Do Fragrances in Skin Care Cause More Harm than Good?
When consumers head to the store to pick up a new hair product, hand lotion, or even beauty product, they look at the price, the brand, and sometimes the packaging. But many take it one step further by popping the lid and smelling the product to see if it agrees with their nose. Fragranced products have been appearing more and more over the years, including in the beauty and skin care world. Having sweet, floral, or other pleasantly-scented products can make for a more interesting skin care routine and some consumers are more likely to purchase a product if it smells nice. While the product may have a satisfying scent, the chemicals that create the fragrance can actually be harmful to your face, especially if you have sensitive skin. Let's take a look at the different types of fragrances found in products and why some fragranced skin care items can be damaging to your skin.
Natural vs. Synthetic Fragrances
Before we get into how scents can be problematic for the skin, let's examine the types of fragrances that could be in your products. There are two ways to categorize fragrances found in skin care products: natural fragrances or synthetic fragrances. Natural fragrances are made up of three different forms: aroma chemicals, essential oils, or fragrance oils. These fragrances are just what they say: natural. While natural fragrances may sound like a better or healthier solution, they still could present problems to those with sensitive skin. More skin care products tend to contain natural fragrances like lavender, which is a calming scent. Synthetic fragrances are chemically made with over 3,000 chemical options available for the formula. Synthetic fragrances create scents that cannot be replicated using natural ingredients. Unfortunately, manufacturers aren't required to disclose exactly which chemicals go into a product to create a fragrance, which can be a gamble for those with specific chemical allergies.
Fragrances and Your Skin
So what happens when you use a fragranced product without knowing the effects it can have on your skin? Prolonged use of a product can sometimes not show any signs of damage right away. The skin can be tricky and is skilled at hiding when it is irritated. Things may be looking okay on the surface, but deep in your skin, problems can be arising. Below the surface of the skin, certain fragrances can impact collagen production, prevent healing, or prevent the skin from fighting environmental damage. Common responses to fragranced products are allergic reactions like rashes, inflammations, hives, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis. Those suffering from acne may also notice that breakouts may appear and feel more irritated after using fragranced products, as many of the chemicals that make up the fragrance can stunt acne treatment. If you are using a fragranced product and feel a burning sensation, notice any added redness, breakouts, hives, or other reactions, wash the product off your face and consult your dermatologist.