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The Toxic Traits Behind Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic and toxic fragrances.. yes that includes your Chanel Coco, Bath & Body Works, Victoria Secret, and more. The chemicals in these fragrances are the number one reason your hormones are out of wack. 

The term “fragrance” on a product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various chemicals and ingredients, added to provide that nostalgic scent. 

It’s one of the only ingredients that doesn’t have to be fully disclosed on the label, meaning there’s a “fragrance loophole” in our products that allows companies to simply use the generic term “fragrance” instead of being transparent and telling the consumer what’s really in their product. Oh and did you know that the average fragrance product contains 14 secret chemicals that aren’t even on the label? Pretty disturbing, right? And that those unlisted ingredients usually include carcinogens, allergens, respiratory irritants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals AND environmental pollutants?  

It’s important to understand what is actually inside of perfume and why perfume is so “toxic”. If you eat organic, but also spray, wash and rub your largest organ with chemicals, you’re doing it wrong.. Companies are going to pack in hidden ingredients, so sadly it’s up to us to avoid these chemicals at all cost and be informed about what they do to our body. Studies have also shown phthalates and synthetic fragrances are to have adverse effects on the male reproductive system and thyroid irregularities. Here are just a handful of chemicals inside fragrance bottles to help explain why perfume is toxic:


Synthetic musks have been found to build up in the body in things like body fat and even breast milk. Synthetic musks have also been found to cause endocrine disruption. Some musks irritate the skin or trigger allergic reactions. Certain musks have been linked to cancer and can harm the nervous system, and a study of nitromusks in people suggests that higher levels of some musks may be linked to reproductive problems in women. So if you’re trying to get pregnant, or one day hope to be able to, using synthetic musks could greatly hurt your chances of conceiving.


Parabens are commonly found in perfumes, and parabens are synthetic preservatives. These are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in a cosmetic product, increasing its shelf life. The problem with this is that they are known to disrupt the endocrine system by interfering with both hormone production as well as the release of hormones in the body. Meaning they can mimic the hormone estrogen, disrupting normal function of the hormone system, which is really bad news for all women, as excess estrogen has been linked to breast cancer.


Phthalates, yet another synthetic preservative that holds cancer-promoting properties. Phthalates have even been linked to damage caused to the liver as well as the kidneys. The reproductive system can also be affected by phthalates. These are some of the most powerful endocrine disruptors around. Phthalates act by interfering with, specifically suppressing, androgen production which is necessary to male development AND female hormone balance (yes, females also have androgens), including fertility. Because of their anti-androgenic activity (phthalate exposure is linked to genital abnormalities in boys, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, and elements of metabolic disruption including obesity, insulin resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes), many phthalates have been banned or their use restricted in other countries.

There is growing evidence that pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and other chemicals act as endocrine disruptors, meaning that they interfere with the body’s carefully regulated hormonal system and they artificially increase the levels of hormones in the body, and or stop their proper and essential breakdown. About 95% of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances cause changes to your hormones can cause anything from irregular periods, hormonal breakouts, central nervous system disorders, allergic reactions, birth defects, illnesses and cancer.  

Here’s the thing about most toxic chemicals—toxicity is cumulative, and it builds up. You can thank your liver, which is our body’s own natural detoxifier. If we are hit with a single toxin, our bodies are able to process it and detox from it. But here’s the catch, in today’s modern world our bodies are exposed to over 80,000 toxins every day and our liver just can’t keep up. All in all our safest option to minimize exposure to potentially toxic compounds is to buy only fragrance-free products, which may be difficult for some people. But at least try to eliminate one or two synthetic fragranced products a month? I believe in you!

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