Is Fragrance Bad For Your Skin?
There are many documented cases of allergic reaction to fragrances. Statistics show that fragrances account for 35% – 40% of contact dermatitis in cosmetics.
If fragrance is bad for the skin, why is it that the first thing almost everyone does when testing any skin care product is smell it? A product with a wonderful aroma will almost always have the edge. The big majority certainly believes that fragrances can be a positive enhancement in their skin care routine.
The simple truth is that only 1% – 4% of the general population is at risk, and the allergic reactions are generally described as mild.
Statistically though, the numbers are considered significant. The fragrance-sensitive population is also steadily growing, from 1% in 1997 to 4% in 2003. It’s 2015 now. How high has this number increased?
If you are one of those prone to allergic reactions, it is best to look for truly fragrance-free products. This can be very tricky and challenging.
Products labeled as fragrance-free may still contain scent-masking ingredients with potential for irritation. These are usually essential oils that can contain the very same allergens found in fragrances.
The more commonly used essential oils with offending allergens are lavender oil (linalool), rose oil (geraniol), cinnamon and vanilla (eugenol), chamomile (cinnamal), citronella (citronellol), and citrus (limonene).
|DERMAX fragrance-free products |
are guaranteed free of fragrance.
These are among the 26 fragrance ingredients in the EU Cosmetic Directive (March 2005) requiring that these be included in ingredients list at concentrations >10 ppm for leave-on products, and >100 ppm in rinse-off products.
The bottom line: For the majority, and that means over 90% of the general population, fragrances in cosmetics need not spell trouble. If you belong to this group, and a refreshing lavender-scented moisturizer will relieve you of your stress, then you should go for it. If you are the sensitive skin type, you should be careful in choosing the right skin care products that are really fragrance-free. ____________________________________________________
This article appeared in the main section of The Manila Bulletin, page 3, on February 24, 2015. Fred Reyes is a cosmetic chemist and scientist, and the CEO of DERMAX and SkinStation, two leading skin clinic chains in the Philippines. He was awarded the Outstanding Professional in Chemistry in 2011 by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).