In this day and age we’re surrounded by a multitude of smells. We moisturise our legs in cocoa butter lotions, slap berry-lious plumper on our lips and spritz ourselves in the latest celebrity eau de toilette. Not to mention the scented candles we have burning, or the air freshener we use in our homes.
Yep, it seems we can’t escape a lingering white lilac and rhubarb cologne (or whatever your particular choice of scent may be). But could our obsession with smells actually be making us sick?
According to the Daily Mail
, a recent report suggests that perfumed products could cause problems such as allergies, asthma, migraines, and even interfere with sexual desire. Apparently a major problem is so-called “contact” allergy — where molecules in the products trigger an immune response, causing itchiness and even scaly, cracked skin, leading to eczema and dermatitis.
Dr Elizabeth Hanna from the Australian National University, believes about 20 per cent of the population is allergic or sensitive to chemical fragrances that can cause skin rashes, hay fever, asthma, migraines, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or difficulty concentrating. “Possible long term effects of chemicals in cosmetics have been linked to conditions like diabetes and certain cancers in humans,” she warns.
It seems the very function of fragrance itself is causing more harm than good. Anne Steinemann from the University of Washington, who is quoted in the paper, says “Fragrance suggests cleanliness – yet people smell a potentially hazardous chemical mixture. We often use them to mask one problem – as with air fresheners – but create a greater one — adding toxic chemicals to the air.”
The bad news? Even if you don’t suffer from allergies you can still be at risk, with sources saying you can suddenly become sensitive to products you’ve been using for years.
“You don’t react immediately; the body notes that it does not like the chemical and develops ‘memory cells’, which cause inflammation when the body is next exposed to this chemical. Gradually, as you are exposed more and more, the body ramps up its reaction, until it becomes more noticeable to you,” UK dermatologist Dr Susannah Baron told the Daily Mail
So maybe next time you’re hunting for a new scent opt for fragrance free. Related content:
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