The link between synthetic fragrance and your gut health

How synthetic fragrances STINK when it comes to our health.


Do you love buying perfumes with rich, decadent, long-lasting signature scents? Do you choose your body lotions and shampoos based on their refreshing aroma?


As consumers, we shop with all five senses, in particular, smell. The ways these products are advertised offer a less-than-realistic promise.  It will invoke confidence; give us a feeling of decadence and sophistication. Or it takes us to a place of paradise, but the reality is that the product you're getting is likely irritating and full of harmful chemicals.


If you could see how synthetic fragrances get thrown together, you'd be less likely to be so captivated by their smells — and never fooled by their marketing campaigns again. 

From an enviable perfume on a friend to a diffuser reed on the vanity in your bathroom, fragrances are everywhere to make us feel more attractive, to set a good mood, to mask unpleasant smells… synthetic fragrances are all around us.


According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, more than 95% of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products contain fragrance. Such is our obsession with fragrance; we also add scent to:

  • cosmetics
  • cleaners
  • deodorants
  • body washes
  • candles
  • even tissue papers

Manufacturers create these scents to be long-lasting. The chemicals take a substantial amount of time to break down, leaving the remains in clothes and seeping into our skin.  Everyone using these products leaves behind a trail of fragrance; it creates an invisible fog, fraught with chemicals.


Although there are natural fragrances and pure perfumes, 90% of fragrances are made up of synthetic chemicals.


What are synthetic fragrances, and do they affect our health?

Synthetic fragrances or perfumes are created in a lab, usually from chemicals that mimic the qualities of natural aromas. The term ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’ on an ingredient list is a blanket term for 3000+ ingredients.


Shockingly, 95% of those chemicals are created from petroleum, and there is also concern they include endocrine disruptors (compounds which tinker with our hormonal balance).  All products with synthetic fragrances are toxic. They comprise of benzene derivatives, phthalates, aldehydes, or triclosan, to name a few.


Although it might sound unbelievable, the FDAdoesn't currently require manufacturers to reveal precisely what chemicals they use to make their scented products. Perfume manufacturers consider it as trade-secret protection. 

These chemicals can trigger allergic reactions (including asthma, headaches, skin rashes), and in 2014 research confirmed that 75% of women said that the primary cause of their odour-triggered migraines was perfume.

They can also create a higher risk of cancer, congenital disabilities, and central nervous system disorders.


On average, women add over 515 chemical compounds to their skin each day. Did you know 60% of these compounds absorb into the blood without being broken down by the gastrointestinal tract?


Why is gut health so important?

 The bacteria living in your gut play such a vital role in your health and wellbeing. They help control digestion and serve your immune system.


The combined community of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other types of tiny organisms live in the gastrointestinal system of humans and animals. They are referred to by many names, such as gut microbiota,  gut flora, microorganisms, gut microbiome - or microbes - for short.


When your microbes lose balance, your body loses its ability to digest food, causing severe gastrointestinal diseases, including:


  • leaky gut syndrome
  • small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • irritable bowel syndrome


Most people are deficient in good-bacteria, due to having excessive harmful bacteria or a shortage of bacterial diversity. One of the reasons is exposure to environmental toxins like synthetic fragrances.

Unbalanced gut flora might initially show itself as a condition that looks almost harmless and discernible. You may experience heartburn, excess gas, bloating, and leaky gut. Unfortunately, when it develops, it can cause something more serious like a chronic disease.


Although the gut is inside our body, it acts like an external organ, like our skin. It prevents harmful substances from entering our body. When the protection wall is compromised by unbalanced bacteria or other factors, foreign molecules can move to the bloodstream.

Sometimes when your gut flora is out of balance, the symptoms seem harmless, like heartburn or excess gas; however, these symptoms can lead to something more serious, like chronic diseases:

  • autoimmune diseases (like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes)
  • gastrointestinal disorders (like inflammatory bowel disease)

To prevent this ruinous decline, revive our gut, and achieve and maintain optimal health, we need to look at the toxic chemicals found in our environment. Synthetic fragrance is everywhere.


Reduce the impact it has on you and your family by doing a simple switch and ditch. By replacing the products that contain synthetic fragrance for a more natural alternative. 


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