7 Reasons why I do not like fragrances in skincare

7 Reasons why I do not like fragrances in skincare

Personally I do not use skincare products that contain fragrances neither I incorporate fragrances in the products I design. I am totally fine with products smelling like the raw ingredients (even when these do not smell like roses). These are my 7 reasons why I do not like fragrances in skincare:

1. Every single ingredient in skincare products that I designed provides a benefit for the skin either as part of the base (commodity ingredients) or as an active ingredient (efficacy driven ingredients). Fragrances do not add a skin benefit and therefore I have no room for them in my skincare products (I do love a good perfume though 🥰).

2. As we age our skin barrier function decreases increasing the chances for allergen penetration. What does this mean? It means that as we are getting old our skin is less capable to prevent contact allergens or irritants from penetrating. This facilitates the interaction between these molecules and our immune system which may trigger allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). Some of the most common allergens responsible for ACD are fragrance mix, nickel, and balsam of Peru. This explains in part why our skin becomes “more sensitive” as we age and why we start developing allergic reactions to products that we have used for years.

3. Increased penetration of allergens is also observed in people with dry skin/compromised barrier function. To make a bad situation even worse, irritants can breakdown the skin barrier even further increasing skin sensitization and chances of adverse reactions. What does this mean? It means our dry skin is less capable of defending itself from these allergens and they can penetrate dry skin easily but also can compromise the barrier function even further.

4. Skin penetration of contact allergens or irritants is increased (about two times) in subjects with atopic dermatitis/eczema. What does this mean? It means that people with eczema, about 10% of the adult population, are more susceptible to develop adverse reactions to allergens such as fragrances. Because eczema numbers are on the rise I am even more conscious about what I add to my skincare products

5. Fragrances in leave-on products such as skincare or makeup increase the risk of skin sensitization with time of use. What does this mean? It means that the daily small exposure to allergens may result in long-term implications such skin sensitization or irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). So, you will not see the effects of these allergens today but in a couple of years more when out of the blue you may develop redness and itchy rash (may be severe) in response to your normal skincare products.

6. Most of the information we have about fragrances (safety or as irritants) is based on the use of one fragrance. We do not know what happens when we combine two or more leave-on products with fragrances for long-periods of times (months or years). This may accelerate or intensify skin adverse reactions.

7. Fragrances are the most common cause of allergies to skincare products followed by certain preservatives. So, as they do not provide any benefit just a potential complication I prefer not to use fragrances in my skincare.

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