Freaking Out About Perfumes, Again

Seems I can’t turn a corner these days without hearing someone wrinkling their nose at perfume usage and spouting some puzzling facts about how they’re full of chemicals and poison and will harm everything on your body from your organs, to your skin, to the pockets on your shirt. I’m wondering when this fad in the whole “chemical free” trend is going to end. I touched upon this subject last year in relation to perfumes and people’s fear of it giving them cancer.

I still see people worrying themselves sick over whether or not fragrance usage (be it themselves using it or someone nearby) causing them permanent long-term physical damage. What I often observe when I delve a bit deeper into these fears is a lack of understanding about how fragrances actually work. There is also a belief that perfume fragrance chemicals and the fragrance chemicals in ordinary household things are somehow different.

Dior Hypnotic Poison Ad

Dior Hypnotic Poison Ad

If you do happen to be wondering if wearing perfume is safe, then go down this list and think about what you use on a daily or almost daily basis:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Soap/Body wash
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Dish soap
  • Kitchen cleaners
  • Air freshener
  • Candles
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Hand sanitizing wipes
  • Bathroom cleaners

That’s only a few of the things that I could think of off the top of my head that have some sort of fragrance chemical applied to them that people would find themselves using on a daily basis. As a friend of mine who decided that she would one day like to eliminate all “man-made” fragrances from her life would tell you, eliminating everything scented from your home is much easier in theory than it is in practice.

And furthermore, unless you have a medical condition that makes you extremely sensitive to scents, why worry so much about perfume when the chances of you using any number of the above fragranced products on a daily basis are relatively high? And given the nature of some of those fragrances and what they’re used for, they’re often much stronger and heavier duty than what you’d find in a perfume if they’re expected to perform their jobs in a harsh environment like Windex or some other household cleaner. Even the products that are sometimes sold as “non-scented” actually have chemicals whose purpose is to block scent.

So why are we so crazy about being chemical free anyway? I hate how the word “chemical” has become so taboo. Like just saying it will make people flinch away. Marketing and media outlets don’t do the word any favors either, often calling anything that could have an adverse affect on someone a “chemical”.

Which is why all this brings me back to a very old (and very cliche) standby: The Dangers of H2O. Water, itself, is a chemical. Our bodies are made up of chemicals. Some scientists argue that our emotions are just the result of chemical reactions.

So given all this chemical stuff floating around outside of you and inside of you, would a spray of perfume really hurt you in the long run? Who knows. All I know is that everything is chemical in some way or another, and my life is too short to spend it fretting about fragrances when everything is already so heavily fragranced as it is.