Fragrance in Skincare- Is It Really That Bad?

Fragrance in Skincare- Is It Really That Bad?

You know that one shop at the mall.... the one that you walk past and overpowering scent wafts in your face? Then you walk in and smell all the things, but everything has the same cloying, back-sweetened slightly chemical smell to it. Ahhhh.... welcome to the (not so) wonderful world of synthetic fragrance.

Okay, so being that we're a natural skincare company, it's obvious that we're a bit biased. We're not a fan of synthetic ingredients, and the one that tops them all is fragrance. But let's go over the why.

The unknown. First off, you and I have no idea what's actually in a synthetic fragrance. There are thousands of different combinations of chemicals and fragrance molecules that make up fragrances, but they get a one word label to blanket all of them. Fragrance. For consumer clarity, beauty companies have to use the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) when listing what’s in a product. The FDA exempts fragrances from having to be more specific.


Endocrine disruption. Our bodies are run by a network of hormones and glands that regulate everything we do. This is called the endocrine system. This system plays a starring role in all phases of development, metabolism, and behavior. 

Synthetic chemicals in products like fragrances can mimic hormones and interfere with or disrupt the delicate endocrine system. We’re exposed to these chemicals daily, and we’re especially vulnerable to them during phases of accelerated development—in utero and throughout childhood. Bottom line: you and your family should definitely steer clear of any and all endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. 

The cancer risk. Fragrances can contain highly toxic ingredients, including skin-ageing, potentially cancer causing, allergy-provoking substances, petrochemicals, parabens and preservatives that you might be trying to avoid. Some of the same ingredients have turned up in cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, and household cleaning products. And we're putting that directly on our skin? Um, no thank you. 

In order for a fragrance to emit scent, a volatile chemical compound is used in its formula, making them especially toxic. Carcinogenicity, which is cancer-causing and aging, is proportional to the amount of volatility. The more volatile the compound, the more likely it is to disturb cell-chemistry. Cancer, anyone? 

Irritation. Fragrance is one of the most irritating and allergenic ingredients in your lotions and potions. It can trigger:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Irritations
  • Nausea
  • Psoriasis

The bottom line. The simple fact that the ingredients in synthetic fragrances are protected by the FDA under one blanket word should be enough to send anyone running in the opposite direction. You really have no clue what you are putting on your skin, and much of what goes on your skin can absorb into your body. Anyone that's truly concerned about their health and the health + wellbeing of their families should be avoiding anything with the word fragrance in it. Period. 


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