The beauty world is experiencing a transition. More than ever, beauty enthusiasts are now conscious of how their products affect health and the environment.
Thankfully, ingredients in skincare products such as steroids, parabens, and phthalates have been kicked to the curb for being dangerous to our health. But we tend to overlook one seemingly innocent ingredient because we like how it makes us feel. And that ingredient is fragrance.
Our sense of smell is highly developed. When fragrances are used in our personal care products, it makes us fall in love with their delectable scents. It is not uncommon to see consumers buying a skincare product based solely on its impressive wafting smell.
Also, product manufacturers use fragrances to mask the smell of their not-so-pleasant formulations that may oxidize over time.
Why are fragrances harmful to your skin?
Fragrances are found in a slew of our beauty products; cleansers, toners, moisturizers, scrubs, and serums.
Using skincare products with fragrance once in a while is not 100% bad. After all, scented products may help us relax and even boost our mood. However, if you use them regularly, you may want to reconsider.
Usually, most health-conscious users go for natural fragrances such as essential oils because they are thought to be more "natural" than synthetic fragrances. That an ingredient has natural origins does not mean that it is safe and healthy.Essential oils are not entirely "innocent" as they can aggravate your skin, just like synthetic scents.
It may be hard to accept, but despite their wide use in skincare products, fragrances offer no benefits to our skin, and in fact they are often harmful.
Here's how fragrances can wreak havoc on your skin.
Fragrances sensitize your skin.
One of the most common adverse effects of fragrances is skin sensitization. Fragrances compromise your skin barrier, leaving you at the mercy of environmental stressors. The volatile compounds in fragrances can cause contact dermatitis, which makes your skin red with minor rashes.
Fragrances cause allergies.
Fragrance allergy is a thing, and that's why a survey states that almost a third of the American population has dealt with it. Symptoms of allergies triggered by fragrances are itching, sneezing, blisters, and hives.
Fragrances cause skin irritation.
Perfumes are classified as irritants. Fragrances such as linalool and limonene fall under the class of compounds known as monoterpenoids that can cause irritations such as burning sensation, dryness of skin, rashes.
Volatile organic compounds have been known to cause air pollution, and fragrances are no exception
When your skin is exposed to air pollution from fragrances, it releases reactive oxygen, which causes free radical damage. Free radical damage destroys the lipid and protein structure of skin cells, leading to collagen depletion which results in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin aging.
Fragrance makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Fragrances such as essential oils of the citrus family make your skin more photosensitive, leading to sunburn in the long run. Using your favorite citrus-y body product before going out in the sun can cause phytophotodermatitis, a condition that comes with blisters, redness, and intense burns. You should tread with caution with scented products, even if your skin is not sensitive, as they can take a toll on your skin in the long run.
How can I identify fragrance(s) in my product?
There is no rule of thumb for hand-picking products whith perfumes. It is pretty dicey because there's no transparency about the types of fragrances used in most white label products.
However, here's what you should look out for when identifying the presence of scents in your beauty supply;
Natural (Essential oils)
When you use a scented skincare product, you make your nose happy at the expense of your skins health. To keep your skin healthy, you should only include fragrance-free products in your beauty arsenal.