The Dangers of Perfume and Cologne
Cologne derives from the French word (eau de cologne) meaning "water of Cologne." Cologne is known today as eau de toilet, meaning "water of the toilet" or "toilet water." Hmmm! What are we being told here?
Toilet water is "a scented liquid with a high alcohol content used as a skin freshener."
Ancient people such wore natural fragrances derived from essential oils from flowers. Flowers are Nature's fragrance and source of fragrance. Many of Nature's fragrances were derived from flowers from such essential oils as Ylang Ylang, Magnolia Blossoms (Neroli), Rose, Jasmine, Linden, and Lavender. Many other natural scents and fragrances were derived from the likes of Sandalwood, Frankincense, Spikenard, Patchouli, Cinnamon, and Davana whose scents are heavenly or celestial.
However, today we understand perfume to be a solution containing 15% to 30% perfume oils and 70% to 85% alcohol, respectively.
What happened to perfumes between their origin and today? What is the secret? What is the mystery? The answer is: OIL! Yes, oil-based perfumes.
When we look back in history we find that some of the most precious gifts of kings, queens, and other nobility were perfume oils.
However, modern day perfumes and colognes are alcohol based. Alcohol is a toxic solvent, derived from petroleum. Plant-based or essential oils are not.
Oil penetrates any porous material, e.g. paper, wood, hair, skin, etc.; therefore, oil-based perfumes will penetrate the skin, causing the fragrance to stay. As a solvent, alcohol is a drying agent. Alcohol dries (evaporates) from the most porous material within a short period of time. The difference is that the pleasant, sensuous scent of oil-based perfumes will linger longer in addition to having a therapeutic effect on the body and thus positively impacting human health.
Many of the perfume and cologne ingredients are known irritants and are toxic through skin absorption.
In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences grouped fragrances with insecticides, heavy metals, solvents, food additives and certain air pollutants as the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. According to their report, 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxic substances linked to cancer, birth defects and allergic reactions.
Ethanol is a principal chemical in perfume and cologne (and hair spray, shampoo, shaving cream, soap, and nail polisher) that can cause fatigue, irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tract, and produce a loss of muscular coordination.
Limonene is another principal chemical found in perfume and cologne (and bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and hair spray) that is carcinogenic (cancer-causing). In addition, it can seriously irritate the eyes.
Linalool, also found in perfume and cologne, is a narcotic that causes respiratory disturbances. This chemical contributes to reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression.
Benzyl Acetate is linked to pancreatic cancer, the worst cancer you could develop. Its vapors are irritating to the eyes and the respiratory system. It can also be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects.
Toulene is used in many perfumes and colognes on the market today. It is a solvent that causes headaches and is a reproductive system toxin. It is on the list of chemicals deemed hazardous under Proposition 65.
Synthetic oils such as Egyptian Musk, Arabian Musk, African Musk, Powder, etc. are not better alternatives to perfume and cologne. There are even synthetic versions of natural oils such as Sandalwood, Frankincense, and Patchouli. You can tell the difference between synthetic oils and authentic essential oils by the price, color, smell and density of the oil.
All essential oils do not cost the same. Most are pretty economical and some are diabolically expensive, i.e. Rose, Neroli, Linden, Jasmine, Lotus, and True Melissa. However, there will be noticeable changes in price with essential oils, whereas with synthetic oils (mostly sold on street corners, at flea markets, and in Muslim markets) they are roughly the same in price (c. $5 - $10) despite the fragrance or scent. This is the greatest indicator of purchasing synthetic and unauthentic oils.
Unlike synthetic oils and perfumes and colognes, essential oils are therapeutic and affect us on many levels, including mental, emotional, spiritual, and physiological. They are safe (most of them) to use on the skin as technically speaking, we should be able to eat everything we put on our skin as what we put on our skin is considered consuming or eating in nature.
Remember, essential oils are derived from plants. Many of them can be skin irritants and damage (inflame) skin if directly applied or absent a carrier or base oil, i.e. olive oil, almond oil, etc.
By wearing only natural essential oils, you can help to revive your dulled sense of olfaction that was dulled by smelling synthetic fragrances most of your life.
Wearing perfume and cologne is one of the many reasons folks need to periodically detoxify their body.
If you're interested, we list health companies that sell healthy alternatives to harmful perfumes and colognes in our "Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual" Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual available in our On-line Store.