There’s no denying that fragrances have long been central to personal and beauty care. From cleansers and creams to foundations and body lotions, scents seem to have dominated the beauty world. Sure, it’s always tempting to indulge yourself in a deliciously scented serum or moisturiser that’ll make you feel great, clean and fresh. But do fragrances have any skincare benefits other than giving your skin a lovely scent?
If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to eliminate perfumes and fragrances from your beauty care. Unfortunately, scents can do more damage than good to your skin. So, make sure to check the ingredients before adding any scented formula to your skincare arsenal.
For many users, scented beauty products have become an integral part of their overall skincare experience. While some argue that they can enhance moods and provide calming properties, experts point to their damaging effects on the skin.
The fragrance in your skincare formula usually involves more than a single ingredient. It can consist of different natural or synthetic aroma compounds or essential oils to impart a pleasant odour.
Skincare companies add this component to a beauty product to neutralise its other nasty odours. Of course, no one wants to use something that smells horrible. So, to mask the stink of certain chemicals in beauty care, they sneak in even the tiniest amount of fragrance in their products.
Fragranced skincare isn’t all about the scent, and it’s not the reason why experts warn consumers against its use. Fragrance in skincare typically relates to synthetic chemical scents, and artificial fragrances can be bad news. They are known allergens, causing allergic reactions and skin irritation, even to non-sensitive types. Fragrances can aggravate problematic conditions such as psoriasis, dry skin and eczema.
However, it’s essential to note that the damaging effects of fragrances also apply to natural scents. It’s easy to assume that natural means better, but that’s not always the case. Whether the fragrances are synthetic or natural, they can be problematic. That’s because every scent involves fifty to a hundred chemicals. The more ingredients it contains, the greater the likelihood of having a component in there that will irritate your skin.
The general rule is that, if the product smells too good, there’s a big chance it has perfume. Fragrance can also sneak into products under the guise of diethyl phthalate and parfum. Keep in mind, however, that just because something is unscented does not mean it has no trace of fragrance.
Unscented means that the formula doesn’t have any prominent fragrance but may contain certain substances to neutralise the odour of other active ingredients. In contrast, fragrance-free may refer to a product that doesn’t contain cologne or perfume.
The truth is it isn’t easy to formulate products without any fragrance that still appeal to consumers. That’s why it can also be challenging for consumers to determine which formulas are, indeed, free of any fragrance. You may find a product that doesn’t have “fragrance” on its list of ingredients but uses substances that naturally impart an aroma.
For instance, a skincare formula may contain plant extracts or oils with a pleasant smell but still label it fragrance-free. Therefore, be aware of products tagged as natural, organic, unscented, or fragrance-free because they may still cause adverse reactions to sensitive skin types.
Fortunately, manufacturers can now create unique formulations that avoid fragrance ingredients known to trigger reactions. Instead of using synthetic ingredients, they use essential oils or other healthy substances for the skin. Not only do they help neutralise foul smells, but they also deliver smoothing and healing properties. They also reduce the fragrance percentage in products to less than one per cent.
Do your research no matter what skincare product you want to buy, especially if you’re trying a new formula. Ingredients to look out for include limonene, citronellol, eugenol and geraniol. These ingredients have been widely used in fragrance substances in many cosmetics. It’s also a good idea to conduct a patch test before you apply new products. Alternatively, you can visit an allergist to find out if you have a fragrance allergy and get tested for potential triggers.
Many experts have spoken against the use of products containing synthetic fragrances due to their harmful effects on the skin. But even if you switch to natural ingredients, they may still have components that could trigger irritation and other skin problems. Going fragrance-free may seem to be the best solution to avoid unnecessary skin issues. But the key is figuring out what ingredients are in your beauty products to help you make an informed decision each time.
If you suspect fragrances are causing your skin concerns, Vinci Aesthetics can help. Book a free appointment and perhaps bring a few bottles of your products with you, and one of our experts will help.