Your Perfume is Killing Me! August 03 2014, 0 Comments

We all have our favorite fragrances, but as great as it is to smell pretty, it is important to choose perfumed skin care products wisely. Most fragrances in chemical-ridden products are irritants that can cause damage to your skin, reproductive system, internal organs and even your brain This can happen even when skin does not at all seem irritated. 


In 2010, The Environmental Working Group and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics performed some independent laboratory fragrance testing and the results were disappointing to anyone with nostrils and a brain.

The average product tested contained 14 chemicals that were not even listed on the packaging. Many of the chemicals were known allergens, hormone disruptors and other toxins and almost none of the chemicals have been examined by the FDA for daily use in personal care products.

Some of the know side effects for these not-so-lovely fragrances included loss of mental acuity, irritability, muscle spasms and pain, joint aches, fatige, dizziness, blood pressure spikes and even shall-we-call-it “gastrointestinal distress.” This is the part where you scream yikes and head for the nearest toxic waste dump with perfume bottles in tow.

That wasn’t even the full length of symptoms caused by not so good perfume, but here is a list of key ingredients to avoid although most of them will never even be listed on the package because they are considered trade secrets:



A probable human carcinogen. Animal studies showed that it crosses the placenta to the developing fetus



The chemical industry’s own Toxic Data Safety Sheets list headaches, tremors, convulsions, and even death as a possible effect of exposure.


Styrene oxide

Has been shown to cause depression in animal studies.


Toluene (or methyl benzene)

A a well established neurotoxin that can cause loss of muscle control, brain damage, headaches, memory loss, and problems with speech, hearing, and vision.


Musk tetralin (AETT)

Causes brain cell and spinal cord degeneration.


Diethyl phthalate (DEP)

Has been linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs in baby boys and sperm damage in adult men. Prenatal exposure to DEP has also been associated with increased risk of ADD.


Galaxolide and Tonalide (synthetic musks)

Has been associated with toxicity to the endocrine system (regulates hormones). More troubling, both have been found in the cord blood of newborns as well as breast milk, meaning they easily pass from mother to child.


What to do?

Be aware. Don't spend each morning dousing yourself in an untold number of chemicals. We use a number of products to get ready for the day without checking the label, but every action has a consequence and some of those consequences outweigh the benefits of smelling and looking good. If you just can't live without your favorite neurotoxin-laced perfume, then at least save it for a special occasion. Maybe.. like... a funeral. Dead people can't smell smells, so they will at least be safe from your secondhand toluene fumes.

Pay attention to your ingredients and not just the scent. Purchase natural skin care and beauty products that use non-irritant essential oils in small quantities. Even though some essential oils can cause irritation and allergic reactions those results are typically immediate and evident giving you all the information you need to select something different based on your own allergies and preferences.