One of the most dangerous ingredients in personal care products can present itself as a single word: "fragrance." "Fragrance" or "Parfum" is an undisclosed mixture of substances intended to convey a specific scent or mask an odor. They can be derived from natural ingredients, like plant or flower extracts, or they can be derived synthetically. A common ingredient found in the fragrance mixture in the majority of big brand, commercial personal care products are phthalates. I'm sure you've seen hand soaps, and candles labeled as having "phthalate-free fragrance" while walking in the store. But what exactly are phthalates?
What are Phthalates?
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable or to help dissolve other materials. They are used in personal care products like nail polish, perfumes, deodorants, hair gels, shampoos, soaps, hairsprays, and body lotions as well as in other scented products like candles and household cleaners to make the fragrances last longer and to lubricate other substances within the formulation. They can enter the body through ingestion and skin absorption. Sounds good right? A nice, smooth, lubricated hygiene product with a strong, long lasting scent. What's the problem?
The Dangers of Phthalates
Yes they make your products smell good, but at what cost? Phthalates have been found to be endocrine disruptors, interfering with the normal functioning of hormones within the body. Hormonal health is everything, and is responsible for so many different mechanisms within the body. Phthalates negatively impact pregnancy success, child growth and development, and overall reproductive health, contributing to instances like early menopause, low birth rate, pregnancy loss, and preterm birth. If you're a pregnant woman, looking to become pregnant, or nursing, you should be quivering in your boots right now.
Although women are typically exposed to phthalates at a higher rate due to the constant use of scented soaps, cosmetics, body washes, and other fragranced products, men are at risk too. Phthalates have also been linked to sperm damage and decreased testosterone levels. Decreased testosterone levels suppress metabolism and can contribute to unwanted weight gain (obesity) and insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes).
Does This Mean I Can't Smell Good Anymore?
Of course it doesn't. Making informed choices is key when it comes to organically caring for your body. Thanks to brands like BENE Beauty by Bri who devote themselves to creating truly natural, non toxic products, you can still smell good without destroying your hormonal health in the process! We only use pure essential oils in all of our scented products; not only are they phthalate free, but they are free from synthetic ingredients altogether. Products like our Sweet Vanilla Set feature your entire body care routine, from the exfoliant to the moisturizer to the mist to seal the smell good deal, made only using vanilla essential oil. We offer masculine scented products as well, such as our Black Magic Body Butter which is fragranced with the crisp, clean scent of Rosemary and Patchouli essential oils, and of course we have unscented options for those with extremely sensitive skin.
Always read your labels, learn your ingredients, and learn how the products you put on everyday are affecting your body! The skin is our largest organ, and functions like a two way sponge! If you wouldn't feel safe eating it, that probably means you shouldn't put it on your body either.