Natural fragrances are made from pure essential oils and can be found in perfumes, colognes, diffuser blends, room sprays and scents that are added to body and skin care products. Synthetic fragrances are found in the same types of products as natural fragrances and legally they can be marketed as natural so it can be difficult to tell whether a fragrance is actually natural or synthetic. Even products sold in natural food stores might contain some synthetic fragrance ingredients. It's best to research brands and products before buying them to find out whether the fragrances used come from pure essential oils or fragrance oils which contain synthetically made chemicals.
Why bother to take the time to seek out natural fragrances over synthetic ones? Here are six excellent reasons why you should use products that contain natural fragrances made from pure essential oils over synthetic ones made from chemicals or a blend of low quality essential oils and synthetically derived chemicals.
1.) Natural fragrance blends evolve over time and the scents will differ with each person depending on their unique body chemistry. As the top notes diffuse the middle and base notes become more dominant. This gives natural fragrances a depth and complexity that is not present in synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are designed to be very uniform. The scent is the same on everyone and it doesn't change or evolve over time.
2.) Natural fragrances that are made with pure essential oils have therapeutic actions. Essential oils are made from living plant material including herbs, roots, and flowers that have healing properties and that have been used for thousands of years as physical and spiritual medicine by many cultures around the world. Synthetic scents are completely devoid of any therapuetic value. In fact, many of the thousands of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are potentially toxic to the human body.
3.) Synthetic fragrances can trigger chemical sensitivities in the wearer as well as in the people around the wearer. If you've ever sat next to someone on an airplane wearing heavy perfume and ended up with a headache then you have experienced this. Chemical sensitivities are becoming more common as the load of toxins that we are exposed to in our air, food, water and topical products increases over time. Our bodies are not equipped to deal with so many environmental toxins. These chemicals end up getting stored in our fat cells so that they don't continue to circulate in our blood stream. Chemicals do still end up in the blood stream and they have a very disruptive effect on the nervous system, brain and hormonal balance. Some of the most common chemicals used in the synthetic fragrance industry include benzenes, aldehydes and phthalates which have been shown to increase the risk of cancer, birth defects, allergies and nervous system disorders. So next time you are shopping for a new perfume, keep in mind that synthetically made perfumes contain hundreds of chemicals and the body absorbs 60% of what is applied topically. And then think about the chemicals that your body is already trying to deal with and just opt for a natural perfume made with pure essential oils instead.
4.) Natural perfumes and fragrances made from pure essential oils are not tested on animals. Synthetic chemicals used the commercial perfume and fragrance industry are tested on animals. These tests are extremely inhuman and include vivisection and other unethical practices. Here is a great reference guide to finding brands that don't do any animal testing.
5.) Synthetic chemicals found in commercial fragrances have a devastating effect on the environment. The vast majority of chemicals used to make synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals and many of these can be found on the EPA's hazardous waste list.
6.) Synthetic fragrances can cause acne. There are over 3000 chemicals used to make fragrances and many of these chemicals are topically comedogenic. Most fragrance blends are not disclosed by the companies making them as they are legally considered propriety so it can be extremely difficult to get a complete listing of all the chemical ingredients that make a particular fragrance. If you are acne prone, it's best to avoid all products that list "fragrance" as an ingredient unless you can determine whether or not the fragrance ingredients are only pure essential oils.