Fragrance has a strong influence on American culture. In the USA, hygiene and personal care products are a billion dollar industry, often fragrance is the main factor that differentiates brands. Natural fragrance has been around since the beginning of time, but synthetic fragrance first became mass produced with the introduction of Chanel No. 5 perfume in 1921. In recent years, these synthetics have been linked to disrupting hormones which can affect your body’s ability to lose weight. Many of these chemicals are also affecting our body’s natural chemistry which can impact your mood, attention span and ability to focus. Many of these chemicals have even been found in the cord blood of babies, passed on by the mother’s exposure, making many of these substances the “second hand smoke” of the 21st century.
How many of your products have synthetic fragrance? It should be easy to count, just look for the ingredient “fragrance” on your personal care products, shampoos, lotions, cosmetic, cleaning products, laundry soaps and any air fresheners. You’ll probably be surprised where you’ll find fragrance – even on razor blades.
A Billion Dollar Industry Our country currently produces tens of thousands of chemicals each year, many targeted for use in body care products. Many people don’t realize they are becoming sensitive to synthetic fragrance because we are surrounded by it. What you use may also adversely affect those around you, like children who are especially vulnerable just due to their size. Individually a product may not cause problems, but when you layer product upon product on your body and in your home, you are increasing your risk of becoming sensitive to more chemicals. Synthetic ingredients are often stored in fatty tissue and major organs, slowing down your body’s natural methods to detoxify, accelerating the signs of aging or making it tough for you to shed those unwanted pounds.
We Vote With Our Dollar When we as consumers continue to purchase personal care products whether we need them or not, we are supporting the synthetic fragrance industry and continue to pollute our environment. The personal care and synthetic fragrance industries are booming markets. In our family we continue to use therapeutic essential oils because they are better for our health, better for the earth and it minimizes the products we purchase for personal care because the oils have multiple uses. My favorite “side effect” of using essential oils for health is they smell great and make the most natural fragrance you can wear.
Are your body care products making you sick? Most personal care products, especially perfumes and anything with the ingredient “fragrance” in it is just a cocktail of unknown chemicals. If you are unsure whether you may be sensitive or responding negatively to any chemicals in your personal care products, the easiest way to find out is to eliminate some things for a week or two. The longer you wait to try something again, the more likely you’ll be able to notice what your body’s response is. This process is similar to an elimination diet that some undergo to see if they have sensitivities to foods. I’m actually surprised at the number of people who just start taking a prescription for conditions like anxiety and depression without first eliminating chemicals in their environment that might be affecting their body’s chemistry. I was on anti-depressants in my early 20’s and didn’t realize that the perfumes I was wearing may have had a negative impact on my body’s system. Now I’ve worked on just minimizing my personal care routine and chemical exposure and incorporating essential oils to support healthy skin, gentle detox everyday, and as natural perfume. Therapeutic grade essential oils are the purest form of fragrance and a wonderful way to scent your body. These precious oils can support your health and lift your spirits rather than confusing your chemistry with chemical laden body care products.
The biggest benefit of using essential oils as perfumes is you are replacing synthetic chemicals found in over the counter fragrances that are most likely disrupting your body’s natural chemistry. Therapeutic grade essential oils actually have DNA similar to human blood so our bodies can assimilate what it needs and eliminates what is not. Essential oils are smart and can circulate through your body to go where they are needed. When you apply any essential oils to your skin, even just for perfume, your body will benefit. Some of the results may be noticeable, such as clearer thinking or an overall feeling of wellness, while some may go unnoticed such as reducing inflammation somewhere in your body you might not be aware of. Essential oils that are pure and have no additives or carrier oils will not expire if kept in a cool, dry location. Commercial perfumes and products with “fragrance” will degrade over time as the chemicals break down and deteriorate. Essential oils are versatile and can be used for non-emergency situations to bring comfort to the body. Many essential oils are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral so when you wear some as fragrance or make your own air freshener, you’ll get a boost to your immune system.
Essential oils are unique, just like you. Essential oils have varying characteristics, intensities and qualities making some better suited as perfume. Essential oils, in fact, have been around for thousands of years, some being recorded in historical documents like the Bible and the Egyptian Papyrus. Many cultures equated perfumes and scents with the “arts” because it required a definite amount of creativity, experience and intuition to create oil blends that would be pleasing to the senses. In modern times, Therapuetic Grade oils are a suitable fit into the “healing arts”, merging Eastern philosophies of healing with Western medicine and these precious substances are making their way into modern medical facilities like in the UCLA Health System.
Watch for my article next week highlighting some essential oils and their characteristics, making it easy to choose oils to match your mood and personality.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you need medical care, consult with your doctor.