Can something that smells so good be bad for you?
Fragrance has gotten a bad reputation in the skincare industry, being coined as an “irritant” and so you’re advised to stay away from it. Before you start throwing out all your beauty products with fragrance in it, let’s talk about some facts that often get left behind.
It is true that fragrance ingredients are one of the various culprits of contact allergic reactions which also includes soaps, hair dyes, and even jewelry made from nickel or gold. However, based on a scientific study, only 2 to 4% of the general population are considered sensitive to the fragrance mix that was tested on them.
Are there benefits to fragrance?
Fragrances are generally used to mask the unpleasant scents of raw materials used to create your skincare or cosmetic product. It provides a more pleasant experience when it comes to your self-care routine but is there more to that? When it comes to fragrance, there are natural ingredients such as essential oils and synthetic fragrance (man made in the lab). Scientific studies have demonstrated the many benefits of using natural fragrance such as essential oils whether it is through inhalation, topical or ingestion. They can affect your mood, emotions, stress level, sleep and even your concentration and focus. Some of essential oil such as bergamot and mandarin have even been shown to possess beneficial antibacterial properties that can aid with wound healing.
Let’s take bergamot essential oil as an example, a hybrid of a bitter orange and lemon. Studies have shown it helps to improve mood, stress level and sleep. It has also shown positive effects on skin issues such as psoriasis and helps with wound healing. If you’re someone who struggles with focus and concentration, rosemary essential oil has been shown to improve alertness and performance for memory.
Should we avoid fragrance or not?
Ultimately, fragrance such as essential oils have amazing aromatherapy and topical benefits. It alleviates mood, may even help with mental blocks or inability to focus when it comes to work or studying or even help improve your sleep quality. If you’ve been using it all your life and have not encountered any issues with them, then we don’t see the need to toss out or avoid products with fragrance.
However, if you’re someone with very sensitive skin or issues such as eczema, you may want to either perform a patch test whenever using a product with fragrance or stay away from it altogether. Studies have shown that people with eczema have a higher tendency to react to fragrance. So whether you choose to avoid fragrance or not, it really depends on your skin condition (sensitivity or issues) and preference.