You may have noticed that your natural perfumes don’t last as long as your synthetic ones. That may feel like the downside of switching to natural, but when you understand why, you may not feel like it’s a downside after all.
There are several forms of phthalates utilised in perfume, the most common being DEP (diethyl phthalate), used as a denaturing agent for alcohol, and as a fixative to hold scent on the skin for longer. Although there has been some action taken in some countries to reduce the extensive use of phthalates (mainly in relation to children’s products), they are still used widely, and continue to pose a serious risk to our health.
Around 1000 chemicals in use worldwide (in many types of products) are classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) due to their ability to mimic or block the action of natural hormones and interfere with development and function.
EDCs have been linked to adverse impacts on both the endocrine and nervous systems (which are intimately intertwined), and have been known to alter important animal behaviours by modulating serotonin and dopamine in the body (neurotransmitters which regulate many functions including mood, sleep and cognition), as well as other neurotransmitter pathways.
Ever considered that the synthetic scents you love could be contributing to your mental health challenges? Research shows that some of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrance can negatively impact your nervous system, hormones and cortisol, leading to (or exacerbating) feelings of anxiety and/or depression.