Are Candles Bad for You?

Are Candles Bad for You?

Exploring the Truth About Candle Safety.

Candles have been a staple in homes for centuries, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere and adding a touch of elegance to any setting. However, in recent years, questions have arisen about their safety. Are candles bad for you? In this blog post, we’ll explore the potential health impacts of burning candles and provide tips for choosing safer options.

Understanding the Concerns

The primary concerns regarding candle safety revolve around the materials used in candle production, including the type of wax, wicks, and fragrances. Let’s break down these components and understand how they might affect your health.

Paraffin Wax vs. Natural Waxes

Paraffin Wax: Most conventional candles are made from paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum. While there have been concerns about paraffin wax releasing potentially harmful chemicals like toluene and benzene, it’s important to note that candle wax is rigorously tested for safety. The levels of these substances are minimal and generally considered safe for indoor use.

Natural Waxes: Alternatives to paraffin wax include soy wax, beeswax, and coconut wax. Soy wax is derived from soybean oil and is known for burning cleaner with less soot, being biodegradable, longer-lasting, and sustainable. Beeswax, produced by honeybees, purifies the air, has a natural honey scent, burns slowly with a bright flame, and is completely natural. Coconut wax, made from coconut oil, is eco-friendly, clean-burning, excellent at holding fragrances, and has a smooth texture. These natural waxes are preferable to paraffin because they produce fewer pollutants, improving air quality, are biodegradable and renewable, and support sustainable agricultural practices while reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

The Role of Wicks

Lead Wicks: In the past, some candles contained lead-core wicks. When burned, these wicks could release lead particles into the air, posing serious health risks, especially for children. Fortunately, lead wicks have been banned in many countries, including the UK, United States and the European Union.

Cotton and Wood Wicks: Today, most high-quality candles use cotton or wood wicks, which are free of harmful metals and burn more cleanly.

Fragrances and Synthetic Scents

Synthetic Fragrances: Many candles are scented with synthetic fragrances, which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned. While VOCs might sound concerning, it's important to understand that not all VOCs are harmful. High-quality synthetic fragrances used in candles are carefully designed to meet stringent safety standards and minimise any risks. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) sets these global safety standards, ensuring that the synthetic fragrances used in candles are safe for use. This means that the VOCs emitted from these high-quality fragrances are present at levels that are not harmful, allowing consumers to enjoy delightful scents with peace of mind.

Essential Oils: For those who prefer natural options, some candles are scented with essential oils. These oils not only provide a pleasant aroma but also offer various therapeutic benefits, such as relaxation and stress relief.

Tips for Choosing Safer Candles

To minimise potential health risks, consider the following tips when selecting candles:

1. Opt for Tested Wax: Whether you prefer paraffin or natural waxes, ensure the candle wax is rigorously tested for safety.
2. Check the Wick: Ensure the candle uses a cotton or wood wick.
3. Choose High-Quality Fragrances: Whether synthetic or natural, choose candles with high-quality, safe fragrances.
4. Ventilate: Always burn candles in a well-ventilated area to reduce indoor air pollution.
5. Trim the Wick: Keep the wick trimmed to 6mm to prevent excessive soot and smoke.


So, are candles bad for you? The answer depends largely on the type of candles you choose and how you use them. While concerns about paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances exist, using high-quality candles that meet safety standards can significantly reduce these concerns. By making informed choices, you can enjoy the cosy ambiance of candles without compromising your health.

For high-quality, safe candles, check out our collection at Luxe Candles.

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