The Skin We’re In: Part 2 – Fragrances

The Skin We’re In –Part 2

Fragrances – Potential Health Hazard?

By: Melanie Melugin, Going Green with Noah

Last week, in The Skin We’re In – Part I, we discussed the infusion of parabens into many of our standard health and beauty products and the potentially hazardous effects that they have on our overall health.

I was greatly pleased with the overwhelming positive response that I received and the immediate changes that many of you were taking after becoming aware of the hidden dangers.

In continuing with the researching of products that each of us carry within our own homes, this week we will venture into the world of fragrances.

As you walk through a mall and are bombarded with sprays of perfumes and colognes ranging from floral to musk, do you ever wonder what creates those aromas?  Then…wait! What just landed on my skin?  What did I just breathe?

On May 14th, the Environmental Working Group released a report entitled, “Not So Sexy:  Hidden Chemicals in Perfume and Cologne.” In this report, it is stated “the average fragrance product tested contained14 secret chemicals that are NOT listed on the label.  Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products” (CSCEWG).

Stop. Read that again.

Do you remember that the FDA does not regulate cosmetic products? Scary, huh?

Fragrance is now considered among the top five allergens in North America and European countries (CSCEWG, 7). Fragrances, as hormone disruptors, prevent naturally occurring hormones to act properly, such as estrogen and testosterone and depending on the dose and timing of the exposure, it has been linked to a wide range of health problems including an increased risk of cancer (CSCEWG, 10).

The fragrance industry has over 3,100 stock chemical ingredients that are used without the consent or knowledge of the consumer!  According to the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, companies are required to list cosmetic ingredients on product labels, but explicitly exempts them from listing them on fragrances.

The biggest kicker?  This extends past perfumes.

While looking for parabens in your health and beauty products, the next step is to look for the word “fragrance.”  This word is the umbrella that can cover all 3,100 chemicals, including petrochemicals, that we taint our skin, our body, our lungs with on a daily basis.

Do the lotions you put on your child say this?  The diaper rash cream? Their shampoo?   And what about you and your products?

Fragrances are found in a barrage of products found even under my sink, including perfume, lotion, aftershave, sunscreen – all of which expose us to an unknown amount of untested and undisclosed chemicals.  The most frightening thought, though, is what long-term effects these toxins are having on our system and those of our children.

I would urge each of you to take a moment to read this amazing and educational report about the dangers of fragrances to learn more about the true statistics associated with the laboratory tests, which fragrances are worse than others and other interesting, but powerful facts concerning this topic.

In hindsight, we must each ponder the frightening reality of the quantity of fragrance that we have each used on our bodies, and those of our children, over the years.  Was it worth it?  Is it worth making the change?

SOURCES: “Not So Sexy:The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance,” The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, May 12, 2010.

Article written by Melanie Melugin –


  1. 2

    That was a great post Melaine! My husband use to wear cologne everyday! I wonder if that might have lead to some of the fertility problems we had. He had to stop wearing it when he meet me because I am allergic to it. Glad he did!!

  2. 3

    I’m getting a consultation next week to determine which essential oils work well for me, for my fragrances. Very excited!

  3. 4

    Ooo…How fun! Could you share where you are getting that done?


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