The #1 ingredient in most body sprays and perfumes is alcohol, but not just any alcohol...
The alcohol used in scented products can be listed under different names on the ingredient label. Most of the time it reads SD Alcohol. It is also known as Alcohol Denat or Cetyl Alcohol. No matter what is listed, it's official name is Denatured Alcohol.
To give you a background on denatured alcohol, let's go back in history. During prohibition, denatured alcohol was readily available and mainly used as a fuel additive for propane stoves. When beer, wine and liquor was not available, people began to drink denatured alcohol as a substitute. When people started to go blind and die from ingesting this toxic substance, the government stepped in and added a chemical that made it extremely bitter, thus almost impossible to consume.
Denatured alcohol plus many other chemicals are added to our body sprays and perfumes as a cheap carrier for the fragrance and also to act as a preservative.
What are the short and long term effects when exposed to denatured alcohol?
Everyone is different when it comes to allergies. You may have no allergic reaction to perfume, or you might have a slight reaction like sneezing or coughing. Some people are highly allergic to scented products and have severe allergic reactions like tongue and throat swelling.
Denatured alcohol enters your body by breathing it in (while spraying) and even though most of it evaporates, a small amount is absorbed through your skin. Toxins are naturally flushed out of our bodies through the liver and kidneys, but when you get a build up of toxins, your body can't get rid of it fast enough which in turn can make you feel sick or suffer allergy type symptoms.
So, what are the alternatives?
You will be hard pressed to find any cologne, body spray or perfume in major retail stores that does not contain denatured alcohol. One good alternative is pure perfume oil. Perfume oils are great, but they can also be expensive. Neiman Marcus has a great selection of perfume oils for both men and women, but you can also find other great stores that carry some of the top brands.