A guest post by Christine, Editor for MADE OF.com

We are all fond of wearing perfumes, fragrances, and using skincare products that leave us smelling nice. We tend not to think about how they were created, and what ingredients were used. Think about the tons of beauty and skincare products with scents ranging from floral, to citrus, to those who have calming and relaxing effects. We are quite spoiled for choices. Unfortunately, there is a danger to using synthetic fragrances regularly. 

What is Fragrance in the First Place? 

Fragrance, as the name suggests, is the scent used in making various health and beauty products to make them smell nice or hide the scent of other chemicals.  If you are going to take a closer look at the ingredients used to create that sweet scent, you may find that many of them are chemical compounds derived from petrochemicals. Many include aldehydes, benzene derivatives, phthalates, parabens, and other toxic substances. These compounds are linked to various health issues, such as birth defects, cancer, allergies, and disorders of the nervous system. [1]

How is it Hidden? 

Why don’t we know much about these toxic chemicals hidden in a fragrance. In the United States, manufacturers are not required to list all the ingredients that are in their fragrances because they claim it is a “trade secret.” This practice was initiated years ago when major companies lobbied to keep formulas used for fragrance secret. However, the repercussion of this practice can be felt today, as companies can easily slip toxic ingredients into their fragrances. 

So, where can these scents be found? Here are a few common household products that make ample use of fragrances: 

  • Air fresheners
  • Scented candles
  • Dryer sheets
  • Cosmetics
  • Plug-in air fresheners
  • Laundry detergent
  • Shampoo 
  • Soap
  • Perfume

Health Dangers of Synthetic Scents 

How do synthetic scents affect us? Here are a few possible dangers that are related to artificial fragrances. 

  1. Cancer. Artificial fragrances are sometimes linked to hormone-related cancers such as ovarian, breast, and even prostate cancer. This is due to chemicals that can disrupt hormone production, such as synthetic musks and phthalates. Styrene, which is found in car exhaust and cigarette smoke, is also sometimes used in fragrances. Phthalates, which is yet another type of chemical in synthetic fragrances, are associated with cancer, endocrine disruption, and even toxicity in the reproductive system. [2]
  2. Neurotoxin. Exposing your baby inside your womb to phthalates from synthetic fragrances has been found to put them at risk of neurological disorders, autism, as well as ADHD. Autism, as well as other neurological disorders, can be linked to the environmental chemicals that are absorbed while the brain is still developing in utero. Some adults who are exposed to synthetic fragrances complain that they trigger migraine headaches.[3]
  3. Irritation in the respiratory system. We breathe in synthetic scents from perfume, musks, and other skin care products. That means that our lungs are the first ones to be exposed to the toxins. These scents can trigger asthma attacks as the artificial fragrances act as irritants that can affect the lining of the lungs.[4]
  4. Toxic to the reproductive system. Another possible danger of synthetic fragrances is that they can affect the reproductive system, resulting in a low sperm count, congenital disabilities, and earlier development of breasts. Breastfeeding mothers who are exposed to these fragrances may also pass the chemicals to their little one, which can affect their growth and development. [5]
  5. Kidney and liver damage. Synthetic fragrances that contain chemicals like phthalates can contribute to liver and kidney damage. [6]
  6. Skin Irritations. Babies and young children have sensitive skin. Skin contact with a synthetic fragrance can trigger eczema, rashes, acne, contact dermatitis, and psoriasis. Adults who use synthetic fragrance in a perfume may also experience a local skin reaction. [7]

Tips on How to Avoid Synthetic Fragrances

You may feel a bit confused when shopping for products that contain fragrances. Well, there are a few tips if you wish to avoid this problem. 

  • Skip products that come with the words parfum, fragrance, DEP, DEHP, or phthalate.
  • Pay attention to products that are sold as “natural” as some may still be using refined ingredients that are man-made. 
  • Investigate DIY fragrances that use essential oils. You can blend some essential oils with a plant-based oil to create roll-on fragrances. 
  • Choose certified organic products.

Benefits of Using Organic and Natural Skincare Products

If synthetic fragrances are dangerous to your health, what can you use? Nowadays, organic and natural products are being touted as safer and better alternatives. However, you need to be careful when choosing products that are labeled as natural and organic because some may not be using 100% natural ingredients. The best way to shop for natural and organic products is to check if a qualifying agency certifies them. This ensures that all of the ingredients used are grown without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, or have undergone processing. Here are some notable benefits to switching to certified organic and natural products. 

  • Softer skin. Many luxury and drugstore brands have drying agents included in their products. Moisturizers, conditioners, and lip balms should not adversely affect the softness of your skin. That said, certified organic products can maintain your skin’s elasticity as long as they are “sulfate-free”.
  • Good for your wallet. Another plus for switching to organic skin care products is that they can be good for your wallet in the long run. Many consumers buy several brands to find which works best. While this practice may start at spending a few dollars, it can add up to hundreds depending on the brand and type. However, many people find that when using organic or natural products, they stick to the same brand because of their positive benefits.
  • Might help clear your skin up. What other benefits can you get from natural and organic products? It may help clear your skin up. People tend to tolerate organic products better than those who are filled with chemicals. However, if you have sensitive skin, you should always do a patch test first, even when you are using organic products, to ensure that there is no reaction to it. 
  • It will smell better. If you are using products that make use of organic or natural ingredients, they will smell better compared to the synthetic ones. For example, rose cream that is made from real rose water won’t have a pungent smell that may elicit an allergic response.[4]

Why Choose MADE OF Organic Products

The good news is that there is no shortage of organic and natural products. But how will you know which brand to choose?  To get the best value for your money while protecting your baby (and yourself), MADE OF products are worth trying. There are several reasons why you should try these out: 

  • Pediatrician and Dermatologist tested. Pediatricians and dermatologists have tested all the products that are sold by MADE OF. This ensures that you are getting products that are safe for your little one’s sensitive skin, whether it is diapers, diaper rash cream, baby wipes, baby shampoo or body wash.
  • Good for adults too. Another reason why you should choose this brand for your organic or natural skin care needs is that adults can also use their products. Their creams, powders, shampoos, and soaps are gentle on the skin which means that even your adult skin will experience its benefits.
  • Free from harsh ingredients. What else can you get out of MADE OF? You’ll find that their products are free from harsh ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. This makes them safer options for sensitive skin and in no danger of absorbing harsh chemicals.

There is no need to compromise your family’s health when it comes to dealing with personal care products. MADE OF products are free from dangerous chemicals. You’ll feel more confident and sleep better at night knowing that you are ensuring your baby is getting only the healthiest of products. How many diapers does a newborn use? The amount is shocking but see here!


  1. https://web.northeastern.edu/protect/for-the-public-the-media/resource-center/protect-yourself-keeping-harmful-chemicals-out-of-your-life/protect-yourself-avoiding-harmful-chemicals-in-personal-care-products/
  2. https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2014/08/expert-panel-confirms-fragrance-ingredient-can-cause-cancer
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28683407
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404651/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404651/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4689732/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4689732/