Is fragrance in skincare products safe? Here’s the big reveal!

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

Now Read Carefully details

Are you someone who loves to splurge on skincare? If yes, don’t get fooled by fragrance in all skincare products as it may do more harm than good.

Who doesn’t love to indulge their skin with the most luxurious moisturizers and serums, right? Some of them have such a lovely fragrance that you literally can’t have enough of. But do you really put any thought into this? Are these fragrances safe for us, or can such skincare cost us our health Before we ask our expert about the details, let’s give you a primer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrances are considered the leading cause of allergic skin reactions including pigmentation, and affect around 1% of the general population. 

fragrances in cosmetics
Fragrances in cosmetics are not completely safe. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here’s what Jaishree Sharad, celebrity dermatologist told HealthShots, “Fragrance in skincare products contain allergens such as geraniol, eugenol, citronellol, phthalates. These can cause skin allergies, hives, itching, rashes, sneezing, wheezing, and pigmentation. They can also exacerbate existing eczemas, and pigmentation. Phthalates and synthetic musks such as styrene, methyl eugenol are even supposed to alter hormones,” she adds. 

For the unversed, phthalates can also cause cancer, toxicity in the body, endocrine issues, birth defects and respiratory problems. Sometimes, one doesn’t even know that they are added to cosmetics, because manufacturers are not required to list them on labels. 

What must be kept in mind?

As per the Food and Drug Administration, fragrance ingredients are also used in products like shampoos, shower gels, and body lotions. In fact, there are certain products that may call themselves ‘unscented’ and yet contain harmful ingredients. This is because companies add them to mask the unpleasant smell, without them producing a noticeable scent. 

Dr Sharad says that some companies may use it to appeal to the consumer by way of an emotional connection. It could also be to increase value perception. But whatever may be the case, it is important for those especially who are new to skincare to find out if they are allergic to fragrant products. They could also visit an allergy specialist to know better. 

fragrances in cosmetics
Fragrances in cosmetics could be the reason why your skin itches so. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Although a report in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology says that 1.7 to 4.1 percent of the general population is sensitized to such cosmetics, it is always better to conduct a patch test before applying new products. 

Just apply a tiny amount of the product behind your ear or inside of your arm. If there is any allergic reaction or redness, do not use the product in any way. 

The last word

The world of cosmetics will throw up multiple options, but do not get swayed by terms such as ‘clean fragrance’ or ‘natural fragrance’, because whether natural or synthetic, it may just be better to stay away from them!

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