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Your Perfume & Cologne Chemical Bomb
While dousing yourself with your favorite scent might make up a typical part of your morning routine, the truth is that regular exposure to these fragrances could be damaging your health. Though your perfume might smell like citrus fruits and roses, the truth is that around 95% of the chemicals that are used to deliver the scent in synthetic fragrances are actually derived from substances known as “petrochemicals” – toxins that include everything from phthalates, to benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more.
If those names don’t make sense to you, what you should know is that they’ve been shown to be capable of causing birth defects, cancer, nervous system disorders, and allergies. That’s why they’re cited on the EPA’s list of hazardous waste substances.
Do You Know What’s in Your Fragrance?
You may think that your perfume or cologne has to be safe – otherwise, it wouldn’t be allowed to be sold at huge department stores and in tiny, expensive boutiques. However, the truth is that there’s no-one out there that’s committed to regulating what comes in your perfume bottle – and the effects it could have on your health. Manufacturers have been given the right to hide hundreds of different chemicals behind the word “fragrance” – without any obligation to identify what those chemicals are, or what they could be doing to you.
Interestingly, despite the fact that the FDA has the authority to regulate some of the harmful ingredients typically used in personal care and cosmetic products – it doesn’t actually exercise it. That’s why so many experts suggest that consumers should start reading the hidden language behind the word “fragrance” when they see it on a bottle. The truth is, fragrance literally means hidden chemicals.
A series of laboratory tests commissioned by the “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” found approximately 38 unlisted chemicals within bottles of seventeen different name-brand fragrances, including Calvin Klein, Old Spice, and Chanel. On top of that, further studies have found that the average fragrance product contained at least fourteen chemicals that they didn’t disclose on their perfume or cologne labels. Among those ingredients where substances that have been linked to hormone disruption, allergic reactions, and defined as “unsafe” for personal use.
The Hidden Toxins in Your Perfume Bottle
It’s easier for your perfume to poison you and the people around you than you might think. When you breathe in a fragrance, it enters your sinuses and moves straight up to your brain, while additional chemicals are absorbed through your eyes and skin – infecting the blood stream and targeting organs. From the moment you start spritzing, your physical and mental health can begin to suffer.
Just some of the most common toxins lurking within your favorite fragrances may include:
- Acetone – a substance that leads to dryness of the throat and mouth, nausea, dizziness, lapsed coordination, drowsiness, slurred speech, and even comas (in particularly severe circumstances).
- Benzyl alcohol – a substance known for irritating the upper respiratory tract, causing headaches, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, low blood pressure, and even central nervous system problems.
- Benzaldehyde – a product that is known largely as a narcotic, nervous system depressant, irritant, and chemical capable of causing nausea, abdominal pain, and problems with the lungs or GI tract.
- Benzyl Acetate – found in both cologne and perfume, this substance is carcinogenic, and can irritate the respiratory passages and eyes.
- Methylene Chloride – a carcinogenic substance that stores in body fat and metabolizes into carbon monoxide, reducing the abilities of the blood to carry oxygen around the body. This often leads to tingling, irritability, fatigue, and headaches.
- Ethanol – a substance that can lead to upper respiratory tract problems, eye issues, alongside drowsiness, impaired vision, stupor, and ataxia.
- Camphor – an irritant to the nervous system that can be absorbed through the skin and lead to dizziness, nausea, confusion, and convulsions.
- Limonene – a cariogenic that is both a sensitizer and irritant.
- Ethyl acetate – a narcotic that is irritating to the respiratory tract and eyes. It can cause stupor and headache, and has a defatting effect on skin that leads to cracking and drying. In severe cases, it can cause damage to the kidneys and liver.
- Linalool – A narcotic that leads to respiratory disturbances, and can reduce spontaneous motor activity, while promoting depression.
Most scientific analyses that are conducted surrounding perfumes, colognes, and fragrances that are inserted into other commonly used products find that innocuous looking substances generally contain a range of chemicals that can be linked directly with severe, and sometimes life-threatening negative health effects. For instance, Phthalates – the substance that makes fragrances last longer, can be associated with damage to the reproductive system, while artificial musk scents can come out in breast milk.
Ditch Synthetic Perfumes and Cologne
So how can you avoid exposing yourself, and the people you love to a host of chemicals every time you attempt to “smell nice” as part of your morning routine? The answer is simpler than you might think: just stop wearing manmade colognes and perfumes. Not only will this reduce your risk level significantly, but it’s worth noting that colognes and perfumes aren’t actually necessary if your only aim is to smell good. The truth is that there’s plenty of natural options out there.
Avoiding the toxins in most man-made fragrances doesn’t mean that you have to live a life devoid of pleasant scents in your personal care products. There are some truly natural options available on the market today. However, it’s worth noting that if you do suffer from sensitivities or skin problems, certain botanical extracts can still lead to reactions – so it’s worth examining each product in detail before you start using it.
Organic essential oils are typically the best option for those who are looking for alternate fragrances, and you can even add them to your own non-scented lotion if you like to make a more moisture-friendly start to your morning. Many essential oils are available in a range of safe fragrances that are derived completely from natural sources and botanical ingredients such as seeds, leaves, wood, bark, fruits, flowers, and other raw materials.
In some cases, organic oil scents may cost slightly more than your average scent, and the smell may only last for a few hours after application – but you do experience the benefit of not being exposed to the constant health risks of synthetic fragrances.
If natural oils don’t appeal to you however – there is always the option of forgoing fragrances completely. After all, scientific research has found that the natural scent of a woman is typically more seductive to her male counterpart than any perfume.
Your Natural Scent is a Part of You
It’s strange to think that people spend so much time and effort attempting to eradicate their own natural scent. The reality is that one of the main forces behind attraction is your natural smell. If you artificially make yourself smell a certain way, then you could be removing the factor that would cause your other half to fall even deeper in love with you.
This is all thanks to the presence of “pheromones”, the seductive molecules in your skin that influence the biological processes that get your sex drive revving. Animals of all species secrete these pheromones as a way of signaling their reproductive status to other animals, and although you might not consciously recognize the scent of pheromones around you, the chemicals may play a serious role in helping you find your ideal partner. In fact, if you’ve ever been in a situation when you’ve found yourself drawn inexplicably towards a stranger that you’ve only just met, this could be a sign that you’re actually finding the chemical signals they’re sending you attractive. Humans naturally seem to be more attracted to people who have a similar genetic makeup to themselves, and this is signified by the subtle odors that make up your natural scent.
There’s a reason why many researchers and fragrance producers across the world have begun to study the natural pheromones that humans excrete as a way of developing unique fragrances that might make you more attractive to new sexual partners. Some studies have even found that people who wear natural scents are more interesting to their partners, but there is some suggestion that this could be part of a placebo effect that causes a person to believe they’re going to be more attractive – and therefore they are.
Banish Dangerous Fragrances
While it’s hard to avoid a habit that you’ve grown accustomed to during the course of your life – the truth is that synthetic fragrances are a danger that should be removed from everyone’s homes – one bottle at a time. There’s no need to expose yourself to dangerous chemicals and toxins when there are plenty of different luxurious all-natural perfumes out there to choose from instead.
At the same time, this evidence behind the danger of synthetic fragrances could be the push that we need to start accepting our natural scent as a species. After all, your smell is part of what defines you.