Kevin and I have just returned from a trip to a warmer climate, and it was so wonderful to be warm for a while and not have to worry about all the layers of clothes I wear daily to stay warm during Colorado winters.
However, I was sick most of the time we were gone – because of synthetic scents/deodorizers: plug-ins in our air BnB’s, laundry soap used to wash the sheets we slept on and the towels we used, cleaners used in the units we stayed in, everyone’s perfume/cologne/hair products/deodorant when we went out to eat or to a store, people’s clothes reeking of their laundry soap & dryer sheets, etc.
Breathing fake/synthetic fragrance gives me an instant headache, followed by dizziness, brain fog, nausea, vomiting, burning skin, burning eyes, sore throat, my joints ache (more than usual), difficulty breathing, etc.
I can’t think straight; I don’t make good decisions. I have difficulty talking and forming sentences that make sense. The brain fog is the worst, because it progresses to extreme anxiety and anger. I get angry at everyone and everything – and can’t figure out why.
Why am I writing about this in a blues dance blog?
Because everyone who dances needs to be aware of the fact that lots of folks are sensitive to scents – the perfume/cologne we put on before dances, the scented deodorant we use, the hair products we use, the clothes soap we wash our clothes in, the dryer sheets we use, body lotions, body wash, soap, shampoo, conditioners, body spray, cosmetics, shaving products (before, during, & after), etc. This list pertains to both men and women.
As someone who is highly sensitive to that crap, I am begging you to stop using them!
Because it’s not just hurting me. It isn’t healthy for anyone to be breathing that crap. Some of the dangers of breathing synthetic scents include cancer, asthma, kidney damage, birth defects - and more. Prolonged exposure to the chemicals in perfume can also severely damage your immune system. Think about your children and grandchildren trapped in your car or home breathing those harsh chemicals – it is just like them breathing second-hand smoke.
In fact, the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences released a study/document called FRAGRANCE IN THE WORKPLACE IS THE NEW SECOND-HAND SMOKE which says,
“A recent analysis of 6 top selling laundry products and air fresheners found ‘nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were emitted from the products and five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants which the Environmental Protection Agency considers to have no safe exposure level’ (Steineman, 2008).”
In my opinion, it is amazing that we are not all chemically sensitive, considering that nearly every product on the market is chemically/synthetically scented these days. We have overloaded our neurons so completely with synthetic crap (of all varieties), it’s a wonder we can still function at all.
For Dances & Dance Lessons
Please consider using unscented products. Please consider using unscented laundry detergent and dryer sheets all the time. Laundry detergents are so very strong that it takes many washes in unscented detergent to get that horrible, fake smell out of clothing and sheets.
Every time I talk to someone about this, they express surprise that I am talking about them, specifically. Why? The reason you think you aren't wearing too much scent is because synthetic/fake scents numb the olfactory nerves.
So after years of using all those scented products with numbed olfactory nerves, you put on more and more of the products, because you are unable to smell how very, very overpowering your scents (of all kinds) are.
You may think I am exaggerating when I say I can smell your (overpowering!) laundry detergent even when you don’t put on any other fragrance, but I certainly can.
It causes my eyes to water, my head to start aching, my throat to hurt, and makes my skin start burning when you walk up to me. It's worse if we dance together. In tango, where a tanda is three songs long, it can even make me sick to my stomach by the end of those three songs.
Sarah Wilson, who is also sensitive to fragrance, writes:
“The average fragrant contains about 14 secret chemicals that aren’t listed on the label. About 80 per cent of these unlabelled chemicals are not being tested for human safety.
Most beauty products list “fragrance” in lieu of the cocktail of chemicals used. Why? So we’re not horrified. How do they get away with it? By claiming fragrance is a trade secret by law. This stems from an era when major fragrance houses lobbied to protect their secret formulas made from flowers and oils. Today this law is used as a beauty industry loophole.”
Please, please, please! Let's help everyone stay healthy - including ourselves - by ceasing the use of synthetically-scented products.
And if you absolutely must have fragrance in your life, there are actually less-toxic, natural fragrances and methods that you could be using. It is really really fun to mix your own perfumes using essential & carrier oils!
Used responsibly (and sparingly, please!), they will not make anyone sick.
Happy (scent-free) dancing!