Fragrance in skin care

Is Fragrance in skincare a cover for nasty chemicals?

There is a reason that cosmetic companies list ‘perfume’ as an ingredient. It’s not to hide the ‘nasties’ and fill their formulas with toxic chemicals. Or is it? Can fragrance in skincare be a cover for toxic chemicals?

 If something is part of a fragrance it is a trade secret. Therefore it and can be listed on the label only as “Fragrance”.  Or Parfum if you speak french or would like to. 

Some fragrance ingredients are listed, because of allergen requirements

In the EU, there is a list of 26 ingredients in fragrances that are known allergens. It is a requirement that companies list out these ingredients. They must be included on their product labels. So, the ingredients that represent the biggest risk to consumers are specifically listed on ingredient labels. This is not a strict requirement in the US.

There are safety limits on ingredients in fragrances

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) sets safety limits on ingredients used in fragrances. All the legitimate fragrance houses in the world adhere to the safety limits as published by IFRA. This is a legal requirement in the EU and it is something that companies follow in the US. Any product you use that has fragrance (especially if it is from a large company) uses ingredients that have been safety tested.

The real reason ‘fragrance’ is listed as a catch-all ingredient

In the 1960s fragrance houses wanted to keep their trade secrets of fragrance formulations from being shared with competitors. Also, fragrances are made up of sometimes, hundreds of ingredients. If all the ingredients were listed on the container the lists would become too long and unhelpful to consumers.

We recommend you choose where possible fragrance or perfume-free products. Fragrance is an unnecessary addition to skincare products. Treat ‘essential oils’ with as much caution as perfume. These are volatile compounds that can cause severe reactions in your skin.

Because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t make it safe. Bee stings are ‘natural’, peanuts are ‘natural’ nature is overflowing with allergens. Exercise caution with any ‘scented’ skincare products.

Fragrance does have its place in your life. I love Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin fragrance. My hair is washed with a shampoo that makes it smell like I dragged my hair through a meadow of flowers.

I just don’t use highly perfumed products on my skin. For me, fragrance in skincare is unnecessary and oftentimes irritating to the skin.