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26 February 2012

Perfumes, Deodorants, and Body Sprays


Perfumes, Deodorants, and Body Sprays:

We love to wear fragrances. It is true that there is very powerful connection between scent and memory, as well as scent and emotion. Our love for fragrance has allowed marketers to reach their audience by linking fragrance with a desired quality such as ‘Sexiness’, or ‘Freshness’, or ‘Innocence’. This message is so pervasive that we feel it necessary to wear a fragrance in order to be desirable or feel sexy that fragrance is considered a 'normal' component of our everyday lives.

Fragrances are used in an wide variety of fields, including Perfumes proper, cosmetic products, Hygienic products, Drugs, Detergents and other Household products, Plastics, Industrial greases, Oils and Solvents, Foods, etc. Their composition is usually complex and it involves numerous natural and synthetic sweet-smelling constituents.

Perfumes, Colognes and Body sprays are often called “Fragrances”. But under the law, the term fragrance is defined as a combination of chemicals that gives each perfume or cologne its distinct scent. Fragrance ingredients may be produced by chemical synthesis
or derived from petroleum or natural raw materials. Companies that manufacture perfume or cologne or sprays purchase Fragrance mixtures from fragrance houses (companies that specialize in developing fragrances) to develop their own proprietary blends/brands. Perfumes, Colognes, and Sprays also contain solvents, stabilizers, UVabsorbers, preservatives and dyes. These additives are frequently, but not always, listed on product labels. In contrast, the chemical components in fragrance itself are protected as trade secrets and described on the label only as “fragrance”.

Deodorants and Body Sprays are substances applied to the body to affect body odor caused by bacterial growth and the smell associated with bacterial breakdown of perspiration in armpits, feet and other areas of the body. Their main function is to smell nice, and not prevent sweating or odors.
Mechanism of Action is
  • neutralizing the smell of the perspiration mixed with bacteria
  • antiseptic action against that bacteria
Deodorants are healthier than antiperspirants because they don’t interfere with perspiration, but many conventional brands contain harsh, potentially toxic ingredients.
The chemicals found in sprays such as butane and propane can contribute to skin irritation for some. Fragrance-free deodorant sprays made from natural mineral salts are becoming increasingly popular for consumers who suffer from sensitive skin or fragrance sensitivities these days.


Antiperspirants, a subgroup of deodorants, (Sprays, Roll on or Sticks) affect odor as well as prevent sweating by affecting sweat glands. Antiperspirants are typically applied to the underarms, while deodorants may also be used on feet and other areas in the form of body sprays. Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores with aluminum ions so they cannot release perspiration.  Aluminum is a hazardous material that the FDA allows to be added to body care products in regulated amounts.  There is no proof that these “regulated amounts” of what is essentially poisonous to the human body are actually safe. Arguments against the use of aluminum emphasize the fact that aluminum accumulates in the brain over a period and may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancers. Aluminium salts have been established as a neurotoxin. At high doses, aluminium itself adversely affects the blood-brain barrier, and is capable of causing DNA damage, and has adverse epigenetic effects. Research has shown that high doses of the aluminium salts used in antiperspirants have detrimental effects to a number of species such as non-human primates, mice, and dogs.
Recent studies on the effects of aluminum and the dangers of antiperspirant usage suggest that it travels more easily into the lymphatic system when underarms are shaved.  
Our antiperspirant label may list aluminum as:
  • aluminum chlorohydrate
  • ammonium aluminum sulfate
  • potassium aluminum sulfate
  • aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly.
In many countries, deodorants are classified and regulated as cosmetics by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Antiperspirants are classified as drugs by the FDA.

The Physiology of Perspiration:

The Apocrine glands are the reason that underarm perspiration smells stronger than the sweat secreted by the rest of the body.  The two types of sweat glands that cover the human skin are:

  • Apocrine, or scent, glands located only in the armpit, ear, navel, nipple, and genital regions
  • Eccrine glands do the work of regulating the body’s temperature by secreting a watery sweat over the skin.  This sweat quickly evaporates and maintains the body temperature.
In hot weather or under stress or hard exercise, excessive perspiration exceeds the rate of evaporation.  Sweat produced by the eccrine glands does not contribute to body odor because eccrine sweat contains no substances that are attractive to bacteria.  Apocrine sweat, on the other hand, contains organic compounds that are quickly populated by bacteria on the surface of the skin.  This bacterial activity is what produces underarm odor.
Human perspiration is largely odorless until it is fermented by bacteria that thrive in hot and humid environments. Our underarm is among the most consistently warm areas on the surface of our body, and sweat glands provide moisture, which when excreted, has a vital cooling effect. When adult armpits are washed with alkaline pH soap, the skin loses its acid mantle (pH 4.5 - 6), raising the skin pH and disrupting the skin barrier. As many bacteria thrive in this elevated pH environment, this makes the skin susceptible to bacterial colonization. The bacteria feed on the sweat from the apocrine glands and on dead skin and hair cells, releasing trans-3-Methyl-2-hexenoic acid in their waste, which is the primary cause of body odor. Underarm hair wicks the moisture away from the skin and aids in keeping the skin dry enough to prevent or diminish bacterial colonization. The hair is less susceptible to bacterial growth and therefore is ideal for preventing the bacterial (body) odor.

The US FDA says that people with renal dysfunction may not be aware that the daily use of antiperspirant drug products containing aluminum may put them at a higher risk because of exposure to aluminium in the product." The agency warns people with renal dysfunction to consult a doctor before using antiperspirants containing aluminum.


Yes, your Perfumes, Colognes, Deodorants, and Body Sprays contains…
(The List being so long, we are considering few ingredients here).

  • Coumarin :
    Previously the active ingredient in rat poison. A carcinogenic ingredient used in the manufacturing of deodorants, shampoos, skin fresheners and perfumes.

  • Parabens :From 1998 on, reports started appearing stating that parabens had
    estrogenic-like activity in mice, in rats, and in human breast cancer cells in the lab. Since most breast cancers respond to estrogen the link between deodorants and breast cancer did not seem so outlandish anymore. So, currently, questioning the safety of applying hormone-mimicking compounds to an area so close to the breast appears to have gained some legitimacy. In addition, estrogen/progesterone Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was found to significantly increase breast cancer risk making the paraben-cancer connection even more badly. New study actually tells us that up to now it was known that parabens could be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract or the blood, metabolized, and eventually excreted in the urine. But now the presence of intact parabens in tumor tissue shows that these chemicals can not only be absorbed through the skin but can also persist and accumulate in breast cancer tissue in their original form, without being degraded. This is shocking information. We do not yet know how long they can persist and what effects they might have. The chemical form of the parabens found in breast tumors suggests that the source is probably from underarm cosmetics.

  • Diethyl phthalate is a fragrance solvent that has been associated with adverse effects on the development of the reproductive system in epidemiological studies. Although research is not yet definitive on the mechanism of DEP toxicity, findings from human studies raise strong concerns about the safety of DEP exposures.

  • Benzyl salicylate, benzyl benzoate and scent chemical
            lilial (butylphenyl methylpropional) have been demonstrated estrogenic   
            activity in a recent study with human breast cancer cells.

  • a-Terpineol: highly irritating to mucous membranes, aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema., also can cause excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, CNS respiratory depression, headache, prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact, found in perfumes and cologne.

  • Benzaldehyde: narcotic, sensitizer, local anesthetic, CNS depressant, irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, an GI tract, causing nausea and abdominal pain, may cause kidney damage, do not use with contact lenses. Found in perfume, cologne, and body sprays.

  • Benzyl acetate: carcinogenic, linked to pancreatic cancer, from vapors irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough, can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects, is used in perfumes and colognes, and deodorants.

  • Petroleum distillates: extremely hazardous for humans, may cause cancer, lung damage if swallowed, many chemicals are petroleum based, for example 95% of all synthetic fragrances creating serious health problems.


Yes there are Chemical sensitizers (skin irritants) in perfumes, colognes and body sprays that can cause Allergic effects associated with exposure to such fragranced products.

There are Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals in perfumes, colognes, and body sprays.

There are twelve fragrance chemicals that may affect sex hormones and the thyroid function.


In most of the countries, cosmetics law does not provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require safety testing for fragrances or to approve fragrances prior to their sale. Nor does the FDA itself systematically review the safety of cosmetic and fragrance ingredients.

Products we put on our bodies should not contain chemicals that could damage our health. Yet due to gaping holes in government law, it is perfectly legal for perfumes, colognes, and body spray products manufacturers to contain sensitizers, hormone disruptors, reproductive toxicants, carcinogens and other toxic chemicals linked to harmful health effects.

So what can we do about?

Yes we need smarter laws and greater public awareness to have safer products.

Comprehensive safe cosmetics legislation is necessary to give the FDA the authority and resources it needs to ensure cosmetics are free of toxic chemicals. New health-protective policies are needed to protect the safety and health of the people from toxic, untested and unregulated chemicals in the cosmetics and personal care products we buy every day and should include:
• Ingredients suggesting linked to cancer and birth defects must be phased out of  
  cosmetics.
• To create a Health based Safety Standard and all ingredients in cosmetics must meet  
  that health-based safety standard that includes protections for children and other
  vulnerable populations.
• Pre-market safety assessment of cosmetics ingredients that includes protections for  
  children and other vulnerable populations.
• Required listing on product labels of all chemical constituent ingredients in personal
  care products, including fragrances and contaminants.
• Health and safety data-sharing across the globe to avoid duplicative testing and
  encourage transparency and alternatives to animal testing.
• Government support for the creation of innovative solutions and safe alternatives to toxic
  chemicals in cosmetics.
• Government support for small businesses to help them meet legal regulations for safer
  products.
• Adequate Budgeting and funding and support to the FDA to provide effective oversight
   of the cosmetics industry.

Q  : Which is better? To drink your perfume (Chemicals) or apply it to your skin?
A  : When you drink your perfume(Chemicals), your body will absorb it from the
       gastrointestinal tract, get it metabolized, and eventually excreted in the urine.
      
When you apply it to your skin, it rapidly enters your body intact and starts damaging your vital organs.
Ya...but don't ever try that either...









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