Are Perfumes Harmful?
You spray your favorite perfume as you get ready for the new day. You want to start off smelling great but you might not know that you could actually be harming yourself or others in your household with each spritz. Are you wondering how something that smells as wonderful as your perfume could be harmful? The answer to this question may be surprising.
Chemicals can cause several different types of health problems; most everyone knows this and we limit our exposure to chemicals as much as possible. What people dont seem to realize is that each time you spray yourself with a squirt of perfume, you are spraying chemicals directly on your body and into the air around you. After all, it takes chemicals to make perfumes.
These compounds are called fragrance chemicals and they vaporize when sprayed into the air or on your skin. As you and others around you breathe in these scents you are being exposed to chemicals that may be harmful.
Anywhere that perfumes are used the quality of the air is affected. These fragrance chemicals are not only found in perfumes and colognes, but also in scented candles, incense sticks, vaporizers and fragrance oils. When you use these fragrances inside your home the indoor air quality is greatly reduced.
Problems Caused by Perfumes
Do you have a lot of problems with allergies? Does your nose feel so stopped up all the time that taking sinus medication has became a regular routine? If your answer is yes, do you or someone in your home use perfume on a regular basis? If so, it is possible that this could be your main problem. An estimated 2% of the population in developed countries suffers with some form of fragrance allergy.
Being exposed to fragrances can cause many problems, including but not limited to the ones listed below.
Nose and throat irritation
Loss of coordination
Defects of the central nervous system
Of course, not everyone has these problems when exposed to perfumes. Neither does one person have all of these symptoms listed above, but you could be suffering with some of these problems and not know that it is being caused from a fragrance. Just as some people experience an allergic reaction to some foods, others are allergic to fragrances. Some ingredients that are found in these alluring aromas can even cause someone with asthma to suffer from an increased amount of asthma attacks. If you find that you are suffering with a lot of sinus problems see how many different scents you are exposed to each day.
If you are like most people you probably never thought that something as simple as a bottle of perfume or scented candle could cause so many serious problems. Your first thought would most likely be how could something that smells so nice cause you to be forgetful or even cause cancer.
Unfortunately, there is a danger and the more fragrant chemicals you are exposed to each day increase this danger. Just think about how many different perfumes the average person is exposed to on a daily basis. At work, restaurants, stores, school. Everywhere you go someone has on his or her favorite perfume and you are constantly breathing in all these different chemicals each day.
Information about Perfume Ingredients
All kinds of fragrances can be created with modern technology. If you can name it, you can smell it. Perfumed oils to extravagant designer perfumes are being developed on a regular basis.
Everything from cheap perfumes to expensive name brands can be purchased easily and most people never think twice about what they are made from.
Currently there are upwards of 800 different fragrance chemicals and oils used in perfumes and scented candles.
Unfortunately, manufacturers in many countries are not required to state exactly what ingredients make up a certain fragrance; they are considered a trade secret.
Added to this, over half of the ingredients used in perfumes have never been tested to see how toxic they are to humans. Therefore, few studies have been done to see how they affect the average persons health, especially when exposed to the chemicals for a long period of time. However, when we consider how some scented candles contain carbon monoxide, acetone, lead or benzene its not difficult to imagine how mixing a bunch of different chemicals together could affect our health.
Perfumes can have as little as one ingredient to hundreds of fragrant ingredients in any one brand.
However, out of the ingredients that have been tested at least a fourth of the fragrance chemicals have been found to contain toxic substances. It is not just man made fragrances that have adverse side effects on people but natural ingredients have also been found to be harmful.
Below is a list of natural fragrances that research has proven to be harmful. Please be aware if these are in your perfume or cologne.
If you already have sensitive skin, asthma, or any other respiratory problem perfumes will affect you even more than the average healthy person. However, a healthy person can begin to experience hypersensitivity to perfumes over a period of time. One of the most obvious signs of having a reaction to a particular fragrance is developing a rash. If you do notice a rash after using a product discontinue immediately, no matter how slight it may be.
Sometimes a chemical used to create a specific scent may have a very unpleasant smell to it. In these cases another fragrance is normally used to cover that smell up, but covering the smell does not eliminate it. These odors can still be harmful to people who breathe them, even though you can not smell the harmful odor.
Chemicals enter your body through breathing or through your skin. Each time you breathe in the scent of perfume you run the risk of exposing yourself to harmful fragrances. Each time you apply perfume to your skin it penetrates the skin and soaks into the bodys tissues. Over time this can even begin to affect internal organs.
Womens perfumes are not the only ones that contain harmful chemicals; mens cologne also poses the same problem.
In the case of scented candles, fragrance oils and incense sticks, these pose a particular danger when lit. The perfume fragrance is then released by a chemical reaction with the burning wick to release these chemicals into the air, which we then take into our lungs.
This can produce headaches, sickness, cause breathing difficulties and irritate the ear, nose and throat.
Now, here is the good news. Ever since research began showing that fragrances can be harmful, changes have been made to make perfumes safer to use. In some countries manufacturers are obliged to detail the fragrance ingredients so the end user can make informed choices. You can still enjoy wearing your favorite perfume without worry; all you need to do is follow a few simple guidelines.
For instance, check the ingredients to make sure they do not contain any natural fragrances that are harmful such as the ones listed above.
If you develop a rash or notice that you only have sinus problems when you wear a particular fragrance try a different one, not all fragrances will affect you. Thanks to research and technology you can continue starting your day off with that dash of perfume you enjoy so much.
About the Author
Simon Petch is a successful writer and Internet Publisher providing valuable tips and advice on all aspects of beauty care to online purchasers of cosmetics and perfume. His numerous articles offer valuable insight and interesting product reviews.