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

Zoreslav SeredaLife
Some ingredients in fragrances are used in industrial chemistry.

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

The List explains what effects 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 to be common endocrine disruptors. Daily spraying of this substance on the skin is quite dangerous, as it can lead to hormone levels that spike, and the 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 phthalates in perfumes are the cause.

In addition, this ingredient can contribute to obesity by reducing metabolic rate. The effects of constant skin exposure to this substance 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.

Muscle 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 the ingredients carefully. It is especially important for people with sensitive skin, dermatitis and acne to pay attention to this, as using fragrances with this ingredient will only make the situation worse.

In addition, musk ketone is a hormone disruptor that boosts testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, insulin, and progesterone. If you notice rapid changes in your emotional state, fatigue, or increased hunger, you should also check 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 perfumery that can cause significant harm to the body is styrene. Despite the fact that the ingredient is not expensive, it is often found in perfumes of well-known brands, the price of which can reach more than $200.

This is surprising, but in fact, styrene is a flammable liquid that resembles petrol. 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 it 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.


Many people have not even heard of benzaldehyde, but this chemical is quite common and is found in a wide variety of products, 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 in the body, this substance can cause central nervous system disorders, slurred speech, drowsiness, skin irritation, nausea, kidney damage and even respiratory failure.

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 be harmful. It should especially be avoided by pregnant women, as this compound can have a negative long-term impact on the human body.

Ethylene glycol can cause hormonal imbalances, which can negatively affect mental health, trigger asthma, and even harm 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, found in modern cosmetics and perfumes, is mostly a synthetic compound derived from turpentine oil. 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 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, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studied this ingredient and found it 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 composition of such products carefully.


Acetaldehyde is another ingredient that is commonly found in perfumes, but can be even more toxic than most of the other components mentioned above. Prolonged exposure to this substance can lead to respiratory system disorders, lung irritation, irritation, and hormonal "swings".

It is used in perfumery to make the scent fresher and lighter. In addition, it imparts a slightly citrusy scent that many people associate with a spa holiday. It is also so popular because the addition of this compound makes perfumes more durable.


Limonene is a rather dangerous chemical compound with a sweet 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 should be noted 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. This chemical can be dangerous if used for a long period of time, as it can cause chemical burns in addition to skin irritation if a person has sensitive skin or dermatological conditions.

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 declared 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.

As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, according to the Consumers Union, up to 40% of perfumes in Ukraine are counterfeit. It is sold at a price several times lower than the original. At the same time, such goods can cause an allergic reaction and harm health.

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