Going Fragrance Free

When I moved to Austin about 10 years ago I started working at a Wellness Clinic. One day a client came in and was waiting in the lobby. She complained to me that the candles we had were scented and gave her a headache. At the time, I thought she was being dramatic, but now, I am totally that lady!! You see, we’re essentially a scent-free household, so any synthetic fragrance really gets to me. In fact, when I was pregnant, it was so bad I couldn’t even walk down the detergent aisle at the grocery store.

What exactly is “fragrance” you may ask?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) fragrance can be any variety of over 3,000 different chemicals.

Due in part to FDA trade secret laws, companies are not required to list which chemicals make up their particular scent. This is true for perfumes, shampoos, makeup, lotions, candles, etc.

What is most concerning to me are the products that we apply directly to our skin. Although thoughts vary, some natural health professionals claim it takes just over 20 seconds for a product to be absorbed into your skin and possibly your blood stream.

If we don’t know what is in our products, how do we know what chemicals we are being exposed to?

The EWG reports that Phthalates found in many products is a big concern: “Phthalates, used to make fragrances last longer, are associated damage to the male reproductive system, and artificial musks accumulate in our bodies and can be found in breast milk. Some artificial musks are even linked to cancer.” 

In a world that is full of fragrances, what are we to do?

I started by buying scent-free soaps, shampoos and laundry detergent. If you have a favorite perfume that you just can’t live without, apply it to your clothing rather than your skin.

I stopped using scented plug-ins and room sprays. Instead I diffuse essential oils in my home.

Natural bees wax candles are also a great option. Going fragrance free does take some extra effort, but overall, it has been an easy adjustment for our family.

Being an informed consumer is the best way to control what fragrances and/or chemicals you are exposed to. 


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