The Harmful Effects of Artificial Fragrances

by | Mar 22, 2023

What are artificial fragrances, and how do you start detoxing from your life?

What if I told you your self-care routine and addiction to cleanliness were HARMING your health as opposed to increasing your health?

What if your scent obsession and dousing yourself and your home with all these ‘smelly’ products actually had a heavier price tag on them than you initially thought? That price tag being the cost of your health and well-being?

I know what you’re thinking, and this was difficult for me to process too! But if you understand the impact of microparticles and fumes on products that contain artificial fragrances on our entire body, most specifically the endocrine system, you might feel differently… If you’re anything like my former self, I’ve had plug-in air fresheners in every single room possible. Diffusers, scented candles, and I even used to use those pellets in my washing so I could smell EXTRA fragrance-y!! I’d practically wash myself in perfume just so I could keep the smell lingering on me all day long. It was borderline scent addiction! But after an overnight awakening that led me to research every single product I had in my home and every single chemical they contained and their toxicity to the body, I had to clear out my entire life and start again!

The thing with artificial fragrances is they are just that… artificial! If something is “artificial,” it means it has been re-created using chemicals. The chemicals used in artificial fragrances are usually Phthalates which disrupt the Endocrine System. Our Endocrine System is made up of the glands and organs that create all our hormones and then release them directly into our bloodstream so they can be distributed to tissues and all other organs in the body. It is a vital part of human health. If our hormone levels are deeply impacted continually, this can lead to many health concerns, such as low sperm count and quality, abnormalities in sex organs, endometriosis, poor immune function, cancer and respiratory issues.

Other chemicals in artificial fragrances, such as Benzophenone and Styrene, are carcinogenic, which means ‘cancer causing.’

When it came to weighing up the want to smell good and the detrimental impact this was having on my body over time, it made no logical sense to continue on this path of self-destruction! After going to scent addiction rehab and completely clearing out my entire home of all artificial fragrances, it completely changed my life. It has been 3 years, and I now can’t be within a metre of a sprayed toxic chemical concoction or even a nicely placed diffuser on the side. My nasal passages and lungs appreciate the simple life, and it really doesn’t take long to adjust to never wanting to inhale these scents ever again.

Here is a list of just some of the items containing artificial fragrances that I’d suggest heavily limiting exposure to or ditching altogether:


      • Scented candles, including Soy and Paraffin

      • Reed Diffusers

      • Plug-in air fresheners

      • Incense

      • Commercial Room sprays (aerosol and pump spray)

      • All commercial laundry detergents, fabric softeners and scent enhancers

      • All commercial perfumes, aftershaves and body sprays (aerosols are even WORSE for us, but that’s a whole other topic…)

      • Commercial Deodorant

      • Commercial Body Wash

      • Commercial Hand Soap and Antibacterial Hand Gel

    Of course, I still appreciate the scent and take care of myself and my home, and it has taken me a couple of years to find amazing alternatives to the above list. So to save you some time and trouble, here are the beautiful alternatives I have tried and tested that you can switch to straight away to start your journey to detoxing and a cleaner and healthier life!


    Giving up my favourite ‘Gucci Guilty’ scent was one of the hardest things I had to do… at the time! Perhaps the ‘Guilty’ title was Gucci shamefully admitting their part played in impacting the population’s health with its toxic Eau de Parfum!!

    If you aren’t ready to remove perfume and aftershave from your life completely, I understand. Perhaps start by limiting yourself to use on special occasions to lessen the toxic load.

    My go-to perfumes now are Epiphany Magical Well-being Handcrafted Essential Oil Perfumes. You can also try St. Palo Palo Santo Perfume Necklaces!

    Incense Room Sprays and Air Fresheners

    Many Aerosol sprays contain highly toxic chemicals like Xylene and Formaldehyde. These particular chemicals also contain neurotoxins and carcinogens that are extremely hazardous for humans and animals when inhaled and ingested.

    You know that choking feeling you get when you walk through a haze of room freshener or hairspray? That is the highly toxic load from cancer causing chemicals impacting your endocrine system and respiratory system and your body’s natural detoxing reaction to cough and release them.

    The same applies to things like incense that releases certain hydrocarbons which have also been linked to cancer. Some alternatives are:


        • Essential Oil Diffuser or Humidifier (Use Organic, high-quality oils only)

        • St.Palo Palo Santo Diffuser – this is a beautiful ceramic burner that avoids the smokey effects created by burning Palo Santo with a naked flame

        • Burning Sage – ensure you are purchasing high-quality sage smudge sticks from reputable handmade sellers

      Scented Soy/Paraffin Candles

      I LOVE CANDLES! As I am sure whoever is reading this does too… you can’t beat a bath ritual with some candles or an evening wrapped up and surrounded by candlelight. So I now limit my use of candles and try to be conscious of the type of candle I purchase. Remember, it is going to be nearly impossible to live a completely toxin free life. I am certainly not suggesting that you remove everything you love from your life all at once like I initially did. But you CAN lessen the toxic load by making simple changes and just being more conscious of how much you use these products… Perhaps limit your burn time of certain candles or switch to Beeswax candles which are either un-scented or infused with organic essential oils.


      This has taken me a long time to find the right one that isn’t full of other nasties such as aluminium but that also works for me. This will be personal for everyone as we all perspire differently. It is also important to understand that sweating is a vital path for toxin removal so stopping the sweating process altogether is not healthy. However, I understand no one wants to be a dripping, smelly mess either! I personally can’t use coconut oil products as it tends to clog my pores and make me sweat more!

      Do some research into natural deodorants and ensure all ingredients are natural and don’t just buy into the cleverly worded front-of-package marketing.

      My favourite is AKT London which is a mix of bicarbonate of soda and essential oils with a little non-nano zinc oxide. I personally love ‘After the Thunder’ scent!

      Body Wash

      Continually washing our delicate skin with phthalates, parabens and sulphates can have detrimental impacts to not just our skin but our endocrine system too. I now only use a completely natural body wash which is Fierce Nature’s Soap Bar containing Pure Organic Tallow, Orange Essential Oil and Clove Bud Oil! Animal fat is the most nourishing thing for our skin without being comedogenic and clogging pores and causing outbreaks.

      Hand Wash

      The world has become so obsessed with cleanliness that it has become completely counterintuitive. People are striving for the complete removal of germs to avoid getting sick, but in the process they are making themselves far more sick. SPOILER ALERT – you aren’t constantly getting sick from ‘germs’. Your body is having to more frequently purge from over toxicity.

      When our bodies become overloaded with harmful toxins found in all these products supposedly keeping us ‘healthy’ and ‘germ free’, it needs to purge this toxicity somehow which results in the onset of colds, flu, coughs, sickness and many other dis-eases.

      The chemicals found in antibacterial soaps and hand washes are FULL of carcinogenic chemicals such as Benzene and Triclosan. Many studies are now being done on the harmful impacts of anti-bac hand gels and soaps and many hand sanitisers have been recalled and removed from sale due to their high levels of carcinogenic chemicals.

      Instead, use a natural hand made soap that gently cleans the skin without impacting your health.

      Dr Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap is available in various scents using only essential oils!

      As I have said above, it is an impossible task trying to become completely toxin free in a heavily toxin based world. Just walking down the street and inhaling the air has toxic implications from pollution. But even just the smallest of changes, over time, can lead to a healthier and happier body. By minimising your toxic load and maximising ways in which your body can remove these harmful chemicals from the body, it will gradually start to heal over time.

      How to Detoxify the Body

      So now you have started to cut out some of the products above and you’re wondering how else you can start to actively work on removing some of the built up toxicity…

      The human body is truly amazing! Even without our assistance it knows how to detoxify itself through various functions:


          • Sweat

          • Tears

          • Excretion

          • Skin

          • Breath

          • Mucus

          • Energy Release

        These are all the methods our body uses in order to clear our systems from the built up toxicity we have accumulated over a period of time. Which is why when we start to lessen the amount of harmful chemicals we use, the less we will be prone to colds, coughs and flu. If the above toxin elimination pathways are not working correctly, our body will always find another way to signal to us that it needs more care and attention.

        Here are some simple ways you can start working with your body to release toxic loads more efficiently:

        Dry skin brushing with hot and cold showering

        Manually stimulate the lymphatic system to help drain any fluid built up within the lymph nodes.

        Tip – Apply medium to firm pressure with a dry body brush stroking upwards towards the heart. Start with your legs and work up your body. Do this for approximately 5-10 minutes each day before showering. Even a really quick brush across the skin will stimulate the lymphatic system! Then jump in the shower and turn from hot to cold 2-3 times. Always finish on cold!

        Lymphatic Drainage Massage

        Lymphatic drainage massage is very similar to the technique described above, however this involves seeing a trained specialist who can manually massage your body to assist in moving the lymph fluid and draining any extra fluid from the body and releasing toxins in the process.

        Benefits include enhancing the immune system, alleviation of conditions such as glandular fever, ME, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, sinus issues, cellulite, skin conditions and digestive issues. All of which are caused by high levels of toxicity in the body.

        Speak to Debbie at Luminate for further information on Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage

        Infrared Sauna’s

        Assists your body to release toxicity through sweating. There is proof in research that long-term use of infrared saunas has helped heal conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes and arthritis.

        Tip – I use the sauna at Luminate 1-2 times per week and it leaves me feeling rejuvenated and glowing! I would suggest starting with about 20-30 minutes in the sauna, or for as long as your body can handle and working your way up to 60 minutes and possibly even longer. Saunas can also be used alongside hot and cold therapy to enhance lymphatic drainage.

        Book an Infrared Sauna Session at Luminate

        Herbal Medicine

        Luminate has its very own herbalist who specialises in iridiology, the study of the patterns and colours of the iris of the eye to determine information about a person’s overall health. Sarah can determine everything from mineral deficiencies to which organs are under pressure and need extra assistance. With her expertise and a thorough understanding of you and your bodies story to date, she will create tailor-made, specialist herbal blends and tinctures to assist your body in removing toxicity and working more efficiently.

        Watch out for an up and coming blog I will be releasing talking all about my Iridology journey with Sarah!

        Speak to Sarah at Luminate for an Iridology Consultation

        Wellbeing First

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