Getting e-liquid on skin is not as harmful as swallowing it, in the short term anyway. No extensive research has been done into the long term effect of e-liquid skin exposure. The skin is the semi permeable covering of vertebrates. Humans are vertebrates and our skin is semi permeable, this allows for osmosis to occur and some chemicals can penetrate. If e-liquid is left on the skin for too long the nicotine can seep through the skin and into the bloodstream, this having a harmful effect on our health and possibly even causing death.
E-liquid generally contains 3 main ingredients: propylene glycol, glycerol and nicotine. The most dangerous (or at least toxic) of the 3 is nicotine, which can kill almost instantaneously if too much is ingested. Propylene glycol is a synthetic product obtained from the hydration of propylene oxide, which is derived from petroleum. So should we be smoking a product that essentially comes from oil? And should we be worried about getting it on our skin?
There are arguments for propylene glycol use and against propylene glycol use, some labeling it as a toxic chemical and some like the FDA labeling it safe to be used in foods and other products. So I guess you will have to make your own mind up and see in ten years time.
The third ingredient – glycerol – is a simple polyol sugar alcohol compound which is deemed safe.
What do I do when I get e-liquid on skin?
The best thing to do when you get e-liquid on skin is quickly wipe it off and wash your hands. Most safety advice issued by e-juice manufacturers advises you to wash it off thoroughly and wash any clothes that came into contact with the juice. On most e-liquid bottles it is labelled as an irritant and may cause skin conditions, but I guess it depends on how sensitive your skin is. If you get e-liquid on skin get it off as quickly as possible!
What do I do if I get e-liquid in my eye?
If you get a small amount of e-liquid in your eye it is best to try and wash it out with water. Try not to rub it as it may cause deeper penetration and have a more harmful effect. If you get a lot in your eye then you should seek medical advice. Especially if you have any of the following symptoms: nausea, headaches, blurred vision, involuntary twitches, heart palpitations or vomiting. There are different levels of nicotine poisoning depending on how much has been ingested. This depends on e-liquid strength versus the amount consumed.
How to prevent e-liquid on skin
Safety is key when using any dangerous substances! Follow these simple set of guidelines when refilling your vaporizer. If you are prepared you should not have any problems or come into any harm when vaping.
- Always use protective gloves when re-filling you vaping device.
- Wear protective goggles to stop e-liquid getting into your eyes.
- Always refill your vaporizer in a well lit area, it helps if you can see what you are doing!
- Always make sure you put the e-liquid bottle cap back on correctly so nothing spills.
- Remember to securely tighten all the components of the vaporizer back together after refilling it. If the vaporizers not screwed up tight you can get e-liquid on skin, in eye or even swallow some juice.
- Always remember to refill out of sight and away from children. Keep all e-smoking paraphernalia locked up and in a safe secure place.