For as long as I can remember, my grandma has generously shared with my brother, my sister, and I the importance of perfume and cologne. I do believe my sister and I are experts in the correct application methods as well as where to find the perfect (And what I mean by “perfect” is her personal favorite) perfume at discount prices. I know what you’re thinking…How many ways are there to apply perfume? You just spray and go right? I would never tell my grandma this, but Yes this has always been my preferred method despite her advice.
However, according to my grandma there is an important balance to create with your perfume by applying on the neck, wrists, and behind the ear. The amounts in each location also differ so that adds a completely new tier of information that I can guarantee is of great length. My grandma graciously shared and continues to re-share this information about perfume with me because that’s just my grandma and she has a special place for perfume in her heart. I was probably still in diapers when she first introduced me to the fancy and sweet-smelling spray, but her determination to share her love for the product also made me love it as well. I have been using perfume since I was in middle school, maybe even elementary school. I was young so it started off with the cheap perfume from somewhere like Target. As a pre-teen/teenager I upgraded to fragrances from stores like Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, and Abercrombie & Fitch. It didn’t take long before I was using the high-end fragrances from department stores like Nordstrom.
It was always a large part of my daily beauty regimen because I was raised to use and appreciate the product. Unfortunately, my grandma never realized just how dangerous perfume can be in relation to hormonal balance. To be honest, I didn’t even realize the dangers until very recently and I only realized them because it was absolutely necessary for my current circumstances.
I have a severe hormone deficiency and hormone imbalance, they coincide with one another and wreak lots of havoc on my body’s ability to function. And while I do everything I can on a daily basis to combat both, it is kind of hard to be successful in this battle when I am not fully aware of the frequency in which I inflict synthetic hormones upon my own body.
My diet is incredibly strict in order to prevent exposure from foods. Believe it or not, it is actually uncommon to find a processed food product that doesn’t contain some type of synthetic hormone ingredient (usually these ingredients are some form of phytoestrogen or xenoestrogen) or endocrine disruptor. You can read more about Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens here.
Like my diet, my beauty routine is equally strict and much more minimalistic than I would prefer in order to avoid hormones. So what else can I do to avoid extra synthetic hormone exposure??
Although a multitude of answers exist, my particular answer for the sake of this article is to avoid perfume. Applying it and inhaling it. I know, this is a very unfortunate suggestion for a lot of women out there. It was a huge downer for me when I realized my continued use of perfume would only worsen my hormone levels as well as inhibit my body’s ability to heal. Perfume contains mostly synthetic chemicals for starters and on top of this news, a large number of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors. “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption…endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products—including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides” (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)). Ingredients known as endocrine disruptors are often found in perfume and cologne products.
So, for people of all ages who want to avoid synthetic hormones and endocrine disruptors, I highly recommend removing perfume from your beauty routine completely. The use of perfume will only hinder your body’s ability to heal.
Perfumes are applied topically therefore your skin is absorbing the product through your pores, one of the most direct pathways to your bloodstream. Your thyroid is also located in your neck, directly across the windpipe, aka the location that takes the brunt of the perfume application.
So basically, whenever you apply perfume to your neck/throat area, your thyroid is covered in a nice layer of chemicals. This becomes even more problematic when you learn the true purpose of the thyroid…
“The thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4. Thyroid hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. During infancy and childhood, adequate thyroid hormone is crucial for brain development” (WebMD).
The thyroid is responsible for regulating ALL of your hormones! And, if you couldn’t tell already, it is key in proper bodily development. Here’s our main issue: When it comes to perfume, we are continuously hindering proper thyroid function because this is a prime source of endocrine disrupting ingredients.
It is filled with synthetic hormones that enter into the body and confuse your ability to process and distribute hormones to the proper locations. So how are these synthetic hormones supposed to be metabolized when they technically cannot be broken down by the body???
Your body knows it is supposed to be breaking down the type of hormonal components found inside the thyroid…natural hormones produced by the body. The hormonal components found in perfume are not formulated inside the human body, therefore, they have no right to be there. These are imposter hormones…hormones designed to disrupt your natural hormone processes.
Once I learned about the harmful effects of perfume, I cut perfume completely out of my beauty regimen. This may not be the path chosen by everyone, but it is an idea to consider when you are seeking hormonal balance.
To give you a better idea of the types of ingredients found in perfumes, I will break down three different perfumes. First, will be Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, which happens to be my favorite perfume or used to be…way back when I used the product. Second, will be my Grandma’s favorite fragrance Amazing Grace by Philosophy. Third will be one of Nordstrom’s best selling perfumes, Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum Spray. Here are the ingredient labels for each, which I found on the brand websites and you can also view for yourself by visiting the links provided in the “Sources” section below…
AMAZING GRACE BY PHILOSOPHY:
Alcohol Denat., Parfum/Fragrance, Aqua/Water/Eau, Benzyl Salicylate, Polysorbate 20, Tris(Tetramethylhydroxypiperidinol) Citrate, Alcohol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Linalool, Bht.
ALCOHOL | PARFUM (FRAGRANCE) | AQUA (WATER) | ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE | LINALOOL | CITRONELLOL | LIMONENE | HYDROXYCITRONELLAL | HEXYL CINNAMAL | GERANIOL | BENZYL BENZOATE | ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE | BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE | ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE | CI 60730 (EXT. VIOLET 2) | CI 14700 (RED 4) | IL36-1
Alcohol, Water/Aqua/Eau, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ci 17200/Red 33, Ci 19140/Yellow 5, Citral Coumarin, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ext. Violet 2 (Ci 60730), Limonene, Linalool, Parfum/Fragrance, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate
Individual Ingredient Overview:
- Parfum/Fragrance is an ingredient found in all three of these products and it also happens to be a known human immune toxicant or allergen, EWG has over 6,578 studies proving this fact.
- Benzyl Benzoate is also an ingredient found in every product listed above. It is used as a preservative as well as an antimicrobial agent for the liquid. Although this sounds necessary in order for your perfume to keep, it is actually a “possible human immune system toxicant or allergen as well as an endocrine disruptor” (EWG). Side Note: “The endocrine system is a network of glands in your body that make the hormones that help cells talk to each other. They’re responsible for almost every cell, organ, and function in your body” (WebMD). Your thyroid is part of your endocrine system. Therefore, when you’re trying to attain hormonal balance, it is best NOT to disrupt this system.
- Benzyl Salicylate – This ingredient is found only in Amazing Grace and Flowerbomb, but it too is associated with endocrine disruption. It is also a known human immune system toxicant or allergen according to the EWG.
- Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane – this is an ingredient commonly found in sunscreen, it is used as an UV Filter and claims to offer protection from harmful sun rays, however, it is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredient. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the sun burn over cancer.
- Citronellol is an ingredient included for scent purposes only, however, it is also a human immune toxicant or allergen. PubMed has 412 studies including results proving the toxic characteristics of this particular ingredient. It is derived from plants such as rose, geranium, and lemongrass (EWG). This poses yet another dilemma for those of us with a progesterone deficiency because certain types of rose products such as Rosehip will increase estrogen levels. So, if these estrogenic types of rose products are being used within a product, there is a very good chance that they are having a negative effect on your endocrine system, as well.
- Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate & Ethylhexyl Salicylate – evidence exists suggesting this ingredient to be a strong human endocrine disruptor. However, the larger concern is actually the fact that it “produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease” (EWG). This ingredient is only found in the Chanel Chance and Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb fragrances.
- Ext. Violet 2 (Ci 60730) – this is a synthetic colorant and it may be derived from animals. To honest, I haven’t trusted a synthetic colorant since I learned Red 40 is actually from boiling a type of beetle that turns red upon heat exposure. It is disturbing in general and I hate to think of any part of a beetle coming in contact with my skin. Eww. There have been quite a lot of negative results regarding synthetic dyes in food lately, but there hasn’t been a lot of attention on dyes in cosmetics. The truth is, these synthetic dyes are bad for every human body whether exposure comes from food or cosmetics. Before you purchase a product containing any dye, remember this key characteristic reported by the EWG: human skin toxicant or allergen.
- Geraniol – This ingredient is found in Chanel Chance and Amazing Grace. It is a fragrance from a variety of essential oils, including rose oil and citronella oil (EWG). Once again, you have to be extra careful when it comes to rose because this can be a hormone disruptor. It is also a known human immune system toxicant or allergen. PubMed has 1,096 studies proving the toxicity of this chemical.
- CI 14700 (Red 4) & CI 17200 (Red 33) – Red 4 is found in Chanel Chance and Red 33 is found in Flowerbomb, but both synthetic dyes are produced from petroleum. Yep, thats right. Petroleum, as in the product that is commonly known to be a carcinogen. Red 33 is even known to come from coal tar sources, as well. Although these synthetic dyes are not classified as toxic or harmful by the EWG, it is hard to deny that they are anything but exactly that when you look at the source.
The most important characteristic to notice about all three of these fragrances is the names of the ingredients found in each label above. The only non-chemical ingredients are Alcohol and Aqua/Water. Even then, we still do not know the quality of either products. It could be pond water for all we know! Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it is hard to deny the fact that each fragrance is basically a bottle of chemicals mixed together. What ever happened to the days when essential oils were used to make perfume and cologne? I miss those days! Essential Oils are my go-to alternative for those days when I want a little boost in the fragrance area.
Some people might justify their use of perfume or cologne by saying that it’s only applied once a day and it isn’t even a large amount. However, over a long period of time, each use begins to add up. Daily exposure to toxic chemicals will begin to affect your overall health negatively. It is inevitable for this to happen as long as the exposure continues. But, it is a choice someone needs to make for himself or herself. The information is here on Seize the Day Blog and I hope it guides you toward a decision for better health. However, please remember that the articles posted are merely here to inform. You should always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your daily regimen.
Amazing Grace by Philosophy Perfume Ingredients:
NIEHS (Endocrine Disruptors): https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm
Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume Ingredients: https://www.skinsafeproducts.com/flowerbomb-by-viktor-rolf-eau-de-parfum-0-05-fl-oz
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