A fragrance is a mixture of scent chemicals. This can include anything from natural sources to artificially manufactured ingredients. It may be based on essential oils, or on animal secretions. It is used to enhance the attractiveness of the wearer, and can also be used to make public places more pleasant. In ancient civilizations, it was used for religious rites, and was an important ingredient in perfumes.
In ancient Egypt, perfumes were made from scented substances that were used to make the homes of the citizens more pleasing, and to enhance body attractiveness. The first known use of perfumes was in Mesopotamia. Its use was refined during the Roman era. The use of perfumes was further explored in the Indus Valley civilization. In the early twentieth century, it was discovered that synthesis of aroma compounds could be achieved, allowing perfumes with unusually strong and unattainable smells to be created.
Perfumes come from a variety of natural and synthetic sources, and contain more than 4,000 different chemical ingredients. They are used to create air fresheners, cosmetics, and other scented products. In addition, they are often used to disguise irritants and allergens. The presence of these chemicals in a product may lead to health problems, including respiratory distress and allergies.
Perfumes come in three basic types: top notes, middle notes, and base notes. They are typically derived from citrus, floral, and woody substances. They provide an initial impression, but their scent can be quickly lost due to evaporation.
The process of making a perfume begins with the collection of raw materials. These are steamed and steeped in heated oils, distilled, or extracted. Then, the material is filtered through fabric or a filtering apparatus. After a period of cooling, the scented paste remains. A volatile solvent is then used to dissolve the plant matter. Once the extract is ready, it is diluted with water or alcohol. Some perfumes are diluted as much as 10 to 20 percent, and the final mixture is filtered.
Most modern perfumes are composed of synthetic odorants. These odorants can be found in a variety of household and personal care products, such as shower gels, shampoos, and detergents. They are a major contributor to the growth of the fragrance industry. Despite this popularity, the ingredients of perfumes have not been tested for safety. Consequently, they are not required to disclose their content.
In the past few years, the fragrance industry has made an effort to test its products for consumer safety. The Skin Deep (r) scoring system is designed to help consumers understand the safety of a particular product. In the past, there have been reports that many scented chemicals can cause cancer and other chronic illnesses.
In the late 19th century, commercial synthesis of aroma compounds was developed, allowing perfumes with unattainable smells to be made. Aside from being a source of beauty and evocative fragrances, perfumes are a major contributor to the fine chemical industry. Today, most global fragrance suppliers belong to the International Fragrance Association.