There are three main types of candles on the market today – paraffin, soy and beeswax. While they all have pros and cons, when it comes to our health, these substances are not created equal.
In this post I break down the advantages and disadvantages of each type and how they affect our long-term health.
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The majority of candles being sold at retailers today are made from cheap paraffin wax which releases carcinogens into the air when they are burned. The chemicals that are released, benzene and toluene, are actually the same fumes that are released by diesel fuel.
These chemicals have been found to be carcinogens and have been linked to health problems like cancer and asthma.
The only true advantage of paraffin candles is the price. From a monetary standpoint, they are typically the cheapest form of candle you can buy, but at what price to your health?
Soy candles are another readily available option. However, when you see a “soy” candle on the shelf there’s a pretty good chance that it’s actually a soy and paraffin blend. Most candles that are advertised as soy candles are not actually pure soy.
When purchasing soy candles you want to make sure that it is made from 100% pure soy wax.
There is a minor difference between paraffin candles and soy candles. That difference is the scent throw. Scent throw is how strong a candle smells while burning. Since paraffin isn’t as dense, the throw tends to be a bit stronger. However, in my experience the difference is minimal and not worth the cost of polluting the air in your home.
Beeswax candles release negative ions when burned which essentially purges the air of pollutants. Beeswax helps eliminate dust, odors and mold, making it an excellent option for anyone suffering from allergies.
There are a couple of drawbacks to beeswax candles however. If you are someone who buys candles specifically for the scents, you may not be a fan. Scented beeswax candles don’t give off as strong of a throw as paraffin or soy candles and unscented beeswax candles give off only the slight scent of honey.
Beeswax is also typically more expensive than other options, although the relatively long burn time makes up for some of this price difference.
There are also other great home fragrance alternatives to traditional candles!
One of those is room fragrance spray. Many traditional room sprays are filled with dangerous chemicals but there are some plant-based options available, like Grow Fragrance!
As a scented candle lover I know how tempting it can be to purchase cheap, delicious smelling candles from popular candle stores. And honestly, burning one every once in a while most likely will not have lasting implications on your health (I usually cave at Christmas time and burn one or two!)
However, if you enjoy burning candles regularly, it would be wise to purchase pure soy or beeswax candles. This is of utmost importance if you have young children or family members with allergies in the home.
Check out these great options: