Fascinating and Interesting Perfume Facts.
What could be fascinating or interesting about perfume I hear you say. There is more to perfume than you think, it has its benefits and can make you feel good, but it can also be dangerous if used carelessly.
Facts about Scent and Sense of Smell.
Smell is often the most neglected of our senses, but sense of smell influences us in many ways and there are interesting things that could be said about it.
- Smell is considered to be the oldest sense; cells have organelles that can detect chemical composition of the environment in the same way more complex organisms do.
- Only materials that can be dissolved have smells. That is why, for instance, glass does not have a smell.
- Smells are stronger in the Spring and Summer as the moisture in the air is greater that in Autumn or Winter.
- There are some indications that we cannot sense the smells while we are asleep.
- Anosmia is the inability to sense smells.
- Cacosmia is a disability where the brain cannot properly identify and odour and feels something unpleasant. If the brain feels the smell as a pleasant one this disability is known as euosmia.
- Cells in our noses that sense odours are regenerated every twenty-eight days.
- Although we may not think so, odours are very easy to memorise and often are connected with other memories. We do not always remember those memories or emotions but when smelling the same odour at a later date will evoke that memory. This is used in marketing for instance, including hotels who use special odours to tie memories of their guests of the time they spent in the hotel to the odour. A particular smell can be remembered with sixty-five percent of accuracy even after a year while a picture can be remembered with approximately fifty percent accuracy after just three months.
- Bactrian camels can smell water from fifty miles away.
- As a result of evolution women have a better sense of smell than men.
- Humans have between five and six million cells that can detect odours whereas dogs have two hundred and twenty million cells.
- Our best sense of smell is in our teens, and it deteriorates with time. Loss of the sense of smell can be a symptom of an oncoming illness like COVID-19, Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons disease. There is even a study that tells that a loss of sense of smell can predict death within five years.
- Sense of smell can tire very quickly and become less sensitive to the senses after a short time it is exposed to them. The body does this to prevent our nervous system from overloading.
- The first sense we develop when we are born is smell.
- Smell has a great impact on how food tastes. This is why when we have an illness like the flu food can taste bland. It has been said that smell is responsible for up to eighty percent of taste and that people who tend to have a poor sense of smell gravitate toward unhealthy food.
- We can sense over a trillion different smells. Weare also able to smell feelings like fear and disgust on other people through sweat.
- Bad odours can damage the ability to smell.
- Our own body odour depends on many factors like the food we eat, our genes and levels of stress together with many other factors.
Facts about Perfumes?
Smell has a great impact on how food tastes. This is why when we have an illness like the flu food can taste bland.
It has been said that smell is responsible for up to eighty percent of taste and that people who tend to have a poor sense of smell gravitate toward unhealthy food.
Since time began the human race likes nice smells.
In the beginning we acquired them directly from nature, from flowers and other natural materials with pleasant odours but over time we began to manufacture mixtures of these materials and made scents that cannot be found in nature itself.
Perfumes are one of these mixtures and here are some facts about them:
- In Western cultures perfume is applied at pulse points where the most heat is generated to release the perfume into the air, for instance behind the ears, the nape of the neck, the insides of wrists, elbows and back of the knees.
- Some say that perfume should also be applied to clothing and hair, but opinions differ as perfume can stain your clothes and dry out your hair.
- Depending on the strength of perfume you use when applied to the body it can last approximately six hours and many fragrances can last up to twelve hours however if the strength of the perfume is weak it may only last for a few hours and will have to be reapplied.
- Perfume comes from Latin “per fumus” which means “through smoke”. The first scents were smokes of the burned odorous materials.
As with everything else in the fashion world, there are certain rules for the use of perfumes in many institutions.
Perfume should not be smelled at a greater distance that an arm’s length of the person that wears it, this is because in such institutions no clouds or tails of scent are permitted. There are also places where perfume is forbidden.(Food manufacturing etc.)
- When the weather is hotter, a lower amount of perfume should be applied, light and fresh perfumes are recommended for such weather.
- Perfumes that contain alcohol, of which there are many, can cause dryness in hair s perfume should not be applied too often.
- The same perfume can smell totally different on two different people due to the different chemistry of their skin.
- In 1921 a perfume manufacturer from France, called Molinrad, started producing a fragrance called “Habanita” which was used for scenting cigarettes.
- The perfumes produced today have between ten and two hundred and fifty ingredients.
- Many of today’s perfumes do not use natural scents like flowers anymore but instead use synthetic ones.
- Perfumes can influence the mood and make you feel better.
- Studying in International Flavours and Fragrances Perfumery School, where you can learn to be a connoisseur of fragrances, lasts between five and seven years.
- Today’s technology can synthesise almost any type of fragrance.
- Fragrances that have floral notes are not recommended to be worn in parks and open spaces as they can attract insects.
- It is advisable not to mix perfumes, even when you test new perfumes it is recommended not to test any more than three one after the other as you will “confuse” your nose and you will not be able to differentiate between the scents. You should take pauses between tests or even smell fresh coffee which will “reset” your nose.
- If you have dry skin, perfume will not last long. You should first apply some type of moisturiser which will make the perfume last longer.
- Over one third of scents for men are worn by women.
- Perfumes are better stored in a cool, dry and dark place to make them last longer.
- The reason why perfume managed to spread throughout Europe was because of perfumed leather gloves which were popular in the sixteenth century. Glove makers perfumed gloves to cover the smell of treated leather which was prepared in ammonia.
- The first fashion designer to design her own signature perfume was Coco Chanel which is the infamous Chanel No5.
- Some perfumes can cause asthmatic reactions in some individuals and excessive use of perfumes may cause allergic reactions on the skin.
Types of Perfumes by Perfume Concentration.
Classification of a perfume is according to their concentration.
Perfumes are aromatic compounds dissolved in a solvent which is usually ethanol or a mixture of water and ethanol and depending on the number of essential oils or aroma compounds that are added will determine what they are called as their intensity is different and they last differently.
Parfum, Parfum Extrait, Extrait de Parfum, Perfume Extract, Pure Perfume or Elixir is the strongest concentration of fragrance and can have between fifteen and forty percent of aromatic compounds.
The International Fragrance Association says that 20% is the most common concentration for this type of perfume.
It is also the most expensive and usually comes in small bottles, used in small quantities and gives a long-lasting fragrance as the concentration is high and can be overpowering.
Esprit de Parfum has a concentration between fifteen and thirty percent. It is a rare concentration, but it is famous because it is a concentration that Dior used in the creation of the perfume Poison in the 1980’s.
Eau de Parfum has between ten and twenty percent of aromatic compounds. It became very popular and today can be the highest concentration in which some of the perfumes can be found.
Eau de Toilette has between five to fifteen percent of concentration but averages at around the ten percent mark.
It is the most common concentration which is used to make cheaper and more affordable variant of more expensive perfumes. It is sold in larger bottles because it has an atomiser which sprays more liquid and can be used more often.
Eau de Cologne is a type of Chypre citrus perfume that has between three and eight percent aromatic compounds.
It originated in Cologne, Germany and was mixed for the first time in 1709. It became popular quite quickly including with royalty until the point that the local apothecaries and pharmacies throughout Europe started making and selling their own variants.
In the nineteenth century great perfume manufacturers started selling Eau de Cologne variants of their famous and higher concentrated perfumes. They were of a lower concentration sold in larger bottles which made them cheaper and easier to sell. These colognes had more of the brighter top notes which appealed to consumers but evaporated faster
In the nineteenth century great perfume manufacturers started selling Eau de Cologne variants of their famous and higher concentrated perfumes. They were of a lower concentration sold in larger bottles which made them cheaper and easier to sell. These colognes had more of the brighter top notes which appealed to consumers but evaporated faster.
Perfume Mist, Brume de Parfum, Voile de Parfum, Eau Parfumée or Eau San Alcohol has the same concentration as the Eau de Cologne, but its solvent is not alcohol.
It is the lightest variant of a feminine perfume, and it is made without alcohol because it uses aerosol propellant which can send perfume into the eyes which can, of course, be dangerous. This variant is non-phototoxic and can be worn while sunbathing.
Splash or Aftershave
Splash and Aftershave is very low in aromatic compound approximately one to three percent and because of this their scent does not last long.
Classical Cologne is a name for both men’s and women’s fragrances that are similar to Chypre perfumes as they are made of citrus blends, but they are not made of perfumes of greater concentration but are standalone.
Perfumes and Health
We have used perfumes in one form or another for thousands of years. There are many cultures that deem them as almost necessary in everyday socialisation.
As they are so omnipresent it would be wise to ask ourselves whether or not they influence us in any other way except social. Below are some health facts about perfumes and how they can affect us:
- Individuals who have severe or atopic asthma can get asthmatic reaction from perfumes that have certain types of fragrances.Some fragrances can cause other symptoms like headaches or nausea in some people,
- Some chemicals used in perfumes can cause allergic skin reactions.
- Linalool, a naturally occurring terpene alcohol chemical found in many flowers and spice plants, irritates skin but only if used with antioxidants or when its concentration is too high. Furanocoumarin, which is obtained from grapefruit or celery can make skin very sensitive to sunlight.
- Some ingredients in perfumes do not have fragrance but are used as scent enhancers. Phthalates is one of these substances and is often used because it is cheap.
- The European of Endocrine Disruption marked it “a Category 1 priority substance” because it can cause early puberty in girls, reduced sperm count in men, and reproductive defects in the developing male foetus.
- Some statistics state that every tenth person has a chronic allergic reaction to perfumes. Some have milder and some have stronger allergic reaction to perfumes.
- There are laws in the United States that state what you can and cannot be used in perfumes, but they are not enforced.
- Loopholes say that tens of even a hundred chemicals can be listed as fragrances on bottles of perfumes without actually listing these chemicals because they are considered “trade secrets” so there could be literally anything in them.
- Different synthetic musk fragrances, which are a replacement for natural musk, were found to cause cancer on some animals that they were tested on, but they are allowed for use in cosmetic products because they do not present safety concerns in human health.
- When laboratories analysed some of the top selling perfumes, they found approximately fourteen chemicals per perfume that were not listed and some of these were known allergens and chemicals that can affect hormones.
- There is a level of toxicity in some perfume ingredients, for instance tricyclodecenyl allyl ether is toxic to insects and is part of some synthetic perfumes.
- Some synthetic masks are used in larger quantities because they are cheap. Those that are used to cover the smell of laundry detergents have been found in human fat and milk. They have also been found in waters where waste waters have been dumped.
- Since 2005 Europe has a law that materials from the list of twenty-six known allergens must be listed on the product if they are present in the product in quantities larger than 0.001% for products intended to remain on the skin and 0.01% for those intended to be rinsed off. This led to many old perfumes being reformulated.
- There are thousands of perfumes with different formulas in the world. There are many more chemicals in them and many of them were never tested for toxicity either alone or in combination.
- Most of the synthetic chemicals found in perfumes are derived from petroleum.
- Limonene is an irritant, sensitiser and carcinogenic. It is used in perfumes, cologne, disinfectant sprays and other cosmetic products.
- Benzyl alcohol causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure and CNS depression. It is also used in perfumes, cologne, soaps, shampoos and other cosmetic products.
- Benzaldehyde is an irritant, local anaesthetic and CNS depressant and can also cause kidney damage and is a component of many cosmetic products.