Have You Got Scents?

Have You Got Scents?

Perfumes and fragrances have been around for centuries. There is evidence that the use of perfumes dates back to 3300BC. These fragrances were made from distilled flowers, oils and herbs. Modern production of perfumes began in the late 19th century where extracts from plants such as vanilla (known as vanillin) were produced. These days the demand for vanillin is so high that over 10, 000 tons of vanillin is sourced via chemical synthesis – generally a bi-product of wood pulp using sulphites to extract the compound.

Although its lovely to smell pretty do you actually know what’s in your celebrity created perfume? And what about your friends? Got that BFF who bathes in perfume every day? These scents could be causing toxicity in you! According to a 1991 study by the US Food and Drug Administration, 95% of the 4000 chemicals used in fragrances are derived from petroleum and other toxic chemicals.

Here are some ingredients to avoid:

1. Alcohol – Most commercially produced perfumes contain solvents such as an alcohol solution made from a mixture of ethanol and water. These solvents can cause headaches and nausea.

2. Acetone – as well as acetophenone and ethyl acetates have been shown to cause allergic reactions of the skin.

3. Synthetic musks – also known as musk xylene, these chemicals are known endocrine disruptors and cause organ system and reproductive toxicity.

4. Formaldehyde – is a commonly used chemical compound which is a gaseous by-product of combustion. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can trigger asthma attacks, nausea, and headaches.

Did you also know that animal products are used in perfume making? Some scents are sourced from the odorous sacs of animals such as the North American beaver and the African civet (related to the mongoose). Extensive hunting of the male musk deer for their scented musk pods in recent history has resulted in the detriment of the species.

Want to go natural? Plants have long been used as a source of essential oils and aromatic compounds for natural perfumes. The sources of these compounds can be derived from leaves, seeds, roots or zest of the plant. Instead of using solvents, natural perfumes will use coconut oil or jojoba as its base. Don’t buy any fragrances or perfumes if there is no ingredients list and beware that even if there is a list, companies don’t have to disclose all the ingredients. Mojo Health stocks a great range of aromatherapy oils from Springfields and Lively Living, which can create beautiful natural smelling fragrances by adding a couple of drops to a carrier oil such as jojoba. You can also find commercially produced natural perfumes from Flora Remedia and Earths Purities.