Top 10 dangerous ingredients in popular perfumes: think twice before you buy

Zoreslav SeredaLife
Some ingredients in fragrances are also used in industrial chemicals

Although most people associate perfumes with pleasant sensations, they can contain harmful chemicals. Long-term exposure to such compounds can cause significant harm to the human body.

The List explains what kind of impact various components of perfumes have and which ones should be avoided.


One of the most common ingredients that can pose a threat is phthalates. These chemical compounds are considered common endocrine disruptors. Daily spraying of this substance on the skin is quite dangerous because it can lead to hormone levels spikes, and a person will not even know the real reason for such changes in the body.

Rapid weight loss or gain, irritability, insomnia, and irregular periods can all be the result of changes in the body's hormonal levels. It is possible that this is caused by phthalates in perfumes.

In addition, this ingredient can contribute to obesity by reducing metabolic rate. The consequences of constant exposure to this substance on the skin are no less harmful for men, as testosterone levels can drop. In addition, phthalates can cause significant damage to internal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Top 10 dangerous ingredients in popular perfumes: think twice before you buy

Musk ketone

Another of the most harmful ingredients in cosmetics, skin care products, and perfumes is musk ketone. Do not think that such compounds can be found only in cheap fragrances, because it is also present in the perfumes of well-known brands that promise quality but forget about safety.

The fact is that musk ketone irritates the skin, so if you have a rash, itching, or redness in the places where you usually spray your perfume, read its composition carefully. It's especially important for people with sensitive skin, dermatitis, and acne to pay attention to this, because using fragrances with this ingredient will only make the situation worse.

In addition, musk ketone is a hormone disruptor that boosts your testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, insulin, and progesterone. If you notice rapid changes in your emotional state, fatigue, or increased hunger, it's also worth checking for the presence of ketone in your perfume or cosmetics.

Logically, the question arises: if this compound is so dangerous, why is it used even by the world's most famous cosmetic companies? The answer is very simple - this ingredient gives perfumes a pleasant musky smell.


Another component used in perfumes that can cause significant harm to the body is styrene. Although the ingredient is not expensive, it is often found in perfumes of famous brands, which can cost more than $200.

This is surprising, but in fact, styrene is a flammable liquid that resembles gasoline. It is usually found in rubber, latex, and polystyrene. Why is such a powerful chemical used in the beauty industry? The fact is that this component significantly increases the durability of the fragrance, but at the same time is quite dangerous for the body.

The constant use of styrene can harm the functions of the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and even affect a person's concentration. If you feel depressed, overly tired, or suffer from migraines, check the ingredients of your perfume or cosmetics, as they may contain styrene.

Top 10 dangerous ingredients in popular perfumes: think twice before you buy


Despite the presence of many harmful ingredients in perfumes, not all of them can compete with the negative impact on the body with BHT. This chemical compound, also known as butylated hydroxytoluene, is quite toxic and leads to skin irritation and allergies. Moreover, constant exposure to this substance can even cause cancer.

BHT is often used in perfumes as a preservative to make the fragrances last longer. However, when perfumes containing this substance get on the body, it acts like estrogen. This leads to disruptions in the hormonal system of women and men. This provokes increased sweating, acne, and other symptoms. In addition, it can accumulate in the body, so you should carefully read the composition of your favorite perfume. Moreover, pay attention to the composition of chips and butter, as sometimes this ingredient can be found there as well.


Many people have never even heard of benzaldehyde, but this chemical compound is quite common and can be found in almost any product: from perfumes to dishwashing detergents and deodorants. It is noted that in small amounts, this substance will not necessarily cause much harm, but most people are exposed to this chemical on a daily basis, causing accumulation in the body, which is not good for health.

According to a 1991 EPA study, benzaldehyde is found in a significant number of perfumes and can cause significant harm to the human body if inhaled. Once ingested, this substance can cause central nervous system disorders, slurred speech, drowsiness, skin irritation, nausea, kidney damage, and even respiratory failure.

Top 10 dangerous ingredients in popular perfumes: think twice before you buy

Ethylene glycol

Ethylene glycol is one of the most common chemical ingredients in the world and can be found in many perfumes. Although it is a standard ingredient in cosmetics and various fragrances, it can still be harmful. It should be especially avoided by pregnant women, as this compound can have negative long-term effects on the human body.

Ethylene glycol can cause hormonal imbalances, which can negatively affect mental health, trigger asthma, and even damage the reproductive system. To understand how toxic this substance is, it is enough to look at the list of products where it is used, namely: antifreeze, paint, industrial solvents and other powerful chemicals.

Although it is noted that the absorption of this substance through the skin is "unlikely," it is not worth the risk. After all, a significant amount of this chemical compound in the body can become toxic.


Camphor, which is found in modern cosmetics and perfumes, is in most cases a synthetic compound derived from turpentine oil. In other words, it is a paint thinner that should be kept away from the skin and the human body in general.

This substance is quite dangerous and can even cause a number of symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, and even seizures. If you experience any of these symptoms for no reason, check the ingredients list of your perfume for camphor. In 1991, this ingredient was investigated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and found to be toxic to the human body when inhaled.

It is worth noting that this ingredient can be found not only in perfumes, but also in shaving creams, nail polishes, and air fresheners, so you need to be careful and read the ingredients of such products carefully.

Top 10 dangerous ingredients in popular perfumes: think twice before you buy


Another ingredient that is often found in perfumes, but can be even more toxic than most of the other components mentioned above, is acetaldehyde. Long-term exposure to this substance can lead to respiratory system disorders, lung irritation, irritation, and hormonal "swings."

It is used in perfumes to make the fragrance fresher and lighter. In addition, it imparts a slightly citrusy scent that many people associate with a spa vacation. It's also so popular because it makes perfumes last longer.


Limonene is a rather dangerous chemical compound with a sweetish lemon aroma. It is very often used in the manufacture of citrus fragrances, so you should carefully look at the composition, most likely this substance will be present among the ingredients.

It is worth noting that this compound can cause significant harm to the human body, namely to organs such as the heart, liver, and lungs. In addition, prolonged exposure can cause fatigue, headaches, skin irritation, and nerve damage.

Methylene chloride

Methylene chloride is another common ingredient in perfumes. It is used as a solvent for other ingredients in various cosmetics and fragrances. If used for a long time, this chemical can be dangerous, because in addition to skin irritation, it can cause chemical burns if a person has sensitive skin or dermatological diseases.

To understand how dangerous this substance is, it is enough to look at the products in which it is used: pesticides and septic tank cleaners, which are not things that should come into contact with the skin. In addition, it is often found in paint, polyurethane foam, and other chemicals.

It was recognized as toxic and banned by the FDA for use in perfumes back in 1988. However, it can still be found under the disguised name of "fragrance," so it is very important to avoid perfumes with such names in the composition.

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