Here is my why and I knew it was time to stop using perfume. My babies.
Have you ever sat next to anyone who had used so much perfume, the odour gave you a headache?
Have you then been able to still smell that perfume on you hours later when you were no longer near that person?
I have. And I regularly still do. And in the last three years I have found it has become more and more bothersome, affecting my health significantly. I get an almost instant headache. I become foggy in my thinking and feel a little quesy in my belly. And I feel certain, I am not alone. It is time to stop using perfume.
When my children were born, I stopped wearing perfume. In my mountains of pregnancy reading, I had learned that that all mammals use their sense of smell to help develop the mother infant bond and that newborns can perceive their mothers breast or underarm odour from meters away (Eliot, 2019 and Braun, 2017). Understanding this, I wore minimal deodorant and no other scented products in the days and weeks after I gave birth as one element to improve the connection between mother and child.
And it wasn’t until the weeks went on and I noticed when people came to visit us as a new family, if they were wearing perfume, I started to feel a headache coming on. Assuming it was just new motherhood, it took a while for me to make the connection and it wasn’t until one day I could smell perfume on one of the babies long after our visitor had left that I realised I must starting to be affected by the artificial fragrances and chemical present.
So, if this is affecting me as an adult, what is it doing to my brand new precious baby? Are infants really affected by odours?
The simple answer is yes.
While in utero, infants are connected to the mother extensively through sound and smell (Vaglio, 2009). The amniotic fluid provides an element of sensory stimuli in the last trimester of pregnancy as the olfactory system begins to become functional (de Bellefonds, 2019).
It is believed this connection, as the child is born and suddenly transitions into its new world, is fragile and has the potential to soothe the infant as it becomes accustomed to its new life outside the womb.
A mother’s breast, a potent sense of odour similar to the comfort of amniotic fluid, allows a child to feel a sense of comfort and safety and studies have shown an increase in child attachment and feeding through the safety of sight and sound of the mother.
As this attachment phase changes and grows in response to environmental stimuli, studies show that while infants still respond to voice and touch and facial recognition of other carers, they form the strongest attachment to the maternal odour with both mother and child able to recognise each other by smell alone (Vaglio, 2009).
Therefore, knowing this connection between odour and attachment is so strong, it also reasons to consider:
“What is actually in perfumes and colognes that we are exposing ourselves and our babies to? “
And any simple internet search will expose one word primarily.
Phthalates are a growing source of concern for those wanting to reduce their toxin load and make healthier life choices when it comes to health care products (Deadly Scent: Toxic Perfume Chemicals, 2019).
THey are a ‘plasticizer compound’ that is used to make fragrance last longer and are in a range of everyday plastic products (Stuart, 2018). There is evidence linking phthalates to hormonal disruption, increased cancer risks, low sperm production, mood disturbances and skin conditions. It is time to stop using perfume.
Around 95% of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives which are possible carcinongens, aldehydes, toluene and many other chemicals that are linked to cancer, hormone issues, skin allergies, respiratory issues, fertility issues and disorders of the nervous systems.
Are you worried?
You should be. These products are absorbed in some way into our bodies. And while our skin does an incredible job, it just can’t keep all these chemicals at bay.
But what possibly is even more alarming is this.
Due to current regulations, there are no requirements for companies to even disclose exactly what they are including in their fragrances. There could be any number of products used, up to 3000 of which are chemically based ingredients with known potentially toxic effects.
It is time to stop using perfume. Stop wearing it for a week, for two. And see what happens.
Do you start to feel a little headachy or foggy when someone near you ‘spritzes’ after lunch? Do you find the smell of certain cleaning products in your home, stronger than usual?
So where to from here?
I have now been perfume free for almost three years. In that time I have also successfully converted to natural deodorant and soap products.
The simplest way – if you don’t understand a product on the ingredient list, don’t buy it.
- Avoid any products that don’t include a full ingredient list
- Use basic internet searches to build your understanding of chemicals in the products you use on your body and in your home
- Consider the move to essential oils to support your daily living. Not only do they smell amazing, they can improve your everyday living practices.
Let me know how you go by commenting below!
Take care and swap it out!,