Kalixan Ltd
Alte Landstrasse 4
8802 Kilchberg
Tel:   +41-44 805 805 0
Fax:   +41-44 805 805 9
e-mail:     info[at]kalixan.com
Sensibility to perfumes Print E-mail


The perfume market

In 1997 our German neigbours purchased bath products to the value of approximately 200 million Euros, one third of which was bath oils and two thirds bubblebath products according to the figures of market researchers.  Bubblebath products consist primarily of water mixed with foam, scent and dye. In the majority of cases, these synthetic and sometimes dubious substances are manufactured for the most part from crude oil.  

Bathing in bubbles - a pleasure with side effects

The bubbles, which give this bath its name, have certain advantages. They provide a feeling of comfort from being under cover. They even keep the bathwater warm longer, since they prevent the build up of steam.

Dermatologists, on the other hand, do not regard the tensides, used to create the foam, in such a favourable light, not even so-called "recommended" products. Some tensides remove the skin's natural protective oils so that the skin dries out after a bath. Although the skin first draws in water so that it becomes puffy, it is unable to retain the moisture. The skin then starts to itch. This usually begins under the thighs where the skin is less oily than on the face or stomach. 

The skin should be moisturised with cream or lotion after taking a bath or shower, especially in Winter when the air is drier. 

The greatest element in feeling good from taking a bath does not derive from the foam bubbles but rather from the warm water. Already the feeling of weightlessness of the body and limbs in the water leads to relaxation of the muscles - and also the mind. The stronger blood supply to skin and muscles results in changes in the metabolism which, for example, release lactic acid.   

If a bath product contains ethereal oils, these can trigger additional mechanisms. Some act on the olfactory centre and, therefore, on the mind, while others penetrate the skin and enter the blood stream so that they act in the body. The human body can absorb up to 50 millilitres of oil from one full bath and slowly eliminate it via the liver and respiratory system. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that guidebooks on aroma-therapy place great emphasis on aroma baths. The oils are described according to their special effects. So a combination of neroli oil, majoram and lavender is described as relaxing, while that of rosemary, peppermint and lemon is stimulating, and a mix of lavender, geranium and orange enhances the equilibrium.


Perfume does not mean risk-free:
Who would have guessed that the perfumes of the big wide world,  promoted by advertising, can draw the consumer into a dangerous maelstrom?  

In today's market, 2500 different fragrance substances are used in perfumes, laundry detergents, universal cleaners, fabric softeners and cosmetics. The industry is, after all, fully aware of the importance of the sense of smell and the emotions. Even the smallest quantity of perfume can have a huge impact. But beware! There is a wide range of fragrances which can cause allergies.

According to current legislation, only 26 substances must be declared on the packaging. These substances, however, represent merely the tip of the iceberg. Many substances (not only fragrances), which are found in bath products, shower gels, cosmetics, laundry and cleaning products, can carry considerable health risks.  

Allergy-sufferers must be particularly wary about the use of a product when purchasing. That which on the packaging is simply listed as "perfume" can be grossly misleading. A perfume oil, with which for example a bath product is scented, can contain hundreds of individual fragrances. But so long as the manufacturer is not obliged to declare what exactly is contained in a "perfume" or "aroma", the consumer is kept unaware. 


Allergies are caused by sensitising substances which come into contact with the body.  The greater the strength of a substance which causes allergies, the higher its concentration, and, therefore, the more likely it is to trigger an allergic reaction.  The most common allergens are enzymes, perfumes and nickel. In Switzerland, an estimated million people are affected by an allergy to perfumes.  

Allergy symptoms do not only occur where allergens come into contact with the body. If a serious deviation takes place, the allergens can be transported further into the body via the lymph stream and the blood vessels, and cause, for example, an excema in places where the allergens did not have direct contact.  In the worst case, the entire skin can become affected or even other organs such as the lungs.




Choosing a product:
Before selecting a product, you should check that the list of ingredients does not contain any critical substances, for example, enzymes, (hidden in protein hydroloyzate), dyes, fragrance and preservatives which are potentially allergenic.  

Drop by drop:
Many guidebooks recommend you to add undiluted ethereal oils, for example, lavender, dropwise to the bathwater. Health professionals, on the other hand, advise against this: the oils remain on the surface of the water and very rapidly evaporate. When the drops are not evenly spread over the surface of the water, some areas of the skin come into contact with undiluted oil when you enter the bath. This can cause skin irritation and even provoke an allergy.
Experts recommend you first to dilute the oils when making your own aroma bath so that they spread more evenly in the bathwater. Ten to fifteen drops in three to four dessert spoons of honey, milk or cream can be stirred into the filled bathtub without any problem .  

How long should the bath fun last?
Taking a bath is meant to be a relaxing experience free from time pressure. Nevertheless, persons with sensitive skin should avoid a complete soaking of the skin.
The length of exposure should not exceed 15 minutes.  

Subsequent skin care:
After taking a bath you should quickly rinse off under the shower to remove any remains of soap from the skin. After gently dabbing to dry off, you should moisturise the skin with a hypoallergenic cream or lotion to prevent the protective layer of the skin from drying out.  

If you need a time of total quiet: lock the bathroom door, switch off the phone, put on some music, perhaps even light a candle, then close your eyes and unwind.