Perfumes are a mixed pleasure. We like them when they come in nice bottles and can be bought cheaply at the airport, but when they’re added to detergents, creams etc. they can – in some people’s eyes – be a real pain. So what’s the reality with perfumes? What’s good and what’s bad?

Perfume is a mix of different fragrances, which together create the scent of the perfume. The fragrances can be both synthetic and natural and can be intended to either add scent or preserve the individual product. Natural fragrances are no less allergenic than synthetic ones.

If you are unsure whether a product contains perfume, look at the label, it should say either ‘parfum’, ‘parfume’, ‘fragrance’ or ‘aroma’. If you see one of these four words, the product contains perfume.

Perhaps you have heard of perfumes, essential oils or plant extracts and fragrances? So what are they? And is there a difference?

Fragrances are the individual substances that make up a perfume. There are up to 3,000 different substances to choose from. There are 26 fragrance ingredients that must be declared. To avoid the 26 substances that are highly allergenic, choose products with Asthma Allergy Nordic or Allergy Certified, which must not contain fragrances.

Essential oils are fragrant plant oils often used in perfumes and cosmetics. They are extracted from plant material and often contain many different substances, including some of the 26 fragrances that must be declared.

Plant extracts are a mixture of substances extracted from plants, which in addition to oil can be various extracts that can influence, among other things, the texture of a product. Plant extracts may also be some of the 26 fragrance ingredients subject to declaration, which may increase the risk of contact allergy.

So is there a difference? Yes and no. The common denominator for perfumes, fragrances, essential oils and plant extracts is that they can all, in principle, be allergenic.

If you’re not sure whether the product you’re holding in your hands is the best for you, your family and the environment – look on the label for one or more of the official eco-labels.