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The Scent of Caution...Why You Should Avoid Face Products with Fragrance

Throughout history, fragrances have been used to assert one's own individuality, to feel extra fancy for a date, or just to add a finishing touch to your daily routine. Fragrances have always played a major role throughout history. The first recorded history of a perfume being manufactured goes all the way back to 2000 BC in Mesopotamia. A cuneiform tablet mentioned perfume maker Tapputi, the first female chemist in history, who distilled flowers and herbs and mixed them with oils to make fragrances. In the 1200s, Europeans carried a pomander - a ball of scented materials, kept inside an attractive open case, used to ward off infection and keep the air around them clean. In the 16th Century, Queen Elizabeth I ordered for all public places to be perfumed. In 1921, the iconic Chanel No. 5 was launched!


While we can appreciate the long history of fragrances and how they can lift your spirits with just a single poof, in the realm of skincare, fragrances have long been a contentious ingredient. While it may seem harmless or even pleasant, the reality is that fragrance in face products can pose significant risks to your skin's health. Here are 3 reasons why you should reconsider using facial products with added scents:


  • Fragrance is a common irritant, especially for those with sensitive skin. The chemicals used to create fragrances can cause inflammation, redness, and itching, leading to discomfort and potentially exacerbating existing skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea. Even for those with resilient skin, repeated exposure to fragrance can lead to sensitization over time, making the skin more reactive and prone to irritation.

  • Fragrance ingredients are known allergens.  With hundreds of potential components making up a single scent, it's nearly impossible to predict how any given individual will react. What smells delightful to one person may trigger a severe allergic reaction in another, ranging from mild rashes to more serious dermatitis.

  • Fragrance can also have long-term consequences. Some fragrance ingredients have been linked to hormone disruption and even carcinogenicity. By absorbing these chemicals through the skin, we expose ourselves to potential health risks that extend far beyond mere cosmetic concerns.


Here's a list of just a few of the more typical ingredients you may find in your personal care products that are problematic for skin:


  • Linalool

  • Citronellol

  • Limonene

  • Geraniol

  • Eugenol

  • Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • Rose flower extract (Rosa damascena)

  • Bergamot oil (Citrus bergamia)

  • Ylang-ylang oil (Canaga odorata)

  • Lemon (Citrus limon)

Most fragrance issues come from artificial ingredients, although for some, even the strong natural extracts of essential oils can cause irritation. Fortunately, there are plenty of fragrance-free alternatives available. By opting for products labeled as "fragrance-free" or "unscented," you can minimize the risk of irritation and allergic reactions while still enjoying the benefits of a well-rounded skincare routine.


The team at Integrative Esthetics loves to discuss skincare routines and products that will address your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive consultation and facial treatment.


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