In researching and writing the previous article about parabens, I came across an article titled ‘Fragrance compounds: The wolves in sheep’s clothing’ by Patel S published in the Medical Hypothesis Journal in May 2017.
I would refer everyone directly to the article, but we’re all lazy AF and it has got a bunch of medical jargon. So here, let me summarize. It is a pleasure.
It feels good to smell nice and it does add to the attraction when it’s all musky masculinity or sweet femininity (or whatever your personal preference is) when you bury your face into your significant other’s neck. But it isn’t natural. He is not sweating out musk and she did not wake up smelling like a rose. ‘Artificialness’ comes with synthetic chemicals that apparently have very negative effects on our bodies.
Evidence has shown that the fragrance compounds are endocrine disruptors – messing up our hormone axis and starting the process of a number of problems. Stay with me here: Perfumes = aroma compounds -> bind to aromatase enzymes -> increased aromatase activity -> oestrogen synthesis and inflammation.
Excess oestrogen is not good in males or females.
- Breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome – Parabens, phthalate and nitro musks have oestrogenic properties and are the most concerning compounds. They penetrate the skin, enter the blood stream and disrupt the normal workings of our hormones. Essentially, the perfect breeding ground for cancer.
- Depression and Anxiety. There is a well-known link between smell and sex hormones. Smell receptors produce other hormones when stimulated which alter the production of neurotransmitters in our brain such a serotonin and dopamine which are key words in mental health.
- Skin conditions. Allergic reaction to the contact of certain perfumes on our skins. Yay rashes and pustules.
- Asthma or airway hype. Reactivity is known to be caused by many fragrances. Ever walked past someone and gotten a huge whiff of some perfume that lasts till they’ve left the country and you’re still coughing long after they’ve gone?
- Gynaecomastia or the enlargement of breast tissue in males. Fragrance laden toiletries seem to be contributors of the excess oestrogen that may cause this.
- Reproductive issues. Breakdown chemicals of synthetic fragrances find their way into breast tissue, and therefore into the milk that breastfeeding infants are then drinking. Would you want your baby to be drinking chemicals out of a bottle? No.
We eat clean and try to shove all the vitamin complexes down our throats when we are pregnant and breastfeeding just to optimize our children’s health. But have we ever thought about what we are putting on our bodies and how that may affect them?
- Diabetes. Caused by aromatase overdrive which causes inflammation. If you were not falling asleep while reading this, I have already explained why.
Of course perfume manufactures are excused from revealing the exact quantities of the fragrance compounds in the name of ‘trade secret’. That is very dodge to say the least. The solution here is a tough one, and the clear direction would seem to be heading towards purchasing more natural products. But a survey reported that hazardous chemicals are also emitted by products advertised as organic, green and eco-friendly. So call it trust issues or something less deep, but no-go on that front either.
The evidence is not great and it is more theoretical than definitive cause-and-effect evidence. But, fragrances and chemicals in our cosmetics and household items disrupt our hormone pathways to varying degrees. For me, I would rather stay away just by knowing this.
So we have one of two options:
- It sounds like wearing nothing would be best. But I am not that confident strutting around and hoping to draw them in with my charming smell of sweat.
- Alternatively, making our own products with raw ingredients is the next safest bet. This ensures that no chemicals are added without our knowledge and false marketing will not trap us in its ugly claws. This does not have to be too difficult and it can be done in a cost-effective manner. The home-made products might take a bit of time to adjust to but been there, done that and they work. If you cannot make your own, you can find a variety of these natural products (and environmentally friendly and waste free) at shops like Shop Zero.
#chemicalfree #smellinglikeagardenfairy #feelinglikeawalkingchickpea
- Reference: Patel, S. (2017). Fragrance compounds: The wolves in sheep’s clothings. Medical Hypotheses, 102, 106-111. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2017.03.025