Whether or not fragrances belong in cosmetics is a subject of hot debate in the skincare community. In this edition of Lab Notes, we present you with a balanced view, so that you can make an informed decision for your personal care.
What are the risks of fragrances in skincare?
Scientific research has shown that it is possible for fragrance (both natural and synthetic) and fragrant essential oils/extracts to be irritating and sensitizing:
Fragrance and essential oils may not cause immediate irritation, but it is possible to develop an allergy over time through a process known as sensitization. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe.
However, sensitization is a rare and affects only a minority of individuals, so fragranced cosmetics are safe to use for most people. It is also important to note that fragrant ingredients are typically used in very low concentrations.
What if you are sensitive or worried about fragrances in your skincare?
Then you should definitely have the freedom to choose fragrance-free cosmetics!
That's why all of our formulas are available with or without added fragrance.
If you are concerned about fragrances in other products, we've compiled a list of commonly used fragrant ingredients to look out for below, as well as examples of the natural plant extracts they are found in.
* Cinnamal (in cinnamon)
* Cinnamyl alcohol (in cinnamon, balsam)
* Citral (in lemongrass, citrus, cardamom, petitgrain, ginger)
* Coumarin (in tonka, sweet clover, stone fruit, strawberries)
* Eugenol (in clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, rose, basil and bay)
* Farnesol (in neroli, rose, palmarosa and ylang ylang)
* Geraniol (in rose, citronella, palmarosa, and geranium)
* Hydroxycitronellal (in citrus fruits, petitgrain and ylang ylang)
* Isoeugenol (in clove, nutmeg, ylang ylang)
* Limonene (in citrus)
* Linalool (in citrus, rose, neroli, spearmint, chamomile, lavender and others)
You will find these on ingredient lists in the form of plant extract/essential oil (ex. Rose, Lavender, Mint or Citrus Extract/Oil), or in their purified form (geraniol and limonene are especially common).