Added to soaps, candles, beauty, skincare products to make them smell nice and fresh, you may recognise artificial fragrance on the back of your labels as ‘parfum’ or simply, ‘fragrance’. While artificial fragrances may smell all nice and dandy, the cocktail of man-made chemicals that can be found in artificial fragrances makes them somewhat problematic, especially since the fragrance industry isn’t required to declare what is in their scents.
From allergic reactions to potentially even hormone disruption, here is why artificial fragrances are an ingredient to avoid…
Fragrance allergies are quite common, some experts even theorise that they are on the rise due to the sheer amount of artificial fragrance that is present in products today. Reactions can range from mild sneezing to severe hives, headaches, and even vomiting, and whilst a person with an artificial fragrance allergy can eliminate it from their own environment, it is simply impossible to do so in public.
It is not just those with allergies who are reportedly having adverse effects from synthetic fragrances. A 2017 study conducted by the University of Melbourne previously found that one in three Australians have reported having breathing problems, migraines, skin irritation, and even asthma attacks thanks to fragranced products. Alarmingly, 7.7% of those who took part in the UniMelb study reported that they had lost workdays or lost a job within the past year due to the presence of products containing fragrance at their workplace
When a product containing artificial fragrance is applied topically, the chemicals present in that artificial fragrance can also potentially make their way into your body through the skin. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), over 75% of products that listed ‘fragrance’ as an ingredient were found to contain phthalates, a group of chemicals which may be linked to hormone disruption and low sperm count.
Aside from hormone disruption and infertility, researchers have also previously linked phthalates to asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, autism spectrum disorders, type II diabetes, behavioural issues, neurodevelopmental issues, and even low IQ. Many researchers are so certain of the health risks that phthalates could posses that it prompted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a warning.
So the next time you are in the shopping aisle picking up some of your favourite soap, beauty products or air-freshener, be sure to check the back for ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’. As just because it smells nice on the outside, doesn’t mean things are all that rosy on the inside.