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Paraffin Wax Vs. Soy Wax

September 11, 2018

From soy wax to beeswax, paraffin wax to coconut wax, there is a huge variety of waxes used to make candles nowadays. Because they are all so different, it’s only right that people wonder which one is the best choice for them. In this article, we are going to focus on the difference between soy and paraffin wax, and address some of the myths that surround them both.

The biggest distinction between these two waxes is when they were discovered. Paraffin wax was found in around 1850 during the refining process of crude oil. Nearly 150 years later, in 1991, soy wax was discovered; it’s soybean oil that has been mixed with hydrogen so it becomes solid at room temperature. As you can see, they are both made from different substances and processes.

The main myth about both paraffin and soy wax is that they are both toxic and can damage our health. Because paraffin wax comes from crude oil, and its association with petroleum which is another derivative of crude oil, it’s believed that it’s harmful. This isn’t the case, as they have two very different compositions.

The soot and the chemicals that both of these wax types create and emit is also believed to be extremely toxic. Paraffin wax emissions include chemicals like alkans, alkenes and toluene and it’s thought that soy wax emissions include chemicals from pesticides that have been sprayed onto soybean crops. Soy wax manufacturers filter out any of these chemicals, and the chemicals that paraffin wax emits have minimal effect on humans. It’s correct that soot is not good for your respiratory system but it isn’t necessarily dangerous, and mostly depends on how the candle is burning. In general, soy wax burns in a slightly cleaner manner, but a good quality paraffin wax should not burn with a sooty smoke either.

The idea that either wax is harmful is completely incorrect. These waxes would not be used in candles and sold to the public if they were considered as unsafe; paraffin is actually approved by the FDA and is used in food and cosmetics. As long as you don’t burn your candles in a non-ventilated room, with an untrimmed wick that produces a large amount of soot, for a long period of time, there will be no effect on your health.

At Illumens, we use soy wax in our Folio Collection and in Misc., and paraffin wax in our other ranges because they both work well in use, and we do not see any evidence that either are harmful to people or the environment.

Just enjoy your candle safe in the knowledge that you, and the world we live in are all perfectly safe whichever wax they are made from!