Most of us can remember the very first perfume we ever wore, the fragrance we wore to the school dance, or on our wedding day. Perfumes and fragrances can play a huge role in our confidence and creating memories. Unfortunately, many of our past and current favorite perfumes are filled with chemicals and toxic ingredients that can be harmful to our bodies.
With each spritz of traditional perfumes, you’re exposing yourself to ingredients that have been known to disrupt hormones, cause cancer, and interfere with natural bodily functions. This has been found to be true of most conventional perfumes and fragrances on the market.
The good news is that you can have peace of mind while wearing perfume, and eliminate the toxins and toxic ingredients. As you transition to a clean fragrance, you should consider these four questions to ensure that you’re choosing a perfume that you feel confident about using.
1. Is it Paraben-Free?
Parabens are synthetic compounds that are found in products all over the cosmetics and beauty industry. They are lab-grown and act as a preservative in many of our favorite products. We ingest and absorb parabens from lotions, soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, and of course perfume. Shockingly, research studies have found that parabens are present in over 90% of Americans’ bodies.
According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), “parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.” In fact, the European Union has already banned many of these chemicals, and consumer groups are pushing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to follow suit. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of learning the full extent of the negative side effects parabens has on our bodies.
2. Is it phthalate free?
Phthalates (pronounced thay-lates) are another class of synthetic chemicals you’ll find in all sorts of consumer goods. The more we learn about them, the more alarming they become. Excessive exposure to phthalates has been linked to breast cancer, obesity, lower IQs in children, insulin resistance, among several other health conditions.
Fragrance manufacturers use phthalates as a “fixative.” This means that the phthalates give perfumes an even, consistent scent over time, and helps the fragrance stick to your skin and clothing. And while some phthalates have already been banned by the FDA, many still end up in conventional perfume. While you take a walk past the department store perfume counters, chances are you’re inhaling a hefty dose of phthalates.
Make sure your that when you’re looking for new fragrances or perfumes, that they are 100% phthalate free.
3. Is it Hypoallergenic?
Have you ever felt dizzy after smelling something strong? If so, you’re not alone! Fragrance sensitivity is a serious, yet common issue that many people experience. Symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include wheezing, rashes and other skin issues, migraines, eye irritation, asthma attacks, and more.
Why are conventional perfumes so hazardous? Unfortunately, fragrance manufacturers include a range of secret chemicals and ingredients in their products. This is made possible by a legal loophole allows perfume makers to bottle up almost anything under a single, vague ingredient listing: Fragrance. In one study, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that “the average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label.”
There’s simply no way to know each and every ingredient in a bottle of your perfume. That is why it is important to look for clean, naturally-derived products that are labeled hypoallergenic. This way you can rest assured that the ingredients have been adequately tested to minimize harsh allergic reactions.
4. Is it Cruelty-Free?
Contrary to popular belief, a large number of traditional fragrances (and other cosmetic products are tested on dogs, rabbits, and other animals. Whether you are an animal lover, or not, this type of testing is heartbreaking - and it is not proven to lead to safer products. According to the Humane Society of the US, animal testing “is both unnecessary and inaccurate.” That’s why so many organizations are actively opposed to this practice, and why California has recently banned all animal-tested cosmetics. Choosing a cruelty-free perfume is another practical way to give yourself peace of mind with the products that you put on your skin.