How do you choose your beauty products?
Does an Influencer sway you? Do you make an impulse purchase whilst strolling the bright and shiny aisles? Or do you let your nose lead the way?
What about ingredients? Do you flip the box over and read the label before you make a decision?
If you don’t, you should. Why? Because although we’ve come round to trusting scientific research instead of hysteria—parabens aren’t bad; mineral oil isn’t the devil—there is still one culprit we accept and shouldn’t: fragrance.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. It’s up there with nickel and poison ivy, which most people know how to avoid.
Ironically, some of the most highly-fragranced skincare and cosmetics are also some of the most expensive. Fragrance is equated with luxury and has a long history in the beauty industry. We love wonderful smelling products, but our skin doesn’t.
WHAT DOES FRAGRANCE DO
It sensitises the skin and even if you don’t see an immediate reaction, the damage is being done sight unseen below the surface which can cause future havoc. This is true for all skin types, not just those with sensitive skin.
If you want to improve your skin now and protect your long-term skin health, banish (or at least reduce your exposure to) fragrance in your beauty regime. This includes natural plant and flower extracts or essential oils as well as synthetic fragrances.
Fragrance comes in many guises. Here is a list of common cosmetic ingredients that are really fragrances by many other names: *
- Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Rose flower extract (Rosa damascena)
- Bergamot oil (Citrus bergamia)
- Ylang-ylang oil (Canaga odorata)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Lime (Citrus aurantifolia or Citrus medica)
- Orange (Citrus sinensis)
- Tangerine (Citrus tangerine)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum)
US-based dermatologist and YouTuber, Dr. Dray, has the most comprehensive and compelling explanation of what fragrance does to the skin and why it should be avoided. (6:04 to 8:10)
Knowledge is power. When consumers stop buying scented products, the beauty industry will get the message; Fragrance belongs on the wrist, not the face.