Everything you need to know about Perfume
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Perfume or pesticide?
Perfume... originally meaning ‘through smoke’, originating hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and where most scents were created through burning things that came from the earth – flowers, wood, herbs. As time progressed, we humans have become smarter (or dumber? I’m unsure?!), and perfume as it was in its traditional form has since transgressed to synthetics, made from chemical compounds. As these would be more predictable, more readily replicated, more widely distributable, and cheaper and easier to process, it became the main way perfume has been created since around 1190, when designer perfumes were manufactured commercially. And, while it is still referred to by many as perfume, it certainly is not. Not in the traditional sense anyway. It is now ‘fragrance’. No longer made of botanicals, woods, flowers, oil, extracts, compounds from nature... now instead a raft of synthetic chemicals, made to mimic those natural smells.
Let me point out now that even natural elements are chemicals (oxygen), but to over-simplify matters; there are natural and nature-identical chemicals, and there are synthetic chemicals.
In 2005-06 – fragrance – the synthetic chemical version of perfume colognes, was shown to affect over one third of the population who were exposed to it giving them some form of ill response.
There are over 4000 synthetic chemicals that can make up fragrances, and while these chemicals may create pleasant smells which men and woman love to be adorned with... they are anything but pleasant, and are not conducive to a healthy and happy, well-functioning body. They are nothing more than glorified, well-promoted pesticides. Be Well Blog featured Dr Frank Lipman, who shares similar thoughts on such things, and this information is well-known and well documented and yet we still choose to ignore it!
Perfume – the poison we choose to spray on our necks.
If we mixed up some random toxic chemicals, and gave it a fruity smell but it was packaged in a big industrial plastic spray bottle labeled pesticide – you would definitely not choose to spray that on you, no matter how good it smelt! Yet hundreds of toxic chemicals are mixed together to create beautiful smelling perfumes, and they are packaged in beautiful little posh bottles, and marketed by celebrities... and we spray that stuff on ourselves, our clothes, our possessions, and we live happily amongst the mist of heady fragrances that litter our lives, no question.
What’s the difference? Pesticide, or fragrance?
Chemicals that smell yuck, and chemicals that smell nice... at the end of the day, are still just chemicals. Bottled up to be fashionable... or bottled up for the garden.
We should really question why? Why we willingly spray this toxic liquid on our neck and wrists, wafting straight up our nose, in our eyes, affecting our sinus, getting into our head. Why are we ok with it? Whether you get symptoms of toxicity or not, whether you are sensitive to it or not, you are affected. It doesn’t discriminate on which body it enters. Your body does a great job, and will be attempting to detoxify from anything foreign, but many things applied often over time, can cause ‘build-up’... meaning there is too much for the body to process, resulting in chemical accumulation. This can lead to long-term illness and disease. Imagine something like heavy metals in your system over years, and what that does to your system and how it functions. Causing fatigue, or low energy and the impact just those symptoms have on your life and family.
What chemicals can be found in fragrance?
There are thousands, and many of them do not have to be listed, or proven as safe for use in this manner.
If we look briefly at just two of these;
Methylene chloride: Affects central nervous system, skin irritant; probable carcinogen. Found in perfume, used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, paint remover manufacturing, and metal cleaning and degreasing.
You can get a glimpse of just how bad the potential for harm can be when combining hundreds together!
I’m not going to get into all the potentially related illnesses such as chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivity, asthma, eczema, and central nervous system issues... but I urge you to be mindful of all the little things that have fragrance in your life... fabric softener, laundry powder, dish detergent, deodorant, makeup, moisturisers, sunscreens, household sprays and air fresheners... these are literally just a few, and if you are exposed to them all via direct skin contact then they are in your system to some capacity. Check in next time you get a ‘random headache’ or itchy eyes ‘outta the blue’ – you could find an opportunity to learn how your body is affected by something in your environment.
Going backwards to come forwards isn’t a bad thing!
We have gone too far from where it all began, where traditional perfume was natural and made of the earth. But companies like ours aim to bring you natural options so you may realise those daily headaches AREN’T normal, that your extreme tiredness is more than a busy day sometimes... it’s also evident of an overloaded system. Toxic air-borne chemicals like perfume, can drift and spread without us realising, onto children, food, into drinks... Again I ask would you spray pesticide right by your child, or in a café with food around... yet I see people do this with toxic fragrance without giving it a second thought.
How did such rampant chemical use become so normal, and how did we become so blind to seeing it as anything but toxic, unnatural, and unnecessary? Why is it that smelling like the latest celebrity is more important to many men and woman, than their long-term health? Is it because the effects are not immediately seen? It’s not a punch in the face that we see coming and feel immediately, it’s more like you’re hand a pot of water that’s heating up, and soon you’ll feel the burn!! Before you know it you have a partially cooked hand and you’re wondering how to “uncook” your hand.... When in reality it’s easier just to not cook your hand in the first place ;) Ok... my analogies need work, but you get the drift!! Keeping your hand out of the pot is your best way forward – avoid the perfumes, don’t use them and find a natural alternative to smelling beautiful, it’s actually quite simple.
Our personal experience with perfume
This was exactly what my Mother experienced, and it was an eye-opener seeing how much of her system was affected by one seemingly small thing in our life, especially when she was particular about not using garden and household chemical sprays.
Her body was working at sub-optimal levels, her system wouldn’t absorb the good things it needed, and her body and mind we chemically overloaded. Fragrance was the cause. At the same time, my husband didn’t want me to wear any of my fragrances as it made his eyes and nose flare up really badly giving him severe headaches... and at the time I was wearing a synthetic fragrance and was enjoying ‘smelling nice’.
These two things happening simultaneously were the catalyst for this brand, our first four perfumes made here in NZ, and for my never wearing synthetic fragrance again. I saw the effect first-hand on two people I love, one over the long-term with my Mother wearing perfume, and the other immediately upon spraying these chemicals around my husband - someone who didn’t wear cologne. It showed me that these things present differently for everyone. I personally wasn’t even being noticeably affected by the synthetic fragrance at that time.... But I can guarantee you that my body was being compromised whether it showed me that or not, or whether I recognised it or not. And now that I no longer use synthetic fragrance, it DOES affect my nose, my eyes and my head very quickly. Back then when my husband was asking me not to wear it, I thought he was being a total ass... because I wasn’t affected by it, I almost thought he could be making it up because he didn’t like my perfume... well he didn’t like it - because it was destroying his face n making it ache, and itch and cry and sneeze and feel awful... so fair call!
What can we all do in our daily lives?
I don’t believe it is possible to live a perfect life, free from toxicity and chemicals, but I do believe it is possible to limit our exposure and make decisions about which chemicals we are willing to be exposed to over others... one so toxic sprayed onto skin, such as perfume, isn’t one I’d continue using... maybe toilet cleaner is one I keep using but perfume I give up! You know, make the easy choices that have the biggest impact... you have options for a reason!
Through the creation of Neat Natural Perfumes, we just wanted to bring that traditional simplicity back to fragrance, while also ensuring you don’t smell like boggy water from a stream... or nana’s knicker drawer! Natural fragrances are well crafted, long lasting and have a wide array of aromas, so they are certainly worth trying to find one you like!
I’m not an expert, scientist, doctor or chemist... I’m a girl fascinated by things, and I like to share. This blog is garnered from information and knowledge absorbed, and through personal experience. It’s not intended to diagnose or cure anything, and you should always seek proper advice from a medical professional.