Beeswax Candles

Surprsing truth about migraines and candles

The truth about migraines and candles

Did you know that one out of three people have negative physical reactions to heavily scented products? That means whenever there is a roomful of people gathered together, there is probably at least one person that is experiencing a headache, or in its severe form, a migraine, and it could be a scented candle that is causing it. The person with the negative reaction may not even know what the trigger is and may just suffer in silence. 

As a person who loves candles with added fragrances, I am that unfortunate one of out of three people that cannot be around a perfumed candle. As a life-long candle addict, finding out that it was my beloved candles triggering my migraines was seriously depressing news to me. It took years of medications, medical tests and lost days due to illness to finally figure out the cause. It's not only strong scented candles that trigger migraines, but any strong fragrance such as perfumes or household cleaners etc. 


According to the National Institute of Health and the National Library of Medicine, 34.7% of people will suffer headaches or more severe migraines (and other upper respiratory issues etc) when exposed to strong fragrances. 

This is very disappointing news to any candle addict who looks forward to each season’s new fragrances being launched by our favorite candle companies. If you are one of the fortunate ones that can be in a roomful of fragrance candles and feel fine, I envy you! Just keep this statistic in mind when hosting a gathering or buying candles as gifts. 


If you enjoy giving candles as gifts (and what candle-lover doesn’t!) then beeswax candles are always a safe choice as long as it’s 100% pure beeswax, without any type of perfumes added. Even with beeswax candles, make sure it does not contain any fragrances that were added by humans, as it's the artificial fragrances and not the wax type that triggers headaches and migraines. 

Beeswax is the only type of candle wax that smells great in its natural state, without any added fragrances needed. 

None of the other waxes used to make candles have a pleasant, delicate scent in their original state; in fact, they are not even wax in their original state, but have to be converted into wax. Paraffin, soy, palm and even coconut waxes do not have any fragrance to them at all unless it is added during the candle-making process. To be on the safe side, you can burn these types of unscented candles, but you are doing so only for the ambiance of beautiful candle-light. If you want to burn a candle that still smells nice but doesn't have added fragrances, beeswax is the best choice.  Beeswax is the only candle wax that let’s you have your cake and eat it too. Or in this case, let’s you have your lovely candle scent without being a perfumed candle.

This isn't a blog post putting beeswax candles on a pedestal and criticizing all other kinds of candles, because that simply isn't the case. The world is filled with beautiful candles of all wax types and fragrances, but unfortunately, a third of our population can be physically uncomfortable when exposed to them. It's always a safe bet to have unscented candles (hopefully beeswax!) available for gift giving or when hosting company.

So next time you are shopping for a candle gift or planning your next social gathering, keep natural beeswax candles at the top of your list as they make a safe, bright, and long-burning choice!

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Bee Cozy

Author: Kari Lien, Chief Chandler @ Big Moon Beeswax


Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine -


Mayo Clinic -

Sensory stimuli. Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people

The American Migraine Foundation’s guide to triggers and how to manage them

The American Migraine Foundation -


Some odors may activate certain nerve receptors in the nasal passages that may trigger a migraine attack or make worse one that already started. Osmophobia (aversion to odors) is a common symptom of migraine.

How to cope: Avoid perfumes, strong food smells, chemicals or gasoline. If you work in an office environment, make your condition known among your coworkers, and don’t be afraid to ask that they refrain from wearing perfume or cologne.

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