team determine the contents of the bottle and perform the appropriate treatment.

If a child ends up with a seizure, roll onto his/her side and ensure that the airway remains clear. Call for emergency assistance or bring to the emergency room right away.


Once a child is identified with aftershave poisoning, the doctor will monitor the temperature, pulse, breathing rate and blood pressure.

The child might be given intravenous fluids and oxygen. Activated charcoal, gastric lavage, dialysis and laxatives are no longer utilized in most cases of poisoning due to isopropyl alcohol.

The expected outcome after aftershave poisoning is based on the amount of aftershave ingested, how early it is recognized and how rapidly treatment is started. This type of poisoning is rarely deadly.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on aftershave poisoning is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize this type of poisoning, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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