Do Wax Melts Cause Headaches? Discover 7 Chemicals to Avoid.

Do you love wax melts but find yourself experiencing headaches, or even migraines, after using them? You’re not alone. Many people have reported issues with headaches and other side effects from using wax melts, particularly those made with paraffin wax. Switching to natural waxes, such as pure beeswax or natural beeswax, may alleviate these issues.

It’s important to understand the link between wax melts and headaches, as well as other potential health concerns associated with these products. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of waxes used in wax melts, including natural waxes like beeswax and soy wax, as well as the production process for these products. Additionally, we’ll discuss the use of fragrance oils, perfumes, artificial fragrances, and strong scents in wax melts.

We’ll also dive into recent research on the topic of fragranced products, such as beeswax melts with fragrance oils, and provide tips for choosing pure beeswax or natural beeswax melts with strong scents that are less likely to cause candle headaches. So if you’re a fan of wax melts but want to ensure you’re using them in a safe way, read on to learn more about this important topic.

Can Wax Melts Cause Headaches?

Wax melts made from natural waxes, such as pure beeswax, have become a popular alternative to traditional candles. These fragranced products offer long-lasting scents without the need for an open flame. However, some people have reported headaches from strong scents in these wax cubes.

How Fragrances Can Affect Our Health

Fragrances are all around us, from the perfume we wear to the air fresheners we use in our homes. While many of us enjoy pleasant scents, some people may experience adverse effects from exposure to certain fragrances. This is because fragrances contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be released into the air and potentially cause health problems. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, consider using soy wax candles or wax melts instead of traditional candles, as candle headaches or migraines can be triggered by the fragrances in regular candles.

When we inhale these VOCs, they can irritate our respiratory system and trigger health effects like headaches, dizziness, and nausea, including migraines. For people with asthma or other respiratory conditions, exposure to fragrances from traditional wax melts and candles can be particularly problematic. Consider using soy wax candles or wax melts as an alternative.

Mention of Studies That Have Investigated This Topic

Several studies have investigated whether or not fragrance exposure, including from wax melts, can cause headaches. One study published in 2009 found that exposure to certain fragrances, such as those found in wax melts, could trigger migraines in some people. Another study published in 2018 looked at the impact of essential oils, which are often used in wax melts, on migraine sufferers and found that while some oils could help relieve symptoms, others could make them worse.

While these studies don’t specifically focus on wax melts, they do suggest that fragrance exposure can be a trigger for headaches in some individuals.

Overview of Whether or Not Wax Melts Can Cause Headaches

So where does this leave us. However, since wax melts contain fragrances just like other scented products, it’s possible that they could cause headaches in some people.

If you’re someone who experiences frequent headaches or migraines, it may be worth paying attention to how your body reacts to wax melts with fragrance oils. If you notice that you experience symptoms like headache or dizziness after using them, it may be best to avoid them in the future.

It’s also important to note that not all fragrances are created equal. Some people may be more sensitive to certain scents than others, so what triggers a headache for one person might not affect another person at all. This is especially true for wax melts, as the intensity of the scent can vary depending on the quality and brand of the product.

The Connection Between Candles and Headaches

Candles and wax melts are a popular source of light, scent, and ambiance in many households. However, some people may experience headaches after lighting candles.

How Candles Release Chemicals into the Air We Breathe

When you light a candle or a wax melt, it releases chemicals into the air that we breathe. These chemicals include soot, smoke, and other particles that can cause respiratory issues. Some candles or wax melts contain oils or synthetic fragrances that can trigger migraines or headaches in sensitive individuals.

Common Symptoms Associated with Candle-Induced Headaches

Candle-induced headaches and wax melt can present themselves in various ways. Some common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Throbbing pain on one side of the head

If you experience any of these symptoms after lighting a candle or wax melt, it’s possible that it is causing your headache.

Ways to Prevent Candle Headaches

There are several ways to prevent candle-induced headaches:

  1. Choose Beeswax or Soy-based Candles: Beeswax and soy-based candles are natural alternatives to paraffin wax candles. They do not release harmful chemicals when burned and are less likely to cause headaches.
  2. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances often contain chemicals that can trigger migraines or headaches in sensitive individuals. Instead, opt for unscented candles or those made with essential oils.
  3. Use Proper Ventilation: Make sure to use candles in well-ventilated areas to reduce exposure to harmful particles released by burning candles.
  4. Trim Wicks Regularly: Long wicks can create more soot when burned than shorter ones. Trim your wick regularly before lighting your candle to reduce this effect.
  5. Keep Burning Time Short: Limit the amount of time you burn your candle to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. A maximum of two hours is recommended.

Types of Candle Wax That May Trigger Headaches

Candles are a popular way to add ambiance and fragrance to any room, but for some people, they can also cause headaches. The culprit? Candle wax. While all candle waxes have the potential to trigger headaches, some types are more likely to do so than others.

Overview of Different Types of Candle Wax Available in the Market

Candle wax is typically made from either animal-based or plant-based materials. Here are some common types of candle wax you might find:

  • Paraffin Wax: This is the most commonly used type of candle wax and is derived from petroleum.
  • Soy Wax: Made from soybeans, this type of wax has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its eco-friendly profile.
  • Beeswax: As the name suggests, beeswax comes from bees and is known for its natural honey scent.
  • Coconut Wax: This type of wax is made from coconut oil and has a creamy texture.
  • Palm Wax: Derived from palm oil, this type of wax produces a unique crystalline effect when it dries.

Explanation on Which Types May Trigger Headaches

While any candle wax has the potential to trigger headaches, paraffin wax may be more likely to do so. This is because it contains chemicals such as benzene and toluene that can release harmful fumes when burned. These fumes can irritate your respiratory system and lead to headaches.

Soy candles are often touted as a safer alternative to paraffin candles because they don’t contain these harmful chemicals. However, that doesn’t mean they’re completely harmless. Some people may still experience headaches or other symptoms when burning soy candles due to their fragrance or other additives.

Beeswax candles are another popular alternative to paraffin candles. They don’t contain any harmful chemicals and have a natural honey scent that many people find pleasant. However, they can be more expensive than other types of candle wax.

Mentioning Specific Ingredients That People Should Avoid

If you’re prone to headaches or other respiratory symptoms, there are certain ingredients you should avoid when shopping for candles. These include:

  • Fragrances: Many candles contain synthetic fragrances that can irritate your respiratory system. Look for candles that use natural essential oils instead.
  • Dyes: Some candles may contain dyes that can also trigger headaches or other symptoms. Look for candles that are free from artificial dyes.
  • Lead wicks: In the past, some candle wicks contained lead, which can release harmful fumes when burned. Today, lead wicks are banned in the United States, but it’s still important to double-check your candle’s label to make sure it doesn’t contain any lead.

Potential Health Risks of Scented Candles

Scented candles are a popular way to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in our homes. However, have you ever stopped to think about the potential health risks associated with burning scented candles?

Chemicals Used in Scented Candles

Many scented candles contain artificial fragrances or fragrance oils that emit strong scents. These fragrances can release toxic fumes when burned, which can cause adverse health effects such as headaches, dizziness, and respiratory problems. Some of these chemicals include:

  • Phthalates: These chemicals are often used to make fragrances last longer and can cause hormonal disruptions.
  • Benzene: This chemical is released when certain waxes are burned and has been linked to cancer.
  • Toluene: This chemical is found in some fragrance oils and has been linked to developmental damage.

Long-Term Exposure

Long-term exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as asthma, allergies, and even cancer. It’s important to note that not all scented candles are created equal. Some may use natural essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances, making them a safer option for those who enjoy the scent of candles.


If you’re concerned about the potential health risks associated with burning scented candles, there are alternatives available. Here are some options:

  • Use unscented candles: Unscented candles still provide ambiance without emitting potentially harmful chemicals.
  • Choose natural scents: Look for candles made with natural essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.
  • Opt for fragrance-free products: If you still want your home to smell nice but don’t want to burn anything, consider using diffusers or air fresheners that don’t use fragrances.
  • Open windows: When burning candles, make sure to open windows to allow for proper ventilation and reduce the risk of inhaling toxic fumes.

Tips for Avoiding Headaches from Wax Melts and Candles

Wax melts and candles are popular ways to create a cozy atmosphere or add fragrance to a room. However, some people may experience headaches when using them.

Choose Safer Alternatives

One way to prevent headaches from wax melts is by choosing safer alternatives. Paraffin wax candles are made from petroleum and can release harmful chemicals when burned, which can cause headaches. Beeswax candles are a natural alternative that does not produce harmful chemicals when burned. Soy wax candles are also another safe option as they do not contain any toxic substances.

Suggestions for Alternative Ways to Fragrance a Room without Using Candles or Wax Melts

If you want to avoid using candles or wax melts altogether, there are other ways you can fragrance your home without causing headaches:

  • Essential oil diffusers: These devices use water and essential oils to create a fragrant mist that fills the room.
  • Potpourri: A mix of dried flowers, herbs, and spices that release fragrance naturally.
  • Room sprays: Aerosol sprays that come in various scents.
  • Incense sticks: Made of natural materials like bamboo, wood powder, or charcoal with fragrant oils added.

Prevent Headaches Caused by Wax Melts

If you still prefer using wax melts but want to prevent headaches caused by them, here are some tips:

  • Use high-quality wax melts made with natural ingredients.
  • Avoid purchasing cheap wax melts made with synthetic fragrances as they can contain harmful chemicals.
  • Limit the amount of time the wax melt is burning in the room.
  • Keep the room well ventilated while burning the wax melt.

Common Ways Candles Can Trigger Headaches

Candles are a popular way to create ambiance and add fragrance to a room. However, for some people, burning candles can be a headache trigger.

Factors That Contribute To Candle-Induced Headaches

There are several factors that contribute to candle-induced headaches. These include:

1. Fragrance

The fragrance of the candle is one of the most significant factors that can trigger headaches. Certain scents are more potent than others and may cause irritation in sensitive individuals. Some common fragrances that may trigger headaches include:

  • Strong floral scents such as jasmine or rose
  • Spicy scents such as cinnamon or clove
  • Citrusy scents such as lemon or orange

If you have experienced headaches after burning candles with these types of fragrances, it may be best to avoid them in the future.

2. Burning Time

The longer a candle burns, the more likely it is to release irritants into the air that can trigger headaches. It’s important not to burn candles for extended periods, especially in small rooms with poor ventilation.

3. Ventilation

Poor ventilation can exacerbate the effects of candle smoke and lead to an increase in headache symptoms. When burning candles indoors, ensure there is adequate ventilation by opening windows or using fans.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Candle-Induced Headaches

While avoiding candles altogether might seem like the easiest solution for those prone to headaches triggered by them, there are other options available that allow you to enjoy their ambiance without triggering your symptoms. Here are some tips:

1. Choose Unscented Candles

Unscented candles do not contain any added fragrances and therefore pose a lower risk of triggering headaches. They can still provide the same ambiance and lighting as scented candles without the added irritants.

2. Opt For Natural Fragrances

If you prefer scented candles, choose those made with natural fragrances such as essential oils. These tend to be less potent than synthetic fragrances and are less likely to cause headaches.

3. Burn Candles In A Well-Ventilated Area

Ensure that your room has adequate ventilation when burning candles. Open windows or use fans to promote air circulation and prevent the buildup of irritants in the air.

Understanding the Risks and Solutions for Headaches Caused by Wax Melts and Candles

In conclusion, wax melts and scented candles can cause headaches due to the chemicals they release into the air. The types of wax used in these products, such as paraffin wax, may also contribute to headaches. However, there are ways to avoid these risks, such as choosing natural soy or beeswax candles with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.

To prevent headaches from wax melts and candles, make sure to keep your space well-ventilated and limit your exposure time. Try using unscented candles or diffusers that use water-based solutions instead of wax melts.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with scented candles and take steps to protect yourself. By choosing safer alternatives and being mindful of your exposure time, you can still enjoy a cozy ambiance without sacrificing your health.


Q: Can natural candle options still cause headaches?

A: While natural candle options like soy or beeswax may be less likely to trigger headaches than synthetic fragrances or paraffin wax candles, they can still contain essential oils that may affect some individuals. It’s best to test out different options and limit exposure time if you’re prone to headaches.

Q: How long should I burn a candle for?

A: To avoid overexposure to fragrance chemicals that may trigger headaches, it’s recommended to burn a candle for no more than 2-3 hours at a time.

Q: What should I do if I get a headache from burning a candle?

A: If you experience a headache after burning a candle or using wax melts, try stepping outside for fresh air or taking a break in another room with good ventilation. You can also try using peppermint oil or other natural remedies known for their headache-relieving properties.

Q: Are there any other health risks associated with scented candles?

A: In addition to triggering headaches, scented candles may release harmful chemicals into the air that can affect indoor air quality. Some of these chemicals have been linked to respiratory issues and even cancer.

Q: How can I tell if a candle is made from natural ingredients?

A: Look for candles labeled as “100% soy” or “beeswax” instead of “soy blend” or “paraffin wax.” Check the ingredient list for essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.