A perusal of the ingredients list is the deciding factor for many health-conscious shoppers who are searching for suitable beauty and personal care products. But what if there were a way for manufacturers to cloak toxic chemicals in their products without naming them on the ingredients list? That is exactly the case when it comes to synthetic fragrances.
The Big Loophole
A long time ago, most fragrances were created using essential oils, flowers, herbs, and other botanical ingredients. The crafters of these perfumes took great pride in their handiwork and kept each recipe under wraps. In those days, to list the ingredients of each fragrance would have meant divulging precious trade secrets, and so the law never required it. Fast forward to today, and 95% of commercial fragrances are produced using synthetic chemicals, but manufacturers are still not required to list them as anything other than “fragrance”.
This is alarming because most of the fragrances used in today’s products incorporate harmful petrochemicals, parabens, and pthalates. You may be slathering yourself with toxins and not even know it! You can read more about the chemicals listed above in our skincare ingredients series, but just a few of the side effects they can cause include:
- Skin rashes and allergic reactions
- Disrupted hormone activity
- Damage to liver and kidneys
- Decreased sperm count
- Carcinogenic activity
Does this mean you need to give up all fragrances in your personal care and cosmetics? Not necessarily. While choosing “fragrance free” products is certainly a safe alternative, fragrances that are formulated using botanicals, flowers, fruits, herbs, and essential oils are not only safe; they are good for your skin! Try products that list only all-natural fragrances, or lines that specifically state that they are free of synthetic fragrances.