Step away from the perfume! Why your scent is causing you harm


It’s one of the first things many people do before walking out the door each day, but have you ever given any thought as to whether your perfume or cologne is actually good for you?

Some find scents pleasant, but to others, they’re sickening. From headaches and rashes, to sneezing and nausea, many people suffer from allergic reactions to perfume or cologne, even when it’s on someone else.

In an online survey of more than 1,000 Australians, more than a third reported health problems when exposed to fragranced products, while nearly 8 per cent said they had lost workdays or a job because of fragranced product exposure in the workplace. Many people who suffer food intolerances are also develop ‘chemical intolerances’.  

When you look at the back of the box, it’s not hard to see why. The ingredients list is usually a whole bunch of chemicals you can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they are. Some brands prefer to list the ingredients simply as ‘fragrance’, which is code for thousands of different chemicals, thanks to laws protecting the secret recipes of product makers.

Generally, anything that gives products a strong odour is likely to be an allergen, whether it’s in perfumes and colognes, or cleaning products, cosmetics and shampoos... and we’re rubbing these all over our bodies and our houses.

One of the big toxins in perfumes are phthalates, which keep all the different elements suspended and equally distributed. “What’s the big deal?” you might ask. Well, some phthalates are known hormone disruptors, which can play havoc with your thyroid.

A recent study found that the more phthalates you have in your body, the less thyroid hormone you’re likely to make, which can lead to symptoms like fatigue and hair loss. Some phthalates have also been linked to poor lung function and even sperm issues.

So what should you do instead?

There are plenty of eco products on the market, or you can make your own with essential oils! Simply use a small amount of a base oil like cedarwood or almond, with your fragrant oil of choice, like rose, lavender or wild orange.

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