Artificial fragrances have been linked to allergies, dermatitis, eczema and other problems, they can exacerbate asthmatic symptoms, may contain chemicals linked to cancer, damaging to the liver and kidneys and toxic to the nervous system.
Some facts about synthetic fragrance:
• There are no legal restrictions on the quantities or combinations of fragrance chemicals that may be used in cosmetics
• The ingredients of perfumes do not have to listed
• 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compound derived from petroleum
• Fragrance chemicals appear on the label as "parfum" in the EU or "fragrance" in the USA.
• A typical cosmetic can contain 50 - 100 fragrances, which the industry claims to be too many to be easily listed.
• Only a fraction of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances have been safety tested by industry; some are capable of triggering breathing difficulties allergic reactions and multiple chemical sensitivities1
Phthalates (pronounced tha-lates) are a group of chemicals also often used to enhance fragrances. They have been linked to reproductive damage.
Research has also shown that perfume is the most common cause of contact allergy in men. It is believed to be due the fact that they shave, and damage the skin thus making it easier for the fragrance chemicals to be absorbed.
It would seem likely then that women shaving their legs and underarms, before applying products containing synthetic fragrance would have a similar risk of developing allergies.
"Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens (deGroot and Frosch 1997, cited in Jansson and Loden 2001). In a subset of asthmatics, attacks are specifically triggered by, and only by, cosmetic fragrances. This indicates that fragrances may not only be a trigger but also a cause of asthma in some cases, although more research is needed on this subject (Norback et al. 1995; Milqvist et al. 1996). "Fragrance" mixtures, exempt from product labeling laws, can comprise hundreds of individual ingredients, and are common human allergens. A recent survey found that up to one of every 50 people suffers immune system damage from fragrance exposures."