As a part of our community health and awareness campaign, we want to dive into something all of us own: fragrance. Take a look at your perfume, cologne, scented lotion or scented body wash in your bathroom or on your vanity. One of the ingredients listed on the ingredients list is likely “fragrance”. The reality is that fragrance is not one single ingredient, but is instead a mix of dozens of ingredients used to create our favorite aromas. The scary part is that you and I have no idea what ingredients have been mixed in the lab to create scents, and what’s worse is that we don’t care. Instead we take an extra sniff because the concoction is designed to smell oh-so-good.
What is Fragrance & Why Is It So Openly Allowed?
The Environmental Working Group or EWG put out a statement that most fragrances contain at least 14 chemicals unlisted on the labels of our favorite products. These chemicals are often known toxins, allergens and hormone disruptors; however, thousands of companies are able to get away with using these ingredients by listing them with one simple umbrella term: fragrance. The EWG goes on to state that 80% of the chemicals used to create “fragrance” go untested as safe for humans. To put things simply, listing fragrance as an ingredient (thanks to the FDA) gives companies a free pass on pushing along toxic chemicals to consumers. So why does the FDA allow this? Well, according to the Fair Package and Labeling Act of 1966, companies are allowed to keep their fragrance ingredients at a minimum so others cannot replicate their formulas as easily. Unfortunately, as consumers we get the short end of the stick with cheap, often toxic ingredients in our daily use skincare and makeup. A smart first step is to try to use products with minimal ingredients, but more importantly to use products without fragrance. A great brand that only puts ingredients necessary for effective skincare is Deciem’s The Ordinary.
Does Fragrance Really Harm Us?
You typically spritz fragrance into the air, which means it not only can affect your skin and eyes negatively, but it can also affect the people around you. Most perfume or cologne wearers typically inhale much of the product as well. If the chemicals found in fragrance are toxic for your skin, trust us, they are toxic for your lungs as well. Fragrance is meant to last for a long time (thanks to toxic phthalates added into fragrances), which means it lingers in the air and on surfaces long after you spritz it onto yourself. Fragrance can also cause allergic reactions or hives, trigger those who are susceptible to migraines, make people’s asthma flare up, cause immense damage to your sinuses and much more. The biggest issue is that the toxins found in fragrance build up in our bodies over time, making them even more lethal.
As mentioned above, phthalates (pronounced ˈTHaˌlāt/…that didn’t really help, did it? LOL) are known to be harmful worldwide. In fact, the EU, Japan, China, Canada and so many other countries have banned the use of phthalates in products. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the FDA to protect us when it comes to toxic chemical use in products so it’s up to us to do the research and become informed consumers. If you’re looking for a non-toxic alternative to most of the fragrances on the market, be sure to check out DedCool. The brand prides itself on creating non-toxic fragrances that are vegan and not tested on animals. We hope this informational post has opened your eyes to becoming smarter with the products you choose to keep in your home.