When Should You Avoid Fragrance in Skincare?

Fragrances in skincare, whether synthetic or natural, is a pretty hot topic, as not everyone in the dermatological community agrees on what’s bad and what’s good for your skin. For instance, lavender oil is an allergen for some people. But, for others, it helps calm the skin (and your senses).

So what’s the deal? Should you always avoid fragrance? Is it okay sometimes? Are there certain fragrances in skincare that are better than others? Let’s answer all of these questions!

Not All Fragrances Are Bad for Everyone

Although most fragrances, even natural ones, are capable of causing skin reactions, they aren’t necessarily the evil toxins that some people make them out to be. Of course, if you have acne, eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, you’ll want to avoid most fragrances. But suppose you haven’t reacted badly to fragrance in skincare in the past. In that case, you will probably be fine using those products, especially if they are rinse-off solutions like masks or cleansers.

Read the Ingredients List

Many skincare products labeled as “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin” can still be loaded with fragrances since those terms are not regulated. Instead of trusting a brand because it claims to be clean or natural, always check the ingredients.

Concentration Matters

On a similar note, ingredients in products are listed in order of their concentration. Having a moisturizer with a list of skin-loving superstar ingredients and one fragrance at the end probably won’t cause an issue if you aren’t highly sensitive. But, the more prominence a fragrance has in a particular formula, the more irritating it can be.

Be Wary of Undisclosed Fragrances

Always be cautious if an ingredient list uses overly general terms like “perfumes,” “fragrances,” or “essential oils.” If a brand isn’t disclosing the exact types, there might be a bad reason for it.

Do Your Research

What does all of this mean? Do your own research. If you’re unsure about a product, you can look it up on websites like CosDNA to check the safety of its ingredients and its likelihood of causing breakouts. In the end, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Getting a skin rash or more severe allergic reaction is simply not worth the risk of a pretty aroma!


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