Undesirable Ingredients in Perfumed Products

Toxic Ingredients in Perfumed products
Disclaimer – I am neither a medical expert nor a scientist all information in this article has come from my own research and personal experiences.  

Do you have a beauty product to hand? Perhaps a hand cream in the depth of your handbag or better still go to your bathroom and grab your favourite moisturiser. Now read the ingredients label do you see the word “fragrance” or “parfum” or “perfume”? 

Synthetic fragrance is found in a wide variety of products from skin care to household items such as air fresheners, fabric softeners, laundry detergents, candles. Fragrance/Perfume is a blanket term. Manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients that are used to formulate the scent you adore because they are protected by trademark laws. 

"The National Academy of Sciences reports that 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. We have been brainwashed by the industry to feel we must cover up our natural scents with toxic chemicals. Many of the same chemicals in perfumes are the same chemicals that are in cigarette smoke." allnaturalbeauty.us/chemicalsensitivities

There are over 500 potential chemicals that can be used under the term “fragrance”. This is a widely discussed topic and there are many informative articles online explaining the possible health risks should you wish to research further. Many of us (including me) have allergic reactions to fragrance in household and cosmetic products. Symptoms vary and range from headache, sinus pain, sore throat, breathing difficulties (such as asthma) or skin irritations (rash/itching/hives). 

So what should you look for when buying beauty products? You are probably thinking that fragrance free or unscented is your best option but this is only partly true. You have to be careful of these terms as a product may still contain perfume to mask ingredient odours so it is covered up but not to the extent needed to be noticeable to the consumer. The alternative is to opt for products containing natural essential oils. Consider purchasing from companies that eliminate certain ingredients in favour of natural alternatives because on the whole greener brands often do not include synthetic fragrance. However do remember that essential oils can also be allergens or skin irritants so hyper sensitive skins should still be cautious. The key is to read ingredients and become familiar with the language. If you see fragrance or perfume listed check for a footnote to explain the source as it may be derived from essential oil. 

Over the years I have noticed sensitivity to household cleaners and air fresheners. Usually my breathing is affected by these products. If you are feeling thrifty you can make your own cleaner from items like white vinegar, baking soda and lemons. There are many natural cleaning tips online if you wish to do more research. I learnt from Earth Friendly Beauty that Clove oil can be used instead of bleach to kill mould. If making your own cleaning agents sounds like too much effort consider brands such as The Bio-D Company, Bentley Organic, Earth Friendly Products, and Soda Crystals. Sadly the majority of these brands do not appear on Supermarket shelves you have to order them online or seek them out in a local health food store.

I recently switched to Soap Flakes (purchased from Tesco) for hand washing delicate items.  I've broken out with eczema where my bra sits so decided I need to avoid my laundry liquid for the time being.  Soap Flakes is pure soap with no added fragrance or perfume, vegetable origin, contains no animal products, not tested on animals and is palm oil free.

I guess my overall message is to inform you to be aware of what you put on your skin and breathe in.  Next time you purchase the latest celebrity perfume, beauty product or fashionable candles and air freshener consider what may be lurking in the formulations.    

Sarah x


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