Perfumes and artificial fragrances are making you ill - ORLI

Why perfumes and fragrances are (literally) intoxicating

Posted on March 29, 2018 by ORLI

why perfumes and artificial fragrances make you ill by orli natural and organic skincare and beauty australia


What are you paying for when you buy perfume?

Very expensive packaging and very cheap toxins. 

Perfume companies love to sell you the 'idea' of feeling sexy, more feminine, more confident and alive with a spritz of their intoxicating (literally) blends.

The reality is the components of that blend don't need to be disclosed under labelling laws and it could be made out of dozens of petroleum based synthetic chemicals that aren't doing your health much good.

The fragrance industry is home to more than 3,000 different chemicals of which we will never know which are used in a particular perfume.

These concoctions fall under the umbrella of "Fragrance, perfume, parfum, essential oil blend, aroma" in product labels.

NOTE:  Parfum or Fragrance is also the generic name for the ingredient Naticide®, a vegetable-based fragrance which acts as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial preservative. It has a scent of vanilla and inhibits the growth of bacteria.  It is approved for use in organic skin care in Australia. Naticide® is the trade name owned by its manufacturer, Sinerga of Italy, and therefore not acceptable for use on a product ingredient list under International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (‘INCI’) rules. INCI requirements are to list this ingredient as either "parfum" or "fragrance" on the ingredient listing. 

Upon analysing the data from the Safer Cosmetics campaign, EWG concluded that “The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.” EWG adds that some of the undisclosed ingredients are chemicals “with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.” Examples include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies, and musk ketone, which concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk.

It's almost impossible to avoid artificial fragrances in our society. Everything from cleaning products, soaps, make up, skincare, bug sprays, candles and diffuser reeds are culprits. It's near impossible NOT to be exposed to it. Almost 20% of the general population is sensitised to at least one allergen, and studies find that fragrance is one of the most frequently identified substances causing allergic reactions.  

There are different degrees of reactions but synthetic fragrances can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Chest tightness and wheezing
  • Mucosal irritation
  • Asthma and asthmatic exacerbation
  • Rhinitis and airway irritation
  • Contact dermatitis
  • nausea

A study from the University of Melbourne discovered that 7.7 per cent of Australians said they had lost workdays or a job in the past year due to illness caused by fragranced products in the workplace, and 11.6 per cent of Australians are unable to use a public toilet if there is an air freshener. 

95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toulene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer and hormone disruptors.

Here are the EWG findings of just two (of many) examples of synthetic fragrances"

 Acetaldehyde: Acetaldehyde adversely affects kidneys and the reproductive, nervous and respiratory systems.This chemical is listed as known or suspected to cause cancer in California’s Proposition 65. Both the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program classify acetaldehyde as potentially carcinogenic to humans.

Benzophenone: Benzophenone is linked to endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity and experimental studies suggest benzophenone may lead to several kinds of tumours. Derivatives of benzophenone, such as benzophenone-1 (BP-1) and oxybenzone (BP-3), are potential endocrine disruptors.Benzophenone is listed as a possible human carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65.

The list goes on! For a more extensive list head to

So the next time you feel a tinge of nausea as you're leaving a candle laden gift shop or even just being around someone wearing perfume; it's probably not coincidental. Your body is reacting to those petroleum based chemical substances disguised as perfume. 

At Orli we only use organic essential oils to scent our products. These oils not only smell naturally beautiful but have therapeutic and mood improving properties.

eau well by orli natural perfume essential oils healthy fragrance

The scent of essential oils don't linger as long as artificial fragrances as their molecules disperse quickly into the air or into your skin (which is a good thing as they are beneficial to your health). In contrast, artificial fragrances are designed not to break down easily and end up 'sticking' to your clothes, skin and the environment for a lot longer

As an alternative to perfume, try our Eau Well healthy perfume range. It does far more than smell good. With antibacterial and congestion clearing properties, it relieves a headache instead of causing one.