There’s Something Musky In The Air

Q: So what is a Nitro-musk exactly?

A: It is a Musk ketone

The structure of the nitro group

The structure of the nitro group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To be a little more specific, let’s go through the history of it all… How does 1888 sound to you?
That is the year that the first artificial musk was obtained by a man named Albert Baur. He had condensed toluene with isobutyl bromide, aluminium chloride was a spectator iron (part of the reaction, but not really in it).
These three ingredients, for lack of a better word, are also known as the “Three Nitro Group and a nitrating the product all make up nitro-musks.
The hilarious part of this story is that, it was discovered accidentally as a result of Baur’s attempts to produce a more effective form of trinitrotoluene (TNT). 
The distinctive, and slightly “Gah” odor depends upon the symmetry of the three nitro group… Please don’t ask me to elaborate?

Fair enough, but what are Nitro-Musks doing in cosmetics?

Well, due to the rare scent of organic musk, and how it tends to fade over time, fragrance makers, demons with test-tubes some of them<< Just Kidding!
Musk just so happens to be one of those scents. Not too spicy, and not too fruity. It’s right in the middle, and so voila, that’s what it’s doing in your cosmetics!
It also prevents your favourite products from having a really bad smell, because guess what? Some of your most expensive products, were they fragrance free, would smell like something quiet close to poop!

Can Nitro-Musks cause cancer?

According to GRIDA’s public briefing on Musk: “Of the few studies carried out, one has shown that long–term exposure to musk xylene causes cancer in mice.”
But people are not mice! I hear you say…
According to Ruth Winter: A synthetic compound with a typical musk odor is widely used in cosmetics and is permitted as a food additive. Through prolonged 
exposure to it, experiments in animals and with human cells indicate it might increase the susceptibility to health hazards caused by cancer causing agents in humans.

According to Green Beauty (blog): “Nitromusks are linked to skin irritation, sensitization and even cancer in laboratory studies. They are also linked to reproductive and fertility problems in women at high levels of exposure. Laboratory studies also suggest that both polycyclic musks and nitromusks may affect hormone systems”

Why don’t we just 86 Fragrances, and Parfums altogether?


Parfums (Photo credit: steve.grosbois)

I have a question for you;
Do you really want to 86 Fragrances and Parfums? Do you really?
I personally don’t think that there’s anything wrong with a little something something in your cosmetics, but I think the trouble comes when that stuff starts to make us sick. There are plenty of organic alternatives, so if you are one to have it that way, why not?
For instance, did you know that Bella Terra Mineral Cosmetics does not use any Nitro-Musks in their products?
Matter of fact; Most of their skin-care range is completely fragrance free…

What’s so good about Fragrance Free?

As I have already mentioned, if you took all the parfum/fragrance out of most of the cosmetics (even the expensive ones out on the market) you would find that most of them smell like something that no human should ever ever, never, ever smell!
Fragrance free is like a stamp of assurance that the product is made with only the good stuff, and they don’t need any fancy smells, or scents to cover up what nature already gave us.
Chemicals are meant to smell bad! It’s the only thing that will stand between us consuming them, or accidentally inhaling them, or setting ourselves on fire! If they didn’t smell bad, we wouldn’t be none the wiser, so that’s why fragrances are used to cover all that yucky up!


One thought on “There’s Something Musky In The Air

  1. Pingback: Importance of Fragrance Free Beauty | That B Word

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