Fragrance in Skincare - Unveiling the Risks and Rewards

Fragrance in Skincare - Unveiling the Risks and Rewards

Do you like fragranced skincare products or think it’s harmful for you? Before you dump your amazingly fragrant cream, face oil or anything, wait a second and hear us out.

We often hear that fragrance is harmful to the skin, but that’s not the complete knowledge. Just check the list of ingredients of your product. If it has “Added Fragrance” that’s not IFRA certified, it might be harmful to your skin health. Synthetic or artificially created fragrances that are added to a product just to enhance its appeal fragrances are mostly harmful to the skin.

Since, skincare products and cosmetics have become an integral part of our daily routines, it’s essential to understand what fragrance really means, how it affects our body and be aware of the potential benefits and harms associated with fragrance-laden products.

What are Fragrances?

Scents, also known as fragrances, are synthetic preparations designed to mimic and enhance natural aromas. Fragrances are primarily formulated by combining various synthetic or natural chemicals to create a desired fragrance profile. These artificial flavors are found in perfumes, lotions, shampoos, soaps, scented candles, skincare and other personal care products. Fragrances in skincare products are laboratory-created compositions that can be derived from natural sources. But sometimes, certain so-called “natural or organic flavors” are artificially processed and contain unknown chemicals.

Fragrance Oils vs. Essential Oils: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between fragrance oils and essential oils is that fragrance oils are made in a laboratory whereas essential oils are made from natural sources. This difference is caused by the ingredients that make up each oil and where those ingredients come from.

There are several methods used to separate these volatile essential oils from the plant material, the most common of them being steam distillation. In this process, steam is allowed to permeate the plant material, volatilizing the plant aroma compounds, in a closed container. These compounds are recondensed and captured with lighter essential oils floating on the distilled water surface. These essential oils are incorporated in skincare or self-care products in specifically calculated percentages in accordance with the benefits required.

What are Essential Oils?


Essential oils are powerful oils that are extracted from the aromatic parts of plants such as roots, herbs and flowers to extract the beneficial properties, scents and aromas of the plant. They can be pressed for fixed oils or distilled for their aromatic compounds documented to provide a wide range of natural scents with distinctive notes.

Essential oils are 100% oils and ‘pure’, that is, they are undiluted, mixed, processed and contain no additives. Their compounds are composed of very short carbon chains of low viscosity and low vapor pressure, thus making the molecules volatile in nature. Essential oils have been around for centuries, dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. These oils are known for their aromatic properties and are popular for use in aromatherapy and meditation. Some plants contain essential oils. However, the part of the plant that is the primary source of essential oils may vary. These include flowers and inflorescences (examples, chamomile, lavender, rose, ylang-ylang), leaves (like basil, bay leaves, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary), fruits (black pepper, nutmeg), peels (orange, bergamot, lemon, tangerine).

What are Fragrance Oils?

Fragrance oils are man-made oils that mimic naturally occurring scents. They are inexpensive, chemically consistent and mostly used to make scented candles, perfumes, and so on. They are synthetically created and have no therapeutic or health benefits.

Benefits of Using Fragranced Products

Fragrances in skincare products can offer potential benefits to consumers. Scents can evoke positive emotions and enhance the overall sensory experience of using skincare products.

Essential oils also carry healing properties, along with the aromas, from the plants they are extracted from. These therapeutic properties and aromas vary according to the chemical composition of the individual plants. However, it’s important to note that fragrance itself does not provide any direct benefits to the skin. Fragrances are primarily used for their aromatic qualities and to enhance the product’s appeal.

The use of fragrance in skincare products is a personal preference, and some individuals may enjoy the added sensory experience it provides. Like the soothing natural aroma of Lavender & Chamomile Massage Oil by The Oil Chemist can help you de-stress and wind down. You can also pair it up with an Ayurvedic Kansa Wand massage to trifold its benefits. We used 100% pure compressed oils and therapeutic essential oils in tested proportions to boost your skin health naturally.


How Can Fragrances be Detrimental to Health?

While synthetic fragrances can enhance the sensory experience of skincare products, it also carries risks and sensitivity issues.

Artificial fragrances can cause skin irritation, redness, itchiness, and even hives in some individuals.

People who are sensitive to fragrance may be at risk of developing contact dermatitis, contact urticaria, and photo allergy and toxicity.

Those with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, or rosacea may experience worsened symptoms due to added synthetic fragrances.

Synthetic fragrances, in particular, are known to be a leading cause of irritation and contact dermatitis in beauty products. Therefore, individuals with sensitive skin or skin conditions should be cautious when using products that contain fragrance.

For individuals who prefer to avoid the risks associated with fragrance, natural and fragrance-free alternatives for skincare products are available. Fragrance-free products or products with only naturally fragrant ingredients are formulated without added synthetic fragrances, reducing the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions. These products are particularly beneficial for those with sensitive skin, chemical sensitivities, or allergies, as they do not contain dyes, preservatives, or fragrances that may trigger adverse reactions. By opting for natural skincare products with fragrances of essential oils, individuals can minimize the potential risks and sensitivity issues associated with fragrance while still enjoying the benefits of a skincare routine.

In Conclusion…

The use of fragrance in skincare products comes with both risks and benefits. While fragrance can enhance the sensory experience and provide a pleasant scent, it also poses risks for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It is important for individuals to be aware of the potential sensitivity issues associated with fragrance and to opt for fragrance-free alternatives when necessary. Ultimately, the decision to use fragrance in skincare products should be based on personal preference and individual skin needs.

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