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Synthetic Fragrance in Skincare: Why You Should Avoid It

Synthetic Fragrance in Skincare: Why You Should Avoid It

Photo by monicore

Photo by monicore

You see more and more brands coming out with products that are synthetic fragrance free. Even Kylie Jenner’s new skincare line “Kylie Skin” contained several products that are fragrance free. And it’s not just a trend, there’s a good reason why it’s best to avoid fragrance in skincare. Here’s what the experts have to say.

First, let’s talk about why fragrance is in cosmetics in the first place. The main reason is the sensorial experience that you get from applying a scented product. It can make you feel like you’re at the spa or it can smell delicious like candy. The point is to make products more enticing for you to use it.

Additionally, fragrance is often added to cosmetics to mask unpleasant scents that some ingredients have. One that comes to mind is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($166) vitamin C serum. It’s an office favorite, it’s incredibly effective and it’s often recommended by dermatologists and estheticians, but at the office, we say it smells a little like hot dog water. An unpleasant scent might scare away some consumers, so many companies add scents to mask it. That said, consumers are getting more savvy and more open to trying products without added fragrance.

Here’s the problem: “Fragrance is a complex material as it can contain thousands of ingredients,” says cosmetic product developer Ginger King. “Many companies do not disclose what the actual composition is.”

“Because fragrances are usually a mixture of numerous chemicals, it is very difficult to hone in on the particular chemical one may be sensitive to,” says Manhattan Beach, CA dermatologist Nina Desai, MD.

Fragrances can cause irritation, allergic reactions, headaches, and even worse. “Stay away,” says Redondo Beach, CA dermatologist Annie Chiu, MD. “These can cause cancer, asthma, kidney damage, birth defects, nervous system disorders, allergic reactions, and so much more.”

The verdict? All of the experts we talked to agree it’s best to avoid synthetic fragrance, especially if you have sensitive skin.

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