Paraffin vs. Soy Candles: What's the difference?

Do you know what your favorite candle is made of?  How about the $5 candle - it has a super strong scent but with that cheap price tag how could it have quality ingredients?  Do the candles we burn in our homes have an impact on air quality?

These questions have become very popular discussions over the past decade.  Honestly, ten years ago I didn't have a clue what was in my candles, and I didn't care, as long as they smelled good and were strong, I was happy.

Then I got pregnant, and things in my body changed.  I noticed I had headaches when burning some of my favorite candles.  I learned about the difference between soy and paraffin candles and discovered paraffin could be the culprit. A lot of people think it's the fragrance in candles that give them headaches, but more commonly it's the paraffin wax.  There are also a lot of soy imposter candles that advertise themselves as a "soy blend" but they don't have to disclose what they are blended with and some of them are blended with paraffin.

paraffin vs soy wax for candles

What's the deal with paraffin?  Paraffin is a byproduct from manufacturing crude oil into gasoline.  Read that again.  Do you want that burning in your home?  Realistically if you burn a paraffin candle for a short period of time in a large, well ventilated room, there's likely minimal impact on air quality.  But how many of us do that?  Personally when I light a candle it's when I'm home most of the day/night and the candle burns for most of that time too.

So why do we even use paraffin in candles?  Well, we at IRON+PEARL don't.  But due to the chemical composition of paraffin, it binds really well with fragrance oil and burns at a higher temperature - therefore it creates a stronger smelling candle, some can be very overpowering.  Since it is a byproduct of a largely manufactured item, it is cheaply sourced, often from other countries.

There are a lot of scientific studies on testing the air quality while burning candles.  I'll link a few arguing both sides of the coin below.  In the end, we all have to make decisions for what's important to us.  Personally, paraffin candles give me headaches when I burn them, so I choose not to burn them in my home, or make candles with it. 

We commit to sourcing our American farmed soy wax responsibly and hope you'll notice the difference.

- Cristi

 

Read more... here's some articles on the topic: 

Lung inflammation and genotoxicity in mice lungs after pulmonary exposure to candle light combustion particles

Frequent use of certain candles produces unwanted chemicals

Report on the Ökometric Wax and Emissions Study

 

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