A fragrance is a pleasant smell. Fragrances come from natural or synthetic sources. They are used in cleaning products, personal care products and makeup. Some ingredients are linked to cancer and birth defects. If you’re allergic to certain fragrance components, you should not use products that contain them.
The ancient Egyptians extracted the oils from plants and used them to scent their clothing, utensils, and religious rituals. Their temples display recipes for perfumes and other scented objects. Other civilizations also used fragrances, including the Romans.
Modern perfumes are formulated using fragrance bases. These bases are a blend of essential oils and aromatic chemicals. Many perfumes also include antioxidants and colorants to improve shelf life.
The most common way to obtain aroma compounds is through the solvent extraction process. This involves putting the raw material into a liquid, then heating it to high temperatures. After the liquid cools, it is condensed into a wax-like aromatic compound. Most perfumes are then diluted with a solvent such as alcohol or liquid waxes.
In addition to the solvents, many perfumes also contain colorants, stabilizers, and preservatives. Synthetic odorants are commonly used in modern perfumes, because they can provide fragrances that are not found in nature. However, they are more expensive than naturals and have a low yield.
Perfumes and colognes are usually composed of three parts: the head, middle, and base notes. All three notes affect the overall perception of the perfume. Base notes add depth and solidity to the fragrance. Common examples of base notes are patchouli, cedarwood, musk, and oakmoss. Top notes are usually composed of light fruits, herbs, and citrus.
When creating a perfume, a perfumer typically blends between 20 and 800 raw materials. Each perfume is assigned a different proportion of oils. One perfume house may assign more oils to a particular perfume than another. Depending on the composition of the oil, a perfume might be diluted with more or less alcohol.
There are several types of perfumes, including colognes and eau de parfum. Colognes contain about 3 to 5 percent oil, while eau de parfum contains about 60 to 80 percent alcohol. Eau de parfum can also contain a mixture of stabilizers, dyes, UV-absorbers, and preservatives.
Some perfumes contain tens of thousands of chemicals. Although the FDA does not require companies to disclose their ingredients, many of these chemicals are linked to serious health issues. For example, some have been linked to birth defects and hormone disruption.
The International Fragrance Association lists 3,059 substances that are used in fragrance compounds. Although these substances are typically safe for the average consumer, some have been linked to cancer and other chronic diseases.
Many fragrance chemicals are also used to produce air fresheners and beauty products. As a result, they are not listed on the label. Since the FDA does not require cosmetic companies to list allergens, you should avoid fragrances if you are allergic. It is best to seek out fragrances from a company that is reputable and reliable.