Blame it on the Bougie – 5 things about candles


If you like scented candles and you like trivial facts, you will love this post.  It is five trivial facts about candles.

1. There is no evidence that mineral oil based candles cause cancer.  In theory carcinogenic materials could be produced by burning mineral oil – or anything else come to that.  Some carcinogens have been measured being emitted by lighted candles.  Lighting up a candle probably produces roughly the same range of harmful substances as a cigarette, but much much less of them.  My gut feeling is that candles are harmless, but if you are very risk averse steer clear of candles and all other sources of smoke.

2. Mineral oil based candles contribute to global warming.  Beeswax and soy wax candles don’t.  The carbon in the beeswax and the soy wax came from the atmosphere in the first place, so by burning them you are just putting it back.

3. Any candle can make your walls sooty.  The trick is to make the candle burn brightly so that all the wax is fully converted to carbon dioxide in a hot flame.  The less efficient this process, the more material ends up settling.  Scented candles often burn at fairly low heats so are worse in general in this respect.

4. You look better in candle light.  Dilated pupils make you look more attractive, and you pupils dilate in low light intensities..

5. The best natural candles were made from spermaceti wax from the head of sperm whales.  This wax also got used in skin cream.  There is still an echo of this.  If you look on an ingredient list you will often see the prefix cetyl, for example cetyl alcohol. Cetus is the latin for whale.  These ingredients were originally made from whale oil.  (But haven’t been for many decades.)


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