Over the past few decades, more people have begun to recognize that some of the chemicals in our daily products may not be safe. This has led many companies to reformulate their products and remove certain ingredients that can cause harm. However, there are still plenty of other chemicals in our personal care products that we don't know much about - especially fragrances. Fragrances are used in everything from laundry detergent to toothpaste but few people realize how little is known about these chemicals or what they do when we put them on our skin or inhale them into our lungs.
Fragrances are made up of many different chemicals.
Fragrances are made up of many different chemicals. Most fragrances contain around 500 different chemicals, although some can contain as many as 1,000! The Environmental Working Group has identified over 2,100 ingredients that may be found in fragrances and skin care products (1).
Fragrances can be harmful to the environment. Fragrance ingredients can cause serious harm to aquatic life by killing fish and disrupting their endocrine systems (2). They also have been shown to have adverse effects on plants (3), soil microorganisms (4), and earthworms (5).
Fragrances can be harmful to humans. While the toxicity of fragrance chemicals varies widely depending on their chemical makeup, certain types have been linked to allergies and respiratory issues such as asthma attacks in sensitive individuals (6). Certain types have also been shown to cause irritation or inflammation for all people exposed through wearing fragranced products containing them on their skin every day.
In particular, parabens, phthalates and musks are commonly found in fragrances. Parabens are typically used as preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products, but can also be found in fragrances (7). They have been shown to mimic estrogen in the body and may cause reproductive issues due to their ability to disrupt hormone regulation (8). Phthalates are found in many types of plastics including PVC plasticizers that make up fragrance ingredients such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP) (9).
Fragrances are not regulated.
You might think that fragrance is regulated, but it isn't. Fragrance is not listed on ingredient labels because it's a trade secret. This means that the manufacturer can choose to add any number of chemicals and still label them as "fragrance." In some cases, these fragrances are extremely irritating to your skin and eyes!
The good news is that there are many fragrance-free products on the market these days. The bad news is that they tend to be more expensive than their counterparts with fragrances. It’s also important to note that most non-natural ingredients are not regulated by law, so it's hard to know what you're really putting on your body!
"Fragrance-free" means chemically-free.
Many people are under the impression that products labeled "unscented" or "fragrance-free" are not only free of chemical fragrances, but also free of any other chemicals as well. This is a common misconception!
In fact, many products labeled "natural," "organic," or even just plain old "non-toxic" still contain synthetic fragrances (which can be irritating to your skin and lungs). If you're looking for truly chemical-free skin care items, then you'll need to look for products whose labeling explicitly states that they're free from all synthetic fragrance ingredients.
Natural isn't always better.
You may think that all-natural ingredients are better than synthetic ones, but it's not always the case. In fact, some natural ingredients can be more irritating than synthetic chemicals. For example, coconut oil is a great moisturizer for your skin and isn't toxic to animals or humans (as far as we know). However, if you're allergic to coconuts there's no way around using this product if you want to use something safe and natural. On the other hand, another popular ingredient—tea tree oil—can be quite irritating as well as potentially toxic when taken internally in large doses. That doesn't mean tea tree oil is bad for everyone! It just means that there are no guarantees when shopping for fragrance-free skin care products; you have to do your research before deciding which ingredients will work best for your needs and preferences.
Fragrance-free products are the safest choice for everyone.
- Fragrance-free products are better for people with allergies.
- Fragrance free products are safer for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions.
- Fragrance free products are safer for pregnant women and their unborn children because they don't contain harmful chemicals that can cross the placenta and harm the baby.
- Finally, fragrance-free products are also safer for children since most kids have sensitive skin and many kids' toys contain phthalates (a plastic softener), which can cause issues like hormone disruption, low sperm count in men, premature puberty in girls, etc...
Opting for fragrance free products when possible is a good idea for everyone especially pregnant women, children and people with a chronic illness or skin condition.
If you're pregnant, have young children or have a chronic illness or skin condition, then it's worth it to look for fragrance-free products. The products on the market can be overwhelming, so here are some general guidelines to help you get started:
- Avoid fragranced items at all costs. If you're going to choose one beauty product that is free of fragrance, make it your shampoo and conditioner! They're used in your hair every day and can irritate the scalp if they contain any chemicals besides water.
- If an item smells like flowers or fruit (like body lotion) and doesn't list its ingredients on the bottle/box/container (a good rule of thumb), then steer clear! You don't want your nose to give away what's really going into that little tube of deodorant just because someone thought it would be fun to call their new perfume "Strawberries & Champagne."
Fragrances are composed of many different chemicals, including phthalates and parabens. Phthalates are used to make fragrances last longer on the skin and can disrupt hormones in the body. Parabens are preservatives that prevent bacteria from growing inside products but can also cause skin irritation when applied directly to the skin.
We all want to take great care of our skin, but sometimes products with fragrances can be harmful. If you’re looking for a fragrance-free product to use, it’s important that you find one that meets all of your needs. You should never compromise on quality when it comes down to choosing something that will keep your skin healthy or even save it from damage.