Synthetic fragrances, and why you should avoid them

Posted by Alexa Campbell on

"Fragrance" or "Parfum" is often listed as an ingredient on many bath, body and household products. From body wash to laundry detergent, most everything is scented with a combination of mystery chemicals. The companies that make these products are not required by law to list the breakdown of what makes up a "fragrance", as it can be considered a trade secret. Many of these ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergic reactions or contact dermatitis. Researchers in the U.K. found that "perfume" is the second most common cause of allergy reported at dermatology clinics. Lack of testing combined with the lack of ingredient transparency, is very disconcerting, and many consumers are catching on.

Why should I avoid Synthetic Fragrances? Info-graphic created by Penny Lane Organics

Why should I avoid Synthetic Fragrances? Info-graphic created by Penny Lane Organics

Of the many chemicals that "may be" lingering in your scented products, one of the most commonly known is DEP (diethyl phthalate).  While Phthalates are not really a scenting agent, they are often used as a "fragrance preservative", meaning they help extend the life of the scent so that it lingers for a longer period of time. Phthalates have been linked to hormonal dysfunction, birth defects, early puberty in young children, insulin resistance and reduced sperm count in men, and is also a known carcinogen that may damage the liver and kidneys. DEP is also considered toxic to wildlife and is listed as a Priority and Toxic Pollutant under the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Consider how many mystery chemicals you are applying to your body over the course of a typical day. Just about every product on the shelves at your local chain store is scented with a combination of synthetic fragrances. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body spray, deodorant, moisturizer... most of which you may use first thing in the morning. Then you have scents in your clothes in the form of laundry detergent and fabric softener, which also rubs off on your skin.

Think about how you can cut back or completely cut out synthetic fragrances in your daily routine. After all, how many different scents do you really need to apply before you leave for work in the morning?


Penny Lane Organics products are scented with essential oils, and are also available in unscented versions. Penny Lane Organics uses all natural ingredients and provides complete ingredient transparency. You can find a list of our ingredients on our website, and also a full breakdown of ingredients listed on each of our products.