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5 Reasons to Avoid Scented Products in Your Skincare Routine

February 8, 2022 by VitalSkin Dermatology

young woman applying skin care routine

Skin care products are a necessity for anyone looking to take good care of their skin. Sometimes, we enjoy having a layer of luxury on all of that ‘necessity.’ For many of us, that can mean scent. The lovely scents that come in many skin care products make them that much more appealing, adding a beautiful layer to the experience. Unfortunately, these fragrances are not always the best options for your skin and can cause problems or exacerbate existing conditions. Why should you step away from the scented options in your skin care routine? Here are four reasons to go scent-free.

1. Many fragrances are synthetic.

skin care face creamWhile your favorite face cream might remind you of roses, chances are there aren’t actual roses in there. Many popular skin care products contain fragrances that have been synthesized in a lab using a number of chemical ingredients.

Why do companies use synthetic fragrances instead of natural ones? They last longer, for one. They are also more cost-effective to use in large-scale production. While this may make a cream a more friendly option for your wallet, it may well introduce compounds that are not so friendly to your skin.

 2. Fragrances can be allergens for some people.

What can these synthetic ingredients do to your skin? For one, they can act as a severe allergen for some people. Fragrances are a leading cause of ACD, also known as allergic contact dermatitis. Additional conditions triggered by these allergens include irritant contact dermatitis, photo-allergic reaction and phototoxic reaction. Products that contain allergens such as cinnamic aldehyde, menthol, cinnamates, or balsam of Peru can also cause you to develop a condition known as contact urticaria, more commonly known as hives.

What are some of the consumer allergens you should keep an eye out for? Benzyl alcohol, benzyl salicylate, and cinnamyl alcohol all top the list as some of the most commonly reported allergens used in skin care products.

3. Fragrances can exacerbate inflammatory skin conditions.

Even if you are not allergic to the ingredients in a scented cream, the fragrances in it can still cause problems if you have an inflammatory skin condition. Anyone who experiences rosacea or eczema, for example, on a regular basis should avoid fragrance in their skin care regime.

4. Fragrances can make hyperpigmentation worse.

As we age, many of us develop hyperpigmentation or melasma on the skin, along with age spots. The irritation that can result from fragrances in skin care products can make these skin conditions look worse, as well. If you have any discoloration in your skin, turn to fragrance-free unscented products first.

5. Fragrances aren’t always listed.

You read that correctly—beauty product manufacturers don’t have to list specifics when it comes to fragrance. This was originally intended to protect the ‘secret’ formulas companies used to create their unique scents. What it now means is that you won’t always be able to tell whether or not a product contains an allergen or aggravating scent ingredient. Your best option? Look for products labeled ‘fragrance-free.’ Unscented products may contain additives that don’t add in scent but still cover the scent of more unsavory ingredients.

Are you experiencing an allergic reaction to a scented product? Do you think you might be sensitive to the additives in popular beauty creams? Consulting with a dermatologist is your best way forward. They can provide guidance on what products to use and help diagnose any allergies or conditions you may have.

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