This is a guide covering candles and headaches.
The fall season is almost here. The scented candles, apple pies, joy, and festivities are also almost around the corner.
On a good day, you were enjoying the warmth and radiance of the candle.
All of a sudden, you get a nagging headache or worse, a terrible migraine episode.
Has that ever happened to you or your loved ones? If yes, then you should know that the headache is from the candle.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Can Candles Cause Headaches?
Well, yes. Before you blame your allergies and sensitivities as a culprit, let us put a foreword here.
Although people with allergies and sensitivities are more susceptible, the root cause is not your overactive immune system.
The primary culprit is the quality of the candle that you use.
If you use candles of low quality, you would be prone to headaches and dizziness.
You must be wondering how?
Why Do Some Candles Cause Headaches?
Most of the candles are made of paraffin.
Even the candles that are advised to be soy are mostly a blend of paraffin and soy wax.
If you read our blog regularly, you already are well aware of the ill effects of lighting paraffin wax candles. Now, let’s add headaches to the list of the effects.
Paraffin is made of petroleum. When it’s burned, paraffin releases carcinogenic compounds such as soot, benzene, and toluene.
According to the CDC website, even minutes of exposure to benzene causes immediate symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and, if inhaled in large quantities, may cause death.
While, minutes of exposure to toluene in large quantities causes a headache, muscle soreness, anxiety, insomnia, and permanent nerve damage.
Ever felt that you are running low on oxygen when you light up the candle for long periods? This can be a case of carbon monoxide poisoning.
This also leads to headaches and other serious complications. Do not light the candle for more than four hours.
There are other problematic ingredients in candles other than paraffin wax.
Especially for scented candles, manufacturers add artificial fragrances to make them smell heavenly.
But artificial fragrances also emit toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned.
These compounds also cause headaches.
One more factor is the metal core in the wick. Some of the candle manufacturers still use lead core in the cotton wick to prevent the softening of the wick due to the wax.
Lead particles can build up in the body and cause lead poisoning.
Common symptoms of lead poisoning are headaches, muscle pain or joint pain, trouble concentrating, memory problems, etc.
Do Candles Give Off Toxic Fumes?
Yes, candles give off toxic fumes. As we have mentioned above, candles release volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene.
When they are inhaled for longer periods, they might even cause long-term adverse effects or permanent damage to your health and well-being.
These toxic fumes are particularly harmful to people who have chemical or fragrance sensitivities or who are asthmatic.
They cause an itchy throat, watery eyes, headaches, and dizziness. They also affect the respiratory organs such as longs.
They damage bronchi, alveoli, air passages, etc., and cause breathlessness, hypoxia, and death.
Does this mean that you give up on burning candles? Not at all.
It’s more of making an informed decision. Read the labels before you buy candles.
Check the base ingredients. Avoid paraffin wax to avoid the headaches from candles.
Enquire about the wick core of the candle. Avoid any heavy metal exposure.
Check with the manufacturer even if they mention the candles are made of soy wax.
Most of the candles in the market are a blend of soy and paraffin. So, take utmost precautions to buy 100% pure soy wax or any other natural wax.
100% pure soy wax produces cleaner burns. 100% pure soy wax candles do not release any toxic carcinogens or fumes.
Does the Type of Candle Wax Affect If You Get a Headache?
Yes, the type of candle wax plays a key role in the physical well-being of the household. Have you ever observed that your allergies are triggered only when you are burning candles made of certain ingredients?
One of my friends has pointed out that his migraine gets triggered only when he burns paraffin wax candles. So, now you know the culprit.
Any candle that’s made of artificial substances can be a trigger for headaches and dizziness. Paraffin wax candles not only contain paraffin.
They are also mixed with artificial additives for appearance and fragrance. These additives also emit volatile compounds that cause headaches.
100% pure soy wax candles do not emit toxic substances as they don’t contain any additives. So, you are free from headaches from soy wax candles.
Beeswax candles produce the cleanest burns. Although they are slightly expensive, they are good for the health and well-being of the household.
Natural waxes such as palm wax, coconut wax, etc., can also be better alternatives for paraffin.
Headaches can be debilitating at times.
We burn the candles to soothe and comfort ourselves.
No one wants to be bothered by a headache on a good day or a cozy evening.
Prevent this from happening by reading labels and selecting clean ingredients.
Every decision you make counts.
Make a well-informed decision and safeguard the health and well-being of you, your loved ones, and your pets.
I have always been fascinated with the various scents of the world. Whether it’s food being prepared, a new candle being lit, or the smell of freshly cut grass. I started this blog to talk about all things smells and scents — the good and the bad.