What You Should Know About Synthetic Fragrance?

Alejandro Zumaran

Posted on August 07 2018

Natural vs. Synthetic Fragrance - What You Should Know.

Many of us work hard to make good food choices like eating organic or avoiding GMO’s, and we read food labels. But how many of us read the labels on our skin, body care or home products like candles? For healthier choices, look for products that use only natural ingredients to deliver the product’s aroma.

Here’s what to look for: 

Essential oils: extracted from plant materials, typically using steam distillation or cold pressing techniques.

  • The oils are usually listed individually on the product label within the ingredient list.  You won’t see the word “fragrance” on the ingredient list. 

OR 

Natural fragrance: can contain a combination essential oils, fractions of essential oils, isolates, and other plant-derived materials

  • Natural fragrances are used when it is not possible to create a specific aroma from that plant alone. For example, it would be challenging to create a pomegranate aroma by distilling or pressing a pomegranate fruit. However, you can blend together materials extracted from different plants to create an aroma that smells like a pomegranate.
  • The materials used in the natural fragrance might be listed individually on the label, but often there is not enough room on the label to list them all.  In that case, it will be listed as “fragrance*” within the body of the ingredient list, but there will be a footnote at the end of the ingredient list that says “*natural fragrance”.

Both essential oils and natural fragrances are derived from plants and do not contain petrochemicals and phthalates. They provide a gentle, more natural aroma, which is better for you and the environment and is the basis of aromatherapy.

What is “synthetic fragrance”?

Synthetic fragrance is often found in personal care products and candles you burn at home.  It is a blend of several, sometimes hundreds of chemicals, many of which are petrochemicals. On personal care labels, it is listed as “fragrance” or “parfum” on the ingredient list. And on candles, it may not be listed at all on the label.

Why should I avoid synthetic fragrance?

These man-made chemicals can include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates and a collection of other known toxins which can be irritants to those with sensitivities or allergies.  Inhaling these chemicals may sometimes lead to headaches and migraines. And there have been studies demonstrating carcinogenic and hormone disrupting effects from exposure to some of these chemicals.

LATHER never uses synthetic fragrances in any of our products.

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