why is fragrance bad in skincare

We all use skincare products here, but do we really know what’s good for our skin and what isn’t? One example is the presence of fragrance in our skincare products. People have been debating over whether or not fragrances in skincare is the devil in disguise!

Short answer: It is! But why is fragrance bad in skincare anyway?

Read on as I explain about fragrances in skin care products and why it’s disadvantageous.

Why Are There Fragrances Anyway?

Before we get into why fragrance is bad for skincare, what is considered a fragrance, anyway?

Basically, it’s that ingredient that has your skincare products smell great, usually made with a mix of essential oils, aroma compounds, solvents, or fixatives. This is used to neutralize any of the nasty odors other skincare product ingredients have.

Fragrances are there because they are attractive and smell great, encouraging you to purchase them. After all, no one wants to use products that smell bad!

Some fragrances are even advertised as beneficial because it contains essential oils. Popular brands claim that these essential oils can help us relax, feel happy, or smell just like your grandma’s apple pie. It seems like it’s more than just cream, but an experience!

However, it’s not as beneficial as advertisements think! And what makes it worse is that the FDA doesn’t require brands to be specific in what fragrances and additives skincare products have.

Why Is Fragrance Bad in Skincare?

Fragrances are an experience but it’s better to avoid placing it on your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin or suffer from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.


Because fragrances contain chemicals that are irritating and allergenic. This is all from its complexity, as fragrances, whether natural or synthetic (including essential oils), are made of up to a hundred chemicals. The more ingredients scents have, the higher the chance it can irritate the skin.

There are three kinds of fragrances from skincare products:

  • Synthetic fragrances have more than 20 ingredients, using mostly phthalates, benzene derivatives, and petrochemicals. They aren’t as toxic as it sounds, but it may be irritating on the skin. You can find them listed as perfume, perfume, or fragrance on the product ingredient list
  • Natural fragrances are extracted from natural ingredients such as flowers and citrus fruits, using distillation, cold pressing, or fermentation. But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safer, as it can trigger bad reactions to sensitive skin
  • Essential oils are one of the worst fragrance types to use on your face, as they are allergens that trigger reactions especially when it contains high doses of it

Regardless of the type of fragrance in skincare products, all of it can be bad for the skin and trigger any of the following:

  • Allergies
  • Eczema or psoriasis
  • Skin asthma
  • Hives or irritated skin
  • Headaches and nausea from the strong scent

While people with “normal” skin can live with fragrances in their skincare products, I still advise against it. While your skin doesn’t show signs of irritation, it may just be good at hiding it! Even if there’s no apparent damage on the skin’s surface, it may silently aggravate the skin and cause minor or major problems when used in the long-term.

Read more: Effective Ways on How to Get Matte Skin Without Makeup

Unscented or Fragrance-Free Skincare Products

Now that you know that fragrance is bad in skincare, what should you be getting? You should look into getting fragrance-free products and NOT unscented ones. While you may not smell anything from unscented products, but it doesn’t mean it has no fragrance or similar chemicals.

If you have sensitive skin, then stick with fragrance-free options and avoid fragrances at all. There isn’t any proof that it can seriously damage your skin permanently, but the reactions it causes is NOT good for the skin, nor does it feel fun to experience.

So be sure to check the ingredient labels and watch out for fragrances that may aggravate the skin. You’re better off using skincare products that smell a bit odd compared to those that contain unnecessary and excessive amounts of scents that won’t do you much good.

Do you want to learn more about how fragrances affect skincare products? Here is an interesting video showing more:

Wrapping It Up

Now, I’m not saying that fragrances will kill you and burn your skin! Fragrances are fine if you have normal skin, though I recommend that you play it safe and avoid it altogether. It’s better to stay simple with your skincare routine, with fewer unnecessary chemicals.

I hope that this article answers your question, “why is fragrance bad in skincare?” Now that you know the answer, be sure to check your skincare products and try to avoid fragrances, especially with sensitive skin.

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