Fragrance in Skin Care: The One Ingredient You Should Always Avoid

Fragrance in Skin Care - Fresh New Routine

While there are a lot of ingredients I don’t allow in my routine, one I always avoid is fragrance in skin care. Sure, my daily routine is far more strict than most people can handle. It’s how I make sure to cut out all of the questionable ingredients I don’t want touching my skin. But at the end of the day if there’s one ingredient I can warn you against, it would be fragrance. It’s the one thing I will never allow to be on the ingredient list of any product I use, especially with my sensitive skin. I used to think my skin was destined to be red. All that changed when I started reading labels.

Lack of Legislation in the Skin Care Industry

This is a bigger conversation for another day, but the truth is, the personal care industry is vastly unregulated. The food industry has the FDA to enforce laws and make sure food is being manufactured in ways that are safe for the general public. But the personal care industry has no watchdog keeping an eye on things. This means there’s no one keeping track of what ingredients are dangerous or whether a product that says it’s green or natural is actually green or natural.

On top of that, the FDA has no authority to recall products or protect consumers when ingredients prove to be a hazard. These recalls must be voluntary actions taken by manufacturers or distributors alone. This proves especially dangerous when there’s no pre-market approval testing performed by the FDA. So that means companies can create and distribute cosmetic products without any approval from the FDA. This gives them complete full reign with their ingredients and formulations. Which is especially concerning when the last law passed to regulate cosmetics was in 1938. That’s over 80 years ago.

Fragrance in Skin Care: The Perfect Place to Hide Ingredients

After learning how unregulated the cosmetics industry is, it should be no surprise to you to find out “fragrance” is the least regulated element of personal care products. While the FDA requires a list of ingredients under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, they are not allowed to force a company to reveal “trade secrets.” This means that companies can use the term “fragrance” to hide ingredients and protect their secret formula. In translation, companies can hide any ingredient they want under this label and not report them to the public.

This may not seem like a big deal. But when the ingredient list is intended to protect us and inform us what’s inside our products, it’s a huge deal. Any time a product has “fragrance” on it’s label, it can have upwards of hundreds of unreported chemicals inside the bottle. When you’re using these unnamed chemicals on your skin every day, the impact is considerable. Especially since we’ll never understand the extent of the toxic load they have on our system. This is what happens when companies are allowed to keep those ingredients from the public.

In Europe there are hundreds of banned chemicals that we use on a regular basis in the US. Can you imagine how many of those banned ingredients are kept secret under the fragrance label on products we use every day?

Sensitive Skin’s Worst Nightmare

You may hear all of this and think it sounds like the ramblings of a paranoid person. I totally get it. Things have been done a certain way for a long time and it’s not like people are dropping dead. But let me paint you a picture of me and my red cheeks.

Most of my life, I’ve had red cheeks dotted with acne spots and scars. So much so I could never imagine wearing blush because my cheeks were always so very red. Why would I ever add more red back in?? But in the midst of my beauty obsession, I wanted to fix this redness. There had to be a solution out there! And my research? It led me to discover my skin just might be sensitive. It took me 26 years to figure out the products I was using on my face were causing the redness. Products that promised me results were causing the side effects I was most insecure about.

It took me 26 years to figure out the products I was using on my face were causing the redness. Products that promised me results were causing the side effects I was most insecure about.Click To Tweet

So I dove into more research and discovered skin care solutions people loved for sensitive skin. Like this custom facial oil. I had opened pandoras box and wasn’t about to look back. Not when I could possibly live a life without red cheeks. Heck, it’s no big secret that fragrances can cause allergies and sensitivities in some people. There’s an entire section about it on the FDA’s page about fragrances in cosmetics! Plus there’s a whole host of health concerns backed by studies. I truly believe that cutting fragrances out of my skin care routine was what helped clear my redness up.

Cleaning Up My Skin Care Routine

Honestly, getting rid of most questionable skin care ingredients is what helped clear up my skin. Most days I can go without any make up and not feel insecure about red cheeks or acne scars lining my jaw. When I stopped using products with questionable ingredients, my biggest skin problems cleared up. That isn’t a coincidence. My skin care routine was causing my red cheeks. Once I cleaned it up, I saw that problem disappear.

If you find there’s skin conditions that just aren’t getting any better, take a look at the ingredient list of the products you use every day. Any sign of “fragrance” on the list and there’s no telling what chemicals are concealed inside the bottle. While I know cleaning up your skin care routine can be a bit overwhelming, this is a really good place to start. If you can cut one ingredient out, let it be fragrance.

Be sure to share this post with your friends and family to make them aware of the dangers of fragrance in skin care! If legislation isn’t going to keep us safe, we’re in charge of spreading the word.

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  1. FDA Authority Over Cosmetics
  2. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act)
  3. Fragrances in Cosmetics
  4. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Fragrance

Let me guess, you’re a skin care lover like me?

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