Chemical Free Living - Perfume - August 2020
From candles and beauty products to cleaning products, we live in an artificially scented world. Higher chemical exposures, especially at a young age, could be linked to certain health problems. Synthetic fragrances are known to have many side effects on health such as common allergies like asthma, hives, dermatitis and wheezing, to hormone disruption, metabolic disease and thyroid problems, birth defects and the potential for triggering cancer cells to develop.
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and over 60% of what you put on it is absorbed into your bloodstream, other organs and cells (case-in- point, pain patches, hormone therapy and nicotine patches). Don’t be fooled into thinking that what you spray on your skin won’t have an impact on your health.
But what is synthetic perfume made from?
The dangers of synthetic perfumes aren’t always evident, but we have the science to prove that avoiding synthetic fragrances should be a major priority. Some chemicals in fragrances are known to increase the chances of developing cancer and reproductive issues. Most of the toxicological research is done one chemical at a time, but the issue is that we are never exposed to just one chemical at a time.
Synthetic aromas are known to have many side effects on health such as common allergies like asthma, hives, dermatitis and wheezing, to hormone disruption, metabolic disease and thyroid problems, birth defects and the potential for triggering cancer cells to develop.
Endocrine disrupters, which mimic human hormones, are of particular concern to many researchers and advocates, as they can have effects in the tiniest doses. Unfortunately no state, federal or global authority knows which fragrance chemicals appear in which products. About 4,000 chemicals are currently used to scent products, but you won’t find any of them listed on a label. Fragrance formulations are considered a “trade secret” and therefore protected from disclosure – even to regulators or manufacturers. Instead, one word, fragrance, appears on ingredients lists for countless cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products. A single scent may contain anywhere from 50 to 300 distinct chemicals.
When a company puts “fragrance” on the label, don’t be tricked. This is a catch-all term that can actually can stand for thousands of different ingredients. And when you use a product containing “fragrance” or “parfum,” all of those mysterious ingredients are absorbed right into your bloodstream. These ingredients are predominantly made from chemicals and are just outright toxic for your health in so many ways. Synthetic fragrances, are due to there being up to 200 hidden poisons in a bottle of perfume!
So what are some of the chemicals used?
Musks: The original musk scents were derived from musk deer, civet or sperm whales (ambergris). Nowadays, musks are entirely synthetic and are made using aromachemicals. These are rarely listed on the perfume labels, but are among the most toxic of the synthetic fragrance extracts. Side effects can include endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, reproductive toxicity and generally allergic reactions. Synthetic musks accumulate in human fat tissue and breast milk so can readily be passed on to breastfeeding babies.
Phthalates: Phthalates perform a few functions in synthetic perfumes. They can be included as part of a preservative system, and can be used to extend the fragrance so it lasts longer on the skin. Phthalates have been implicated in a number of wide-ranging health issues including certain cancers, asthma, breast cancer, obesity, male fertility issues and birth defects.
Parabens: In order to maintain a very long shelf life, synthetic preservatives are often included in commercial perfumes. The most common of these are parabens which effectively help stop bacteria and other contaminants from growing in your bottle of scent. It sounds like a good thing, but the impact of parabens on the human body is now well-documented. Parabens interfere with hormone function, especially oestrogen, and may promote breast cancer development, and have an impact on sperm development in males. In addition, parabens are a common skin sensitiser and may cause other allergic reactions.
Other ingredients: Other ingredients often include artificial colours, UV absorbers, preservatives, stabilisers such as BHT, ketones and many others. Often, these are new ingredients that have not been proven safe for use on the skin or for human health. While reading the label on your perfume bottle is always a good idea and will give you a good indicator of how your perfume might affect your health, it is important to know that most commercial fragrances will only list around 50% of the total ingredients on their labels due to loopholes in the labelling laws. So if you read a label and it sounds like a list of chemicals you’d rather not apply, either contact the company to find out exactly what’s in that bottle, or look for a new fragrance that wont have a negative consequences for your health.
Things to look out for and avoid:
Avoid products with fragrance or parfum on the label, these may include cleaning products, make up, children's toys, skin care products, air fresheners, rubbish bin bags and many others.
Learn how to read ingredient labels. As with food labelling, if the ingredient panel includes lots of unfamiliar words, codes and numbers, it’s highly likely the perfume is full of chemical ingredients. Perfumes that contain only natural ingredients will use words like ‘ethanol’ or ‘alcohol’ usually with a reference to the plant the alcohol comes from (for example, from corn or sugar cane), and refer to essential oils, natural extracts, plant fragrance, or parfum (labelling laws in some countries require the word ‘parfum’ even if the fragrance is 100% natural).
Don’t fall for marketing hype. Just because a perfume poster had a beautiful photo of a rose on it, doesn’t mean it actually contains natural rose extract. Additionally, where you read fragrance notes that look like natural ingredients, such as jasmine, amber, peach or melon, that doesn’t actually refer to a natural ingredient. ‘Notes’ simply mean ‘what you can smell’ in the perfume. It is highly likely that these are synthetic fragrances made from toxic ingredients produced in a laboratory, even if they smell like the real deal.
If you are looking for a natural perfume that doesn’t include any animal ingredients at all, look for one that is vegan or labelled as containing only plant-based ingredients.
By knowing how to choose a truly natural perfume, you will be treating your senses to a fragrance that is more complex, and nuanced that anything created in a lab.
So what can you use instead of synthetic fragrances?
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. Essential oils are the most powerful healing compounds of a plant. By concentrating the oils of these plants, you are literally separating the most powerful healing compounds of a plant into a single oil.
Some of the potential benefits when using essential oils are:
BERGAMOT - Is a great anti-depressant, which awakens the soul to hope and provides courage to share your inner self. Helps to reduce feelings of stress and is also used to soothe and rejuvenate the skin.
CARDAMOM - Can be a great reviver if you’re feeling tired and weak, making you feel newly invigorated and refreshed. May help clear confusion. Spiritually it is beneficial to regain objectivity and mental self-control. It assists you when you’re feeling frustrated or angry with other people.
CINNAMON - A great pick-me-up if you’re feeling exhausted, weak or depressed, supports the reproductive system and helps heal sexual issues. Spiritually cinnamon dispels fear of rejection and nurtures healthy sexuality.
CLARY SAGE - Helps ease anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression. Spiritually it assists you in changing perceptions, helping you to see your limiting beliefs. Clary Sage assists in opening creative channels and eliminating creative blocks. It increases your ability to visualise and imagine new possibilities to challenges.
CLOVE - When used in a steam inhaler, it’s known to help ease respiratory infections. Spiritually it helps you to stand up for yourself, be proactive and feel capable of making confident decisions. Clove assists you in letting go of self-sabotage patterns and codependency. It gives you the courage to say “no” and set your boundaries.
FENNEL - Great for helping to ease tiredness, exhaustion and dizziness. Spiritually it may reignite your passion for life, those who may feel defeated by life’s responsibilities. It supports situations where there has been a loss of connection to the body’s natural signals due to emotional eating, severe dieting, eating disorders or other abuse to the body.
FRANKINCENSE - As the king of oils, Frankincense is calming and comforting if you’re feeling anxious, stressed or nervous, is great for meditation, helping to clear and focus your mind.
GERANIUM - Geranium oil helps calm nerves and lessen feelings of stress, encouraging balance, calm and uplifted spirits. Spiritually it facilitates trust, especially when an individual has lost trust in others. It encourages emotional honesty by facilitating the emergence of grief or pain that has been suppressed.
GRAPEFRUIT - Grapefruit can support a healthy metabolism when used internally, improves the appearance of blemishes when used in skin care for its ability to promote the appearance of clear, healthy looking skin. Spiritually it teaches true respect of one’s body. It shows you to listen to your true physical needs and impulses.
PERU BALSAM - A stress reliever, the warm vanilla scent of Peruvian balsam essential oil is ideal for calming the mind and alleviating stress if you are feeling overwhelmed.
PETITGRAIN - Promotes relaxing feelings, supports restful sleep, a healthy immune system and strong cardiovascular system.
HOLY BASIL - Reputed to stimulate, clarify, calm, fortify, energise and uplift the mind. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibiotic, antiviral, anti-depressant and diuretic.
JUNIPER BERRY - Prized for its soothing, strengthening effect on the nerves – great in your diffuser for meditation and also for freshening your home. Spiritually may assist those who fear the dark or unknown aspects of themselves. It helps you to understand the things you fear, instead of hiding from them.
LAVENDER - Lavender Oil is well valued for its relaxing, calming, soothing and sedative properties, and its ability to help relieve stress, anxiety, irritability and nervous tension. Spiritually it aids verbal expression. It calms insecurities that are felt when you are vulnerable. Addressing a deep fear of being seen and heard.
LEMON - Nourishes the mind and aids in concentration and focus. Lemon restores energy, mental flexibility and the drive to complete a project. Lemon may help to release feelings of depression and restore joy and happiness.
PATCHOULI - Traditionally known for its soothing effects on your nervous system, helping to relieve tension and anxiety and instill balance and grounding. Spiritually supports you in becoming fully present in your body. The oil is grounding for those who seek to escape the body through spiritual pursuits or other forms of distraction. It compliments yoga, tai chi or other practices that aim to connect the spirit with the body.
ROSEMARY - Rosemary Essential Oil can help support neurological tissue healing, nerve growth and mental alertness. Spiritually it assists in the development of true knowledge and intellect. It teaches one to look deeper than they normally would and ask more soul-searching questions. Rosemary aids in times of change or transition and invites you to trust in a higher more intelligent power than yourself.
SANDALWOOD - it’s known as an effective relaxant if you’re feeling nervous or anxious. It also has aphrodisiac properties that can assist with sexual issues such as impotence and frigidity. Spiritually it assists with all kids of prayer, meditation or spiritual practice. It is powerful in calming the mind and stilling the heart. It invites you to place all material attachments in a space of sacrifice so you may truly progress spiritually. The oil challenges you to re-order your priorities to be in alignment with your true self.
SPEARMINT - Helps refresh and stimulate the mind, it may also be useful for easing the symptoms of colds, flu, fever, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, sea and travel sickness. Spiritually it inspires clarity of thought and confident verbal expression. Spearmint helps those who struggle with communicating clearly for a wide range of reasons from feeling scattered and inarticulate to stumbling over words.
WILD ORANGE - Assists with strengthening your immune system and boosting your general well-being, it helps to relax and calm you if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, nervous or angry, and has been known to help children to fall asleep at night. Spiritually it inspires abundance, fosters creativity, supports a positive mood, restores physical energy and aids in transitions. The oil reconnects you to your inner child and brings spontaneity, fun, joy and play into your life. It teaches the true meaning of abundance.
ROSEWOOD - Tension floats away on rosewood essential oil’s relaxing aroma. Rosewood can soften the heart and invite spiritual healing that permeates your whole experience of life. Emotionally and energetically, Rosewood essential oil helps prepare for spiritual healing and can help ease situational depression
EUCALYPTUS - Is a purifying, cleansing, clarifying, and immune-boosting oil and helps improve mental clarity and mood. Can assist with lessening allergy symptoms and headaches, as well as strengthening the immune system against colds, flu, measles and chicken pox.
MYRTLE - Mentally uplifting and a natural antidepressant, and its sedative properties help to relax and calm the mind in times of stress. It can also help concentration and focus the mind. Spiritually has clarifying, cleansing, refreshing and uplifting properties and is an oil that is emotionally cleansing, curbing self-defeating feelings and addictions
BLACK PEPPER - This oil relieves negative effects and symptoms of anxiety. Black spruce promotes a sense of centering, calm and focus. It instills a sense of rootlessness and grounding
MANDARIN - May calm emotional distress and is immensely supportive when one is working through situational anxiety or depression. It promotes a cheerful, energized mood while soothing feelings of sadness or over-sensitivity.
Please Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Essential oils are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Some oils may have possible skin sensitivity. Essential oils should be kept out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.
We make sure that all products sold at ECO Marketplace have no synthetic fragrances added, this is a requirement for our vendors. So you can shop for your family from ECO Marketplace with confidence!
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