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Can Scented Candles Cause Headaches? Find Out Here!

  • Written By Candace 
  • Updated On
  • 3 min read
Can Scented Candles Cause Headaches?

Our Guide To Scented Candles & Headaches

If you’ve recently bought a scented candle, or maybe you were gifted one by a friend, you might have lit it up only to find that you’re now suffering from a headache. 

Our Guide To Scented Candles & Headaches

Some scented candles can indeed cause headaches in people if they are sensitive to the fragrance being burned, candles made from paraffin wax can also emit toxins when burned.

In our short guide below, we will take you through why scented candles can be bad for you, some effects of burning candles on health and some top tips for burning scented candles in your home.

Why Can Scented Candles Be Bad For You?

Before we get into the link between scented candles and headaches as well as health effects, let’s discuss whether or not scented candles are bad for you. 

Most cheap scented candles are made with paraffin wax, this is because the wax is easier to get hold of and tends to hold scents better, even brands such as Yankee candles use paraffin wax. 

The problem with this wax is the candle emissions they have when burned, paraffin candles can release toxic chemicals when burned and have soot emissions, for sensitive people this can be a common asthma trigger or cause headaches.

When combined with certain chemicals from fragrance oils this gives even more tension headaches or irritates nasal passages if you are sensitive. 

Why Can Scented Candles Be Bad For You?

Do Scented Candles Have Health Risks?

Although most scented candles are harmless to use occasionally, they can have some negative health effects depending on the person they are burned around. 

We’ve listed some possible health risks of them below.

  • They could be linked to cancer – Paraffin wax candles release chemicals called toluene and benzene which are linked to cancer.
  • Trigger allergies – If you suffer from allergies or asthma, fragrances as well as the kind of wax can be a trigger, leading to symptoms such as a runny nose.
  • Cause symptom of migraine – Common smells like fragrances can be a huge trigger for people who suffer from headaches.

Safety Tips For Burning Candles 

You can still burn scented candles in your home, but we recommend following the tips below to avoid any major health risks. 

  • Keep ventilation – Open a window while your candle is burning to ventilate, avoid boxing yourself in while it burns.
  • Burn natural candles – Choose beeswax or soy candles instead of paraffin wax candles, these will burn clean.
  • Avoid scents – If you think the fragrance is a suspect for your headache, simply try unscented candles instead and see if it makes a difference.
Safety Tips For Burning Candles 

Last Words

Overall, scented candles can cause negative health side effects like headaches and even trigger asthma in some people if they are sensitive to the fragrance or the paraffin wax used inside of the candle.

When possible we suggest burning all-natural candles made with soy wax to minimise negative health side effects.

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