Why You Should Avoid Products with “Fragrance” or “Parfum” in the Ingredients

Previously published on Medium

12/27/20232 min read

Let’s cut to the chase. We’re here to talk about why it’s smart to avoid products that don’t fully reveal what’s in their “fragrance” or “parfum.” This guide breaks down the hidden health concerns and suggests wiser choices.

Legal Gaps

Here’s the deal: companies can use these generic terms without revealing what’s inside. That’s a problem. Using products with undisclosed ingredients can impact your health in various ways.

Here are some solid reasons to rethink your shopping choices:

Allergies and Skin Woes

Hidden fragrances can be the culprits behind allergies and skin irritations. From mild itching to severe skin problems, they’re best avoided by choosing fragrance-free options or, if you’re a fan of pleasant scents, opting for natural fragrances derived from essential oils. These natural alternatives provide a more skin-friendly way to enjoy lovely scents.

Breathing Troubles

Inhaling the mystery chemicals concealed behind “fragrance” or “parfum” can lead to respiratory issues. For instance, chemicals like benzene, which might lurk in undisclosed fragrances, can irritate your airways and make it harder to breathe. If you have asthma, these chemicals might worsen your symptoms. So, when it comes to your well-being, it’s best to avoid products that keep you guessing about what you’re inhaling.

Hormonal Disruptions

Phthalates, often hidden behind undisclosed fragrances, can disrupt your hormonal balance. These synthetic chemicals have been linked to endocrine disruption. Hormonal imbalances can have far-reaching effects on your health, affecting everything from mood to metabolism. This is a big concern for people of all ages, as these chemicals can have detrimental long-term effects.

Possible Carcinogenic Links

Some undisclosed fragrance ingredients might even have links to cancer. For instance, certain chemicals like formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, have been found in hidden fragrances. By avoiding products with undisclosed “fragrance” or “parfum,” you’re not only minimizing the risk of immediate skin irritations but also potentially reducing your long-term cancer risk.

The Power of Label Reading

To protect yourself and your family, become a label sleuth. Always read product labels and choose items that disclose their full ingredient list.

Safer Alternatives to Fragrance-Containing Products

Good news — there are safer alternatives for all the products that typically come with a hint of fragrance. Here’s how you can make more informed choices:

Fragrance-Free Personal Care Products

Choose products like shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and lotions that skip the added fragrances. They’ll get the job done without any artificial scents.

Essential Oils and Natural Scents

If you still want a pleasant aroma, consider using essential oils or natural scents. They come from natural sources and offer a wide variety of fragrances to choose from.


Feeling creative? Try making your personal care products at home. This way, you control the ingredients and get to create custom scents you love.


Q: Are all fragrances harmful?

A: Not necessarily, but the lack of transparency makes it impossible to know what you’re exposing yourself to.

Q: What’s the difference between “fragrance-free” and “unscented” products?

A: “Fragrance-free” means no fragrances or masking scents are added, while “unscented” may have fragrances to mask the product’s natural scent.

Q: How can I identify safe products?

A: Look for products with clear ingredient labels, certifications from trusted organizations, and a reputation for transparency.


The potential risks associated with undisclosed fragrances, from allergies and respiratory issues to the possibility of exposure to carcinogens, make it clear that informed consumer choices are essential. By opting for products with transparent ingredient disclosure and, if desired, natural fragrances, you are taking a significant step toward safeguarding your well-being and making choices that prioritize health and safety.