Headaches and sore throats. These are all typical reactions to synthetic fragrances. The fragrance factor is something that should always be considered when selecting personal care products. The innocuous term "fragrance" is an umbrella term, hiding the identity of thousands of harmful chemicals. On account of weak FDA regulations and inconsistent business transparency, we typically have no idea what chemicals we’re being subjected to. Other countries have stronger fragrance regulations and have banned the use of many fragrance chemicals still allowed in the United States.
What is known is the vast majority of synthetic fragrances are petrochemicals which haven't been tested for human safety. Some of these chemicals are carcinogens. Many of them increase risks for cancer, birth defects, and endocrine disruption.
This family of chemicals is used to make plastics more flexible and are found in vinyl, car components, composite flooring, and other consumer goods. Surprisingly, in addition to being used as solvents and plasticizers, phthalates are in personal care products so scents "stick" to the user and don't quickly fade.
Perfumes, soaps, deodorants, rooms sprays, lotions, detergents, and dryer sheets present an onslaught of chemical exposure. Scents can be made from essential oils, natural fragrances or simply "fragrance." If it's the latter, generic term "fragrance," "aroma," or "perfume," then buyer beware. Moreover, chemical exposure comes not only from what you use, but also from fragrances others are using. And, surprise, surprise. It's less expensive for manufacturers to use synthetic chemicals versus natural fragrances and essential oils.
We believe in product transparency. Even brands that use “natural fragrance” don’t typically disclose what their fragrance is comprised of on account of proprietary formulas. If you buy it and apply it, you have a right to know all of the ingredients. Our Bergamot Deodorant Cream includes pure, bergaptene-free bergamot essential oil. That’s it. And, it’s not a national secret.
We can't control what other people's decisions and environments expose us to. That's why it's important to make the right personal care choices. It's an instance where you can exert control on a daily basis to limit your and your loved ones' exposure to harmful chemicals. Owl in a Towel maintains a running list of ingredients we won't touch and will never use in our products.
Until the industry values public health more than the bottom line, we have to fend for ourselves. Information is power. We're here to help.