Smelling nice shouldn't have to endanger your health. Unfortunately many popular perfumes have an unfortunate number of unhealthy petrochemicals in them. These chemicals can cause skin reactions, headaches, and a host of other conditions that can cause you to become ill. The good news is that there are much healthier ways to add a bit of scent to your life.
Do you know that 95 percent of the ingredients used in perfume are derived from petrochemicals?
Natural Organic Perfume
Who wouldn’t love to receive a lovely bottle of perfume for a gift? Perfume is a multi-billion dollar industry, but do you ever wonder what goes into those beautifully designed bottles?
Most people assume that something that smells like a rose is made from roses, but the truth is that commercial perfumes are usually made from synthetic fragrances -- most commonly they’re petroleum based. But why would you want to do such a thing?
In comparison to costly natural products like musk or ambergris, petroleum is cheaper and easier to come by. Perfume makers can synthesize a scent in a lab quickly and cheaply rather than growing and shipping a rare botanical from the other side of the globe.
Unfortunately, for the consumer, this is not a healthy practice. Environmental Protection Agency studies have found many hazardous chemicals -- some of them carcinogens -- in fragrances:
- benzyl alcohol
- methylene chloride
- ethyl acetate
Any of these chemicals can cause problems with the central nervous system if inhaled. You could experience dizziness, nausea, headache, or even kidney damage. But don’t look for them on the label. You won’t find them. Fragrance is considered a trade secret and not regulated by the the Federal Drug Administration.
Find out from EWG which toxins are contained in various fragrance products used daily
What Is Hydrosol?
Natural Organic Perfume
If you want to buy perfume or give perfume as a gift, a healthier choice is a natural perfume with ingredients that are from plant-derived essences like grasses, herbs, fruits, and tree bark which are all used to give complexity to the scent. Since the ingredients in perfume are breathed in as well as absorbed through the skin, you want to make sure the ingredients are as safe as possible.
Because natural perfumes don't have chemicals to make the scent last, they tend to last only a few hours according to Mandy Aftel, the author of Essence and Alchemy: The Natural History of Perfume and founder of Aftelier Perfumes. To make the scent last longer, you can layer a natural solid perfume with a natural oil perfume. You can also spritz your hair or keep the bottle with you to reapply occasionally.
When you wear perfume regularly, that means you regularly introduce chemicals to your body. Why not reduce the toxic load of the wearer a bit and give a perfume which is less likely to cause health problems? It is still possible to have a sophisticated scent that’s not harmful. Perfumers have even started making water based scents. With a little searching, you can definitely find something that smells great and doesn’t have dangerous synthetics.