Many people have chosen scented candles as their go-to air freshener to freshen up a room and provide a pleasant fragrance to their homes. However, there has long been conflicting information on the truth about toxins in regular scented candles, specifically about paraffin wax vs. soy wax candles. Here’s what you should know and what healthier alternatives you can use to bring your favorite scents to your home.
Types of Candle Wax
When you’re shopping for scented candles, you’ll notice that most consist of two forms of wax—soy wax or paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a substance derived from petroleum, oil—particularly, the waxy substance formed as a byproduct in crude oil—and coal, while soy wax comes from hydrogenated soybean oil. Due to the nature of these materials, many consumers prefer soy wax candles. Soy wax candles also have stronger fragrances and an all-natural production. On the other hand, paraffin wax candles have a fair amount of controversial rumors about them containing toxins. Allow us to shed some light on the truth about toxins in regular scented candles so that you can better judge them for yourself.
Toxins in Paraffin Wax
The biggest reason why paraffin wax has cultivated such a turbulent reputation is there are harmful substances within the wax—the most prominent being carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer in living tissue, which, understandably, alarms many consumers. So why do people doubt that these candles are harmful? Why do candle-making companies use paraffin wax at all? Well, the catch is that while paraffin wax does contain carcinogens, it doesn’t produce nearly enough to become a tangible threat to your health. Even if you use scented candles every single day, you’re still never in danger, so rest easy.
While the fear of cancer is the most looming controversy around paraffin wax, there are a few other potential issues. Paraffin wax candles produce a lot more soot and fumes than soy wax candles, which can aggravate the lungs or irritate your skin. Along with carcinogens, there are substances that can trigger conditions like asthma and allergies, such as benzene, toluene, naphthalene, and more. While not everyone is at risk for lung irritation, those already suffering from lung conditions might find that paraffin wax candles are the most detrimental to their health.
If you notice skin irritation from paraffin wax candles, it’s important to note that many beauty and skin-care products also contain paraffin. However, the paraffin used in beauty products isn’t nearly as prominent or harmful as the paraffin found in candle wax. The fumes of the paraffin wax candle may exacerbate existing dermatological conditions or cause your skin to feel itchy and agitated. Therefore, avoid using paraffin wax candles if you notice skin irritation.
The Benefits of Soy Wax
Now that we know more about paraffin wax candles and how they’re not quite as lethal as many would think, you might not think it’s a big enough deal to swap to soy wax candles. Which is fair enough; the two candles are virtually identical to many. So, let’s discuss some of the practical benefits of soy wax candles to show you why they are an improvement over ones made with paraffin wax.
First and foremost, soy wax candles are renewable. Paraffin wax depends on fossil fuels, whereas you can regrow and harvest soybeans again and again from a completely natural source. Soy wax candles also last notably longer than paraffin wax candles, thanks to their clean and even burn—ensuring you will enjoy the fragrance of your scented candles for as long as possible.
Also, it’s important to mention that the fragrance in soy candles is much stronger. Paraffin wax requires much higher temperatures to burn, and while the soot and toxins released may not risk your health, they do interfere with the scent profile of your candle. This defeats the entire purpose of a scented candle. The reason for this is paraffin wax has a large crystal structure that soy wax doesn’t, allowing soy wax to have a lower melting point and ensuring the fragrance is stronger.
However, what soy wax has on other types of candle wax is it’s incredibly easy to clean up. Thanks to the lower melting point of soy wax, wax spills are less of a big deal. You can easily clean them up with soap and water. In contrast, other waxes require harsh chemicals for you to clean them up properly. This is important during the creation and burning stages. It’s easy-to-clean nature makes cleaning the candle-making tools easier. You can wash them under hot water or in a dishwasher, rather than the gratuitous efforts needed to clean off other waxes.
Scented Candles to Consider
If we’ve convinced you to change to soy candles, we highly encourage you to look at our inventory. Not only are all our products made from soy wax, but we have plenty of variations for you to enjoy. For example, a 2-wick scented candle will ensure you get the most out of your purchase by giving you enough wick length to allow you to burn your favorite scents for longer. We also have products like scented travel tins to take with you on trips to bring the fragrance of home with you.
Soy wax candles are luxurious and encourage a healthier environment by not spewing possible irritants, like soot and toxins, into your home’s air. If you have any questions or concerns about our products or the benefits of soy wax, contact us today! We’ll be happy to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed purchase.
Head Wick Trimmer