Skincare fragrances are what make your products smell good. But there is more than meets the eye. These perfumed potions carry a list of less-entrancing ingredients.
One application of your favorite scented product can wreak havoc to your skin. For those with sensitive skin, these products can also trigger redness, bumps, and even pimples.
Before we dive into the world of fragrance, let us understand the nitty-gritty behind this word. “Fragrance” is a catch-all term, which may seem like one ingredient on the label. However, it can contain between 5 to 500 undisclosed compounds!
How are companies getting away with this? Unfortunately, in the United States, fragrance is the only ingredient which gets a free pass under the law. It does not need to say what it really contains, and can still be sold on the shelves.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exempts the fragrance industry to specify what is on their labels. While the FDA requires companies to provide an elaborate list of their ingredients, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act law does not cover fragrances. This law is not allowed to force companies to reveal these compounds as it is considered a trade secret.
With this in mind, consumers have good reason to doubt the safety of these secret ingredients. For all we know, there might be traces of synthetics, preservatives, or allergy-provoking substances, which we then unknowingly apply on our skin.
It is disappointing to say that these fragrances will remain undisclosed. The best we can do is to avoid them completely. Here are reasons as to why you should steer away from this ingredient.
Link to Cancer
It comes as no surprise that these secretive substances can potentially pose adverse health effects to our body.
A study by Breast Cancer Prevention Partners found a multitude of unlisted chemicals in commonly scented products. The same study then concluded that a quarter of these products contain substances linked to cancer and respiratory, developmental, and reproductive problems.
If you think products labeled as “unscented” are off the hook, think again. Oftentimes, they contain fragrances as well. These are what people call masking fragrances, which either produces that neutral or pleasant odor to conceal the smell of any raw materials that you might not like.
Nice-smelling products are always tempting to lather on the face. But especially for those with sensitive skin, this usually does not end well.
Skincare fragrances can flare up the skin, causing redness, itchiness, and even hives. Not all fragrances cause irritation of the same degree, though. For example, those with a dry skin type are more susceptible to such reactions.
Since everyone reacts differently to a product, the best rule of thumb is the small patch test. In order to prevent further irritation, apply a tiny amount of product on your skin. Wait a few hours and see if there are any noticeable reactions. If there are none, it is safe to assume that it will not aggravate your skin.
Recognized as fragrance sensitivity, there are two types of these allergens you need to know—respiratory, nose, and eye symptoms, and skin allergy symptoms.
The former can include headaches, asthma, and sneezing. As for the latter, skin allergies can translate to allergic contact dermatitis. This term refers to a rash or irritation of the skin when allergens, or substances that the immune system is foreign to, touch your skin.
If you experience these symptoms, consider switching to a fragrance-free routine. Prolonged exposure to these scented products may only worsen your skin allergy. To identify whether you are truly allergic to fragrances, you will likely see a red rash, or contact dermatitis, forming. This usually lasts between a few hours and two days tops. Besides that, you can tend to these rashes with soothing products, such as eczema cream. If the allergy worsens, you should visit your doctor immediately.
Lastly, for those who already have skin concerns like rosacea and eczema, your routines should be devoid of any fragrances. Wipe out your scented products, especially if they cause breakouts, redness, or eye irritation.
Keep your eyes peeled for these fragrances
Here is a condensed list of the common fragrances you are most likely to find on the labels of your skincare products:
- Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Rose flower extract (Rosa damascena)
- Bergamot oil (Citrus bergamia)
- Ylang-ylang oil (Canaga odorata)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Lime (Citrus aurantifolia or Citrus medica)
- Orange (Citrus sinensis)
- Tangerine (Citrus tangerine)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum)
In addition to your quest for clean beauty, you can choose from a wide range of our IRÉN serums. Formulated with clean ingredients only, these serums exclude our seven big no-no ingredients, including fragrances!
We especially recommend the IRÉN Keep Calm Soothing Serum. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and targets redness and eczema.
Armed with avocado extract, this soothing concoction will boost your skin’s immunity. Packed with a host of nutrients, this superfruit will also hydrate dry and flaky skin.
Better yet, explore the range of IRÉN Serums that is best suited for your skin. Best of all, it is fragrance-free!