At Good For You Girls we use 100% natural scents in our products that are formulated to keep girls, tweens and teens away from hormone altering chemicals. Most consumers are aware of the dangers of synthetic chemicals on your skin but might not be aware of the dangers synthetic chemicals have in candles. Scented candles have long been associated with relaxation and a sense of well-being. However, it's important to be aware that many scented candles on the market today contain synthetic fragrances that emit toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), even when they're not burning and are simply sitting on your shelf.
Understanding the difference between synthetic fragrances and essential oil fragrances is crucial for maintaining good health and well-being.
What Are Synthetic Fragrances Made From?
Synthetic fragrances are composed of chemical compounds derived from petroleum or crude oil. These chemical concoctions contain known toxins, carcinogens (substances that can cause cancer), and hormone disruptors. Some of the most commonly used ingredients in synthetic fragrances include:
- Phthalates: These are chemical solvents and fixatives known to be carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and obesogens, which can contribute to weight gain by interfering with the endocrine system.
- Parabens: Chemical preservatives that are potent endocrine disruptors, parabens have been linked to health issues such as asthma, breast cancer, obesity, male fertility problems, and birth defects.
- Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen, formaldehyde also causes irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
- Methylene Chloride: This solvent can lead to skin irritation, poses risks to pregnant women by crossing the placental barrier, and is a known carcinogen associated with pancreatic, lung, and liver cancers.
- Benzaldehyde: A common scent molecule that often triggers respiratory illnesses.
- Toluene: A chemical solvent that can harm the brain and nervous system.
The Dangers of Synthetic Fragrance in Scented Candles
Inhaling synthetic fragrance has an immediate impact on the body. Fragrance can enter the body through the nose and lungs, bypassing the skin's protective barrier, and quickly reaching the brain, nervous system, and bloodstream.
While long-term exposure to synthetic fragrance can lead to severe health problems, immediate reactions often include migraines, headaches, nausea, asthma, anxiety, dizziness, allergy symptoms, and respiratory tract irritation.
Making the Switch to Natural Home Fragrance
Many popular candle brands, including those that market themselves as vegan, sustainable, and eco-friendly, often use synthetic fragrance due to its cost-effectiveness, which reflects the use of low-quality ingredients.
To avoid the harmful effects of synthetic fragrance, consider switching to scented candles that use essential oils as their fragrance source. Look for candles made from non-toxic soy wax and containing 100% essential oils, not a blend of essential oils and synthetic fragrances.
Essential oils are obtained through natural distillation processes or cold pressing of flowers and plants. These pure plant oils, rich in aromatic qualities and health benefits, are combined with natural carrier oils like jojoba or sweet almond oil and blended into wax, resulting in naturally fragranced candles free of toxins.
How to Identify the Difference Between Synthetic Fragrance and Essential Oil
If you're uncertain whether a scented candle contains synthetic fragrance or natural essential oils, examine the color of the wax. Synthetic fragrance typically produces clear wax, resulting in all candles in a collection having a uniform pure white appearance, even when they have different scents. (An exception may be candles with vibrant colors, which indicate the use of synthetic dyes.)
In contrast, essential oils can range in color from nearly colorless to various shades of yellow, orange, and brown. A collection of scented candles with subtly different wax colors indicates that they contain pure essential oils.