I’d like to take a minute to pay respect to a part of the body that’s often overlooked: the nose. Scientists estimate that the nose can distinguish between over 1 trillion different odors, making it the most sensitive organ in the body by far. Scent and memory are strongly combined, so with a single sniff your nose can transport you to some of the best times in your life. Your sense of smell is amazing.
So why abuse it with artificial fragrances?
Why I Refuse to Use Artificial Fragrances in My Products
In theory, artificial fragrances give cosmetics manufacturers the ability to imbue their products with a variety of scents inexpensively and easily. In reality, artificial fragrances represent an enormous loophole in personal care regulation. Over 3,000 chemicals can be classified with a single word: ‘fragrance.” The result? Thousands of potentially toxic ingredients are being absorbed, ingested, and inhaled with no one being the wiser. I don’t know about you, but that smells fishy to me.
So what is a “fragrance,” anyway? Well, as a blanket term that covers more than 3,000 chemicals, a fragrance could be a lot of different things. A 1986 report from the National Academy of Sciences found that 95% of the chemicals used to create synthetic fragrances are derived from the same stuff you use to fuel your car – crude oil. These chemicals include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene, and phthalates, ingredients that are linked to cancer, birth defects, allergic reactions, and nervous system disorders.
With so many issues associated with artificial fragrances, I’ll admit I was a little baffled about why they’re so common. After doing some more research, though, I realized the unflattering truth: they’re cheap. Any beauty business that’s more interested in making a profit than providing their customers with quality can use fragrances to give the impression of a higher end product than what they’re really providing.
The last scary thing about artificial fragrances? They’re everywhere. Take a look at your shampoos, conditioners, and moisturizers. Then look at your soaps, deodorants, and body washes. Even your cleaning products and candles aren’t safe.
Artificial fragrances are designed to be long-lasting, so they’ll stick around for a while on your clothing and skin. They also linger in the air. A study conducted in Norway found artificial fragrance compounds in outdoor air, even in remote locations, proving just how far these chemicals can go.
Avoiding Chemical Fragrances
As pervasive as they are, you can avoid chemical fragrances. Your biggest asset is your eyes: read ingredients labels carefully and avoid any products that list “fragrance,” “perfume,” “parfum,” and “cologne.” Choose to buy organic and natural products – they don’t rely on artificial fragrances. The way to avoid the toxic chemicals is by avoiding the above and choosing products with organic hydrosols, essential oils and extracts.
It probably goes without saying that I’d never use artificial fragrances in my products. Instead, I use natural ingredients that provide light, enticing fragrances on their own – no need for added chemicals.
What are your thoughts on artificial fragrances? Have you caught them trying to sneak into any products in your home? Let us know about them in the comments below!