The Other Side of Perfumes

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Perfumes displayed in a shelf

Although perfumes create a positive image of who their users are, cosmetologists and medical experts warn against their negative effects on the body

|  By Chinwe Okafor  |  Sep. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ELIZABETH Ayobade, a Theatre Arts student of the Lagos State University, loves to smell good and fresh at all times. This explains why she likes perfumes. Sometimes, she uses a combination of several perfumes to make her stand out in the crowd. She feels good to leave a lingering scent to anyone that comes across her.

“I love using perfumes. I cannot leave my house to school or any occasion without perfumes. I love the scent perfumes give me and I feel they attract the opposite sex to me. Without perfumes, I wonder how one will smell after the day’s stress at work place or school. I simply love perfumes,” Ayobade said. Emeka Amoah, a freight forwarder is another lover of perfumes. He does not leave his house without spraying himself with assorted perfumes. “Because the nature of my job is very stressful and involves a lot of going up and down to clear my clients’ goods, I use good perfumes to protect any odour that could rise as a result of excessive sweat,” he said.

Perfumes on display in a boutique
Perfumes on display in a boutique

But today, Ayobade and Amoah, don’t want to have anything to do with perfumes. Ayobade, said that the feeling she had about perfumes was short-lived when she started having itches around her chest and the lower neck area of her body. She sought for a medical advice and found out that it was a reaction from the perfumes that she had been using on that part of her body. Also, Amoah’s health condition worsened as a result of the perfumes he applied on his body daily. He had since, stopped using perfumes because an expert has warned that he should desist from doing that because of the reaction of his body to the chemical components in perfumes.

Ayobade and Amoah represent the many people that use perfumes in order to protect their bodies from any odour resulting from excessive sweat. They sometimes suffer from inappropriate use of perfumes because they are unaware of the harmful effects of not using perfumes in the right manner, or using the wrong type of perfumes for their skin type. Using inferior products and having a limited knowledge about the use of perfumes in their entirety also pose grave dangers.

Uche Madu, a cosmetologist, said that a lot of people misuse perfumes by applying them without having a thorough bath. “It only gives you an awful smell which can develop further into body odour rather than giving an attractive scent which it is meant for. The skin is very sensitive and should be treated as such. Wrong application of perfumes can trigger more serious health hazards,” she said.

Medical experts have advised that certain things should be taken into consideration before purchasing or using any type of perfume. Michael Kehinde, a Lagos-based doctor, said that persons suffering from asthma could be exposed to attacks by applying perfumes. He said that the use of perfumes should be discouraged as much as possible to reduce wheezing and other breathing complications because perfumes contain chemicals which can cause threatening respiratory effects.

Kehinde is not alone in his thinking. Nkechi Okonkwo, another medical doctor, said she would rather use perfumes with natural scents because most of the other perfumes sold in the market contain harmful ingredients like ethylene, ethanol and benzene, which are toxic and should not be used in excess. “Sometimes, a lot of people complain of headache, dizziness and nausea but they don’t seem to realize that these symptoms can be traced to these things which are seemingly harmless like the perfumes we use,” Okonkwo said. She further advised that people who use perfumes should go for the best and not the local or inferior ones which are cheap to afford because they could pose a great danger to human lives.

Collection of body sprays
Collection of body sprays

But there are benefits to be derived from the right application of perfumes. Sara Abioye, a banker, said that good perfumes go a long way in creating an impression of who you are and leave a lasting effect on anyone that comes in contact with you. “People use perfumes simply to have a good scent on them and it helps one to smell his or her best and feel more confident on entrance into any occasion. Indeed, a touch of one’s individuality is perceived by the person’s use of a particular perfume,” she said.

Research has revealed that perfumes could cause irritation in the nose and throat, brain damage or even cancer. Perfumes are a mixture of aromatic fragrance, essential oils and solvents. They are mainly categorised into Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne and body sprays. Eau de Parfum, is very common and has the highest chemical concentration. Its fragrance is more intense and generally lasts longer than the others. Moreso, it appeals to both the female and male and it’s more expensive and in higher demand than the others.

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1 COMMENT

  1. wrong usage of anything could be harmful, perfumes inclusive. Applying a cocktail of perfumes at the same time may not be the best. Using a particular type of perfume could be better.

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