Today, you can find a product which almost any fragrance you like. But do you know where many of these fragrances come from? Some are natural, but many actually contain synthetic and lab manufactured fragrances which actually contain toxic chemicals.
So, what really are fragrances and how are they made? Fragrances can be derived from two sources- natural ingredients or synthetic ingredients. Natural ingredients or aromas can come from something like essential oils or ingredients that have a natural scent to them, for example rose petals. Synthetic fragrances on the other hand are formulated in a lab using synthetic ingredients and these could be derived from anything, many of which are not at all good for us. These are found in almost any product- from shampoos, body lotions, air fresheners, perfumes, and even so called ‘natural products’. Moreover, these synthetic fragrances are most often derived from resources like crude oil. Some of the most harmful chemicals used to make artificial fragrances are phthalates, benzene, and toluene and these are just a few out of the many used. What is even scarier is that the term fragrance can have up to almost 3000 different ingredients!
What are the toxic effects of these chemicals?
So why is fragrance toxic? One really concerning effect these have on women are that they are potential endocrine disruptors. These can cause major hormonal changes in the body and can even increase your risk of breast cancer. That is why it is actually suggested that women should avoid artificial fragrances for this primary reason. And these fragrances are found in several skincare and hair care products that are used by us every day. These could also cause birth defects in children when pregnant women are exposed to these toxic chemicals. The ingredients found under this group of fragrance can also cause allergic reactions. You might find people complaining about sinus trouble, headaches or severe migraines, skin reactions and conditions like eczema and rashes, or even respiratory issues and chronic lung diseases if sprayed into the air.
Where would you find these artificial fragrances?
The most common products are air fresheners, deodorants, perfumes, skincare and hair care products, makeup, household cleaning products, and scented candles.
- Avoid ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’
A key indicator of this synthetic mixture of toxic chemicals can be found in products as an ingredient that is listed as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on the label. This could potentially contain synthetic perfume ingredients that is why if you spot this on an ingredient label, we highly suggest that you don’t purchase it.
2) Fragrance free does not mean no toxic chemicals
If the front label of a product claims that it is fragrance free, I would still urge you to turn around to the back label and really read the ingredients list. This is because products can contain artificial fragrances that are just added to counteract the smell of an unpleasant formulation.
3) Everything that is said to be natural- is not always natural
When it comes to looking out for toxic chemicals and particularly the ones hidden under ‘fragrance’, it’s really about being more aware while buying a product, make sure the ingredients are as clear as they can be. If a brand claims to be 100% natural but you see these hidden ingredients like fragrance and find no information about what is used to create these fragrances, chances are it is anything but natural.
Does this mean that you can’t use have any fragrances in your products? Not at all! Nature has some of the most beautiful non toxic fragrance oils and aromas that can be found in natural ingredients. Take our SkinYoga products for example. They contain no toxic chemicals- not even artificial fragrances! The wonderful aromas of our products come from the ingredients present in them itself.