As you are shopping this holiday season, please, please avoid buying, using or exposing your family to synthetically scented candles and other synthetic scented products like body lotion and bath products.
There are plenty of studies on the toxic effects of synthetically scented products, but clinically I can tell you fragrances can wreak havoc on your body! There are certainly some scented products that are made from high quality natural substances. Those can be fine for you. But fragrances are unregulated and can be filled with chemicals that have not been tested and are not safe. If a product has “fragrance” listed as an ingredient, that can be a catch all term for all sorts of stuff you don’t want to be inhaling or absorbing through your skin.
On a few occasions in the past year I’ve had patients who were eating well and were aware of not exposing themselves to chemicals; and yet their bodies had an incredibly intense chemical irritation in them. To the patients this irritation felt like anxiety, inflammation or pain.
We finally figured out their problem was originating with scented candles or air fresheners. One patient had only been exposed to a scented candle for a few hours the day before– but the effects on her body were significant even the next day. The chemicals used to create artificial fragrances are really toxic. That pine tree scented candle or peppermint body wash may feel like it’s making the holiday season brighter… but it is not.
Also be aware of the impact of being in stores with strong scents as well. I began writing this to you while in line at Anthropologie. I love the store, but the artificial fragrances in the air were negatively impacting my body after just 5 minutes. I started getting a mild headache and my lips were getting irritated. If holiday shopping is stressing you out, pay attention to the smells in stores. Avoiding stores with strong scents may make it much easier to shop at the mall.
You may not notice the impact of these chemicals on your body or your family. But if you are having headaches, nausea, anxiety or emotional or skin irritation, that may be your body telling you to its struggling to process these chemicals.
Most people do not react badly to high quality essential oils. If you really want to scent your home, or provide an alternative to a friend or family member who uses fragrances, you can get essential oil diffusers at many stores including Target or online. There are lots and lots of products like this on the market.
Two Essential oil brands I can suggest are doTERRA and Young Living. If you want your home to smell like peppermint or pine, please consider essential oils. If you’d like more information on essential oils, read this. Many people think that certain oils, like tea tree oil, are poisonous to cats. There have not been any scientific studies on that, but cat’s livers do not process chemicals as well as ours do. So they are likely to be more sensitive.
If you are worried about your exposure to artificial fragrances, make an appointment to see me or Will. We can evaluate how your body is responding and if some of your holiday stress or pain may be due to those chemicals.