Updated: Oct 10, 2021
Again and again to the safety and health, and paying your attention to the scientifically proven facts about candles, which will help you to make the choice while comparing different candle makers and the products.
Understanding the natural efforts to save, I would still emphasize that candles are not the product where you should save. If you can't afford a safe candle - don't buy any. Otherwise the health problems will not be covered with your savings.
PARAFFIN WAX - TOXIC OR NOT?
Candles are made of different kinds of wax, but the most common used is paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a petroleum based product. Paraffin wax candles produce soot – that black stuff caused from the flickering flame. You surely have seen it many times.
“When soot is airborne, it is subject to inhalation. The particles can potentially penetrate the deepest areas of the lungs, the lower respiratory tract and alveoli (Krause, 1999).” Many other scientific researches prove that paraffin can cause various diseases, including increased depression, phobic anxiety symptoms, kidney disease, hypertension, aggressiveness, difficulty breathing, etc. Do you want this for you and your kids? So then think of it every time you burn a paraffin candle.
Soy wax is a vegetable product, made of soya beans. Soy candles are safe and burn longer than paraffin. The reason why many candlemakers choose paraffin or blend it with soy wax or even sell paraffin candles naming them 'soy'.
Another important ingredient in any candle is fragrance. This topic is not that simple and requires clarification.
What is commonly used to give scent to a candle:
- artificial fragrances
- natural fragrance oils
- essential oils
Essential oils - a short talk: pure essential oils will barely give scent throw when used in a candle. They burn. Candles scented with only essential oils cost more and smell only when cold (this is how the majority of essential oils perform).
Natural fragrance oils are made of essential oils and other ingredients obtained from the plants. They give stronger scent to the candles and are not harmful. But they have 2 disadvantages: they cost more than artificial fragrances and their behavior is more complicated. Depending on the environment (wax, temperature, etc) they tend to change the scent (you know like perfume is changing the scent during the day and is different with different people). So, as a candlemaker I know that working with natural fragrances is tricky and requires lots of experience.
Everything is simple with artificial fragrances. They are produced from the chemicals in the labs, do not change the smell (Tide is always Tide!) and are cheap. The only problem is their effect on our health not only when they are burning but also in cold state. The chemicals they throw are poisonous. The cheap artificial fragrance is (in the most cases) the reason of that heavy feeling in your gut when a candle is burning (you know how it feels, right?).
MY PERSONAL opinion is that a candle should be used to create the atmosphere (be unscented or lightly scented) and not to smell in the room. For the home aroma I recommend using cold aroma dispensers or wax melts instead of buying 'very smelly' candles.