Friday, January 29, 2021

What Is A Fragrance Sensitivity? Natural vs Synthetic?


I'm sure some of you have this same experience.  You are walking through the mall and you see one of those shops that offer all sorts of goodies like shower gels, light refreshing sprays and as you enter the store, your nose begins to clog up and you sneeze. Not just one time, but multiple times and rather than continue in, you turn around and leave. You probably have a fragrance sensitivity.

A sensitivity does not mean you necessarily have an allergenic reaction since fragrances are not usually considered allergens but they are irritants.  Because they are irritants, they may trigger reactions similar to allergenic reactions.  The big difference between an allergen and an irritant is that an allergen causes your body to release chemicals to fight it while an irritant just causes your eyes to water and your nose to drip. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of the population has a sensitivity to fragrances. 

There is also a debate in here about natural versus synthetic fragrances.  Some people will tell you that fewer people have reactions to natural scents while others will tell you that it makes no difference.  In general natural fragrances are defined as being made from plants via distillation, expression, or extraction. Only natural fragrances can be used in products labeled natural.

Since natural fragrances are made from plant materials, there is a possibility that more people will react to various ingredients just as they might in their daily life. 

On the other hand, synthetic fragrances are made from chemicals that are not always from natural substances. The biggest differences between synthetic and natural is the cost, how they are made, and the type of consumer.  In addition, many companies use synthetic ingredients to make fragrances more complex and last longer.  

Furthermore, synthetic scents are created to imitate natural scents. Sometimes synthetic scents carry many of the same chemicals as the natural ones but they are mixed with other ingredients to create the same scent. There is usually a lot of research and development for every synthetic scent but once the formulas are created, they are much easier to produce in quantity while costing less. 

Some synthetic scents are synthesized in the lab but they only modify the chemical structure of natural materials so this method straddles the line between natural and synthetic.  In addition, companies will sometimes create synthetic alternatives to rare plants or animals rather than deplete the natural supply even further.

My view is to use those scented items I can without reacting other wise I use scent free or fragrance free items. I don't pay attention to whether they are natural or synthetic but it can't have a heavy smell.  I prefer something with a light scent, almost light enough to tease the nose with "Am I really here?". Anything heavier and I react.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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