Many mainstream beauty brands include artificial fragrance in almost every product they sell, much to the distress of more health-conscious consumers. This ingredient’s unregulated nature makes it nearly impossible to avoid and difficult to understand. But do you really need to be concerned? Read on to see if you’ve done your research on artificial fragrance.
- Artificial fragrance often includes more than one ingredient. It can mean potentially hundreds of different ingredients that vary in levels of toxicity (and includes several ingredients that are currently on the EPA’s hazardous waste list). Companies often combine these chemicals with little thought for consumer safety, and because all of these ingredients can be classified as “fragrance”, they are not required to disclose them individually.
- Artificial fragrance could trigger allergies & asthma. Because many of the ingredients used in artificial fragrance blends have never been tested on their own or together, various combinations can have unknown and sudden effects for those with allergies and/or asthma. These unexpected combinations have also been known to cause immune system reactions, like runny noses, dizziness, sneezing, migraines, and rashes.
- Some ingredients in fragrance, such as DEP, have been linked to hormonal imbalances in both men and women. According to the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption, DEP has been shown to disrupt hormone function. Other independent studies have shown that fragrance could be a factor in early puberty in girls, and can be especially harmful for pregnant women, as it has been known to cause reproductive defects.
- Fragrance isn’t just alarming for women – men should be careful too. You might normally associate fragrance – artificial or otherwise – specifically with feminine products, but these artificial fragrance blends are just as popular in men’s products. Use cologne? You should watch out for DEP, mentioned above for its possible link to hormonal imbalance. Dying hair, or taking care of a beard? Watch out for phthalates and lead acetate, which EWG links to lower sperm counts and impaired movement.
Fragrance might sound innocent, but it usually includes a variety of other, more toxic ingredients that are anything but. Whether you’re concerned about hormonal imbalances, chronic illnesses like asthmas or your sensitive skin, artificial fragrance is an ingredient that needs to be carefully researched before you can be sure its application will not be harmful.
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