What not to wear - Fragrance

Posted by Sinead Duffy on

What not to wear - Fragrance

Did you know that much of what we place onto our skin; moisturiser, cleanser, perfume IS absorbed into our bloodstream? Different products mean different levels of exposure, so, to help you be a little more strategic about which products you leave on your skin throughout the day we've come up with a list of 'What not to wear' starting with fragrance.




Fragrances are exactly what they sound like: synthetic compounds added to products to make them “smell good.” I put that in quote marks because fragrances can be truly overpowering and downright unpleasant, in my opinion. Let’s just say that they “add odors” to products.

The real problem with fragrance, other than, well, the smell, is that the recipes are considered trade secrets. This means companies don’t have to disclose the chemicals contained in a particular one. They can just add “fragrance” to the ingredients list and go on their merry way.

Unfortunately, most synthetic fragrances contain phthalates (found in plastics) and synthetic musk's, which have been shown to impair endogenous cellular defense mechanisms. In other words, synthetic musk's may hamper our cells’ ability to detoxify, thereby leading to excessive exposure to otherwise easily detoxified toxicants.

They’re persistent too, as musk residues show up in the ocean, in blood, in breast milk, and in babies. American breast milk, for example, almost invariably contains fragrances, up to five times as much as breast milk from Germany or Denmark. Many fragrance ingredients are also allergens, making fragrance one of the most common triggers for people with allergies (PDF).


Fragrance and phthalates
                                                    Fragrance and musks


Where to find them: Obviously, you’ve got your colognes and perfumes. If a cosmetic is scented, it also likely contains a fragrance. That goes for soaps, lotions, deodorants, and laundry detergent.

Other names: Perfume (classy, eh?) or aroma.

So, what about you guys? Have you been paying attention to what you put on your body? Have you noticed anything from being more selective with your cosmetics? Have you shunned them altogether?

Let me know!