Let’s be honest, sometimes there’s nothing better than indulging in skincare that smells as good as it feels; for most of us, scented products are a big part of the feel-good self-care experience. However, fragrances often spark fierce debates in the skincare sphere, and chances are you’ve heard that it’s bad news for your skin.

But the truth is, not everything is black and white when it comes to fragrances and there are a few things you should consider before ditching scented products for good. (Hint: it’s not always as bad as you think!) Here’s everything you need to know:

Why are there fragrances in my skincare?

A key reason why fragrances are added to personal care products is simply that they make them smell better. Without them, products often smell like chemicals or give off an unpleasant scent.

Adding fragrance thus enriches your skincare experience, making your products much more appealing. Think of it this way: if your favorite cream or serum worked wonders but smelled terrible, would you want to put it anywhere near your face? Let’s face it, probably not!

When To Avoid Fragrances

Yet scented ingredients have received backlash from consumers and skincare communities, mostly due to them increasing the risk of allergic reactions or irritations. If you have sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis, it’s best to avoid fragrances as they can worsen your conditions or cause strong reactions including redness, itchiness, dryness, and swelling. This is especially true for leave-on products such as moisturizers, serums, and sunscreen.

Aside from skin irritations, strong fragrances can also trigger migraines, especially if they are being applied to the face so close to the nose. So, if you are prone to migraines, it’s also best to avoid scented skincare products.

Why Fragrances Are NOT All Bad

However, if you don’t have any of the aforementioned skin conditions or you’re not affected by frequent migraines, chances are fragranced skincare products won’t be much of a problem for you.

According to a study by the European Commission, allergies and sensitivities to scented products affect just 1-3% of the European population. Similarly, a report by the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology suggests that 1.7-4.1% of the general US population is sensitive or allergic to scented cosmetic products. This means that the majority of people won’t have any adverse effects from using fragranced skincare.

On another note, synthetic fragrances have received a bad rep in the past, with many claiming them to be ‘toxic’. But contrary to popular belief, lab-made ingredients do not equate to toxic chemicals and they can often be safer for you as they are usually tested for safety and efficacy in highly controlled environments. In fact, it’s important to note that allergic reactions or irritations are not determined by how fragrances are derived (naturally derived or synthetically produced). 

Unscented VS Fragrance-free

It’s possible to find products containing hypoallergenic fragrances, which contain fewer irritants than normal fragrances, and you can find ‘fragrance-free’ or ‘unscented’ products too. But it’s important to note that they are not all one and the same.

Unscented products still contain fragrances, but they are added to neutralize any naturally occurring smells. In other words, they add just enough fragrance to mask the unpleasant odors from other ingredients, without giving off any noticeable scent.

Fragrance-free, on the other hand, means no additional fragrances or ingredients have been added to alter or enhance the smell of the product, but the product may still give off a scent thanks to naturally distinct smells from certain ingredients in the formulation.

How to Identify Fragrances On Labels

More often than not, fragrance ingredients won’t be identified individually; instead, they will be listed more generally as ‘fragrance’, ‘perfume’, ‘parfum’ (French for perfume), ‘essential oils’, or ‘aroma’.

Occasionally, however, you might find some specific scientific names for fragrances, which are important to note as these are some of the most common fragrance irritants. They include amyl cinnamal, benzyl alcohol, benzyl salicylate, cinnamyl alcohol, Citral, coumarin, eugenol, geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, oak moss, tree moss and linalool.

Essential oils or natural fragrant ingredients can also cause allergic reactions and irritations including Rose, Lavender, Orange, Geraniol, and Eucalyptus essences.

Fragrances in Yours

At Yours, most of our products don’t contain fragrances, however, some of them do contain an allergen-free fragrance (with less than 0.25% concentration). This is solely added to the formulations where the original scent of the natural active ingredients is not pleasant.

Here are the Yours products that contain fragrances:

  1. Cloud Factory gentle foaming cleanser (contains natural fragrance derived from Pinolium (Swiss Stone Pine extract)
  2. Sunny-Side Up
  3. Milky-way (Personalized night cream)
  4. DND Nights (Personalized night cream)
  5. Drop of Balance (Personalized serum)

For all of our products (including our fragrances) we only use 100% clean ingredients, ethically sourced from the Swiss Alps. We also blacklist over 1,400 toxic ingredients so you can rest assured you’re only getting the cleanest and safest formulations, even if the products may give off a mild scent. If ever in doubt, or if you prefer to eliminate fragrances from your routine completely, our customer service team is always here to help!

It’s clear that things are not that simple when it comes to fragrances in your skincare. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to dismiss them outright and it usually comes down to personal preference unless you know you’re truly sensitive to scents. The bottom line is, regardless of your skin type or skin concerns, you can always avoid any unwanted irritations by patch testing any new products (at least 24 hours before) before applying them to your face and incorporating them into your routine.

About the Author

Obsessed with writing, especially about skincare, lifestyle and fashion. Potato chip enthusiast and lover of live music and old school vinyl records.

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