Perfume is the ultimate accessory that can make a woman feel wonderful. But before you douse yourself in fragrance, take a second to do your research. Some manufacturers are filling their bottles with chemicals that can cause serious harm.
The perfume industry is notorious for being under-regulated. While the European Union has been busy banning ingredients in the past few years, they are actually more likely to ban natural sources of fragrance. Ambergris, for example, is a traditional perfume ingredient, now illegal, derived from whales. Even more innocuous ingredients, like tree moss, can be banned for causing allergies.
These restrictions seem helpful, but in reality, they send perfumers scrambling to find olfactory clones of their original, natural ingredients. Too often, this means that manufacturers need to use synthetic chemical ingredients to keep classic scents on the shelves. Since perfume is a product that is both inhaled and applied directly onto the skin, these new ingredients can have much more serious side effects than a runny nose.
Recent studies have shown that perfumes can contain dozens of chemicals not listed on their labels. After all, if manufacturers listed every ingredient, it would be easier for competitors to copy their scents. But some of these chemicals not only exacerbate allergies but also damage sperm and can disrupt hormones, a process that has been linked to some cancers. Add to that the many perfume ingredients that have not yet been assessed for safety and there is much to worry about. Avoiding perfumes that list chemicals like linalool and limonene can reduce some risks but will not guarantee a chemical-free product.
Fortunately, resurgence in small atelier-style perfumers offers hope. Independent perfume designers work in smaller batches, allowing them to avoid nasty chemicals and focus on scents that are derived from natural sources. These natural perfumeries can develop their own signature scents based around eco-friendly and non-harmful ingredients, unlike older established designers that are locked into specific scents.
To find your own source of natural and safe perfume, look for smaller companies that use essential oils as the main source of scent. Oil-based perfumes also offer all the scent of a traditional perfume but without harmful carrying agents and the drying effects of alcohol. Remember, you don’-t have to sacrifice your health to feel good about yourself, and you don’-t have to give up your favorite scents to be safe.