Skin Care Products And The Dangers Associated With Fragrance

Have you ever experienced a tingling sensation with using certain skin care products? Were they wonderfully fragrant, leaving you refreshed with a sense of well-being — even if the experience lasted only for a few minutes?

Or maybe you were left with an itchy or annoying feeling that was extremely unpleasant.

In either case, your skin was awakened by a sensation of some kind. What you may not realize is that sensation is not a particularly good sign to have when it comes to your skin. Even that tingling feeling you thought was so refreshing may have really been skin irritation in disguise.

Unlike parts of our body that are protected by clothing, our faces are more vulnerable to a variety of irritants – excessive heat, exposure to ultraviolet rays, pollution, smoke of all kinds, astringents, alcohol contained in cosmetics — and the list goes on.

And for the most part we do a fairly good job of avoiding them when possible since we know they can be harmful to our skin.

But little might we know that fragrances found in skin care products could be the most pervasive and overlooked culprit of them all. As much as 95% of the chemicals in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum according to noted researcher, lecturer and Honorary Master Herbalist, Klaus Ferlow, of Dominion Herbal College in British Columbia, Canada. He goes on to note that “there is a direct correlation between the use of scented products and the development of skin allergy to fragrance.”

Mind you, not all fragrances contribute to skin irritation. But many do — resulting in dryness, rash, allergic reactions and other more serious skin conditions. Unfortunately, we as consumers, add to the confusion by making false assumptions. Here’s what I mean:

Because we associate plant extracts as being natural versus synthetic we tend to regard them as safe and acceptable when, in reality, this may not be the case.

We wrongly assume that fragrance used in skin care products comes from natural oils and extracts and not from synthetic fragrance chemicals. We shouldn’t make such assumptions since even those made from natural sources can pose serious threats to our skin.

In fact, the natural oil and extracts from mint, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, bergamot, citrus, camphor, lavender, rose, lemon, and witch hazel can be especially irritating to the skin, and this is, by no means, a comprehensive list. Clinically speaking, they have few, if any, beneficial properties for improving our skin and often create problems that might otherwise not exist.

Add to this, a little bit of consumer psychology and it’s easy to see how we have become our own worst enemies. Let me explain. There is overwhelming information in the public domain that identifies fragrance as a problem for human skin. The cosmetics industry knows this, and for the most part, we do as well.

So why do we insist on using skin care products containing fragrance which are known to cause irritation to the skin? Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry isn’t to be blamed entirely for this one.

You see, while we may recognize the negative effects of fragrance used by the cosmetics industry, we are emotionally and psychologically drawn to products that smell nice despite their potential hazards to our health.

This is particularly true of women. It’s widely known they have more influence over the cosmetic industry than any other buying segment. The simple truth is that a very large majority of them like fragrance and skin care products manufacturers are more than happy to oblige.

In essence, we as consumers, have become a large part of the problem and that’s a very sad commentary. Compound this with the fact that few regulations exist to ensure the safety of fragrance in personal care products and you can see why this trend is far from reversing itself.

As long as we continue to express a preference for fragrance in the skin care products we use, the cosmetics industry will have little incentive to change its course. It knows all too well the enormous, magnetic appeal fragrance has for the consumer. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s also a very lucrative business.

But it’s not too late to take charge! Remember, fragrance is far from being your skin’s best friend and is best avoided. There are many options available for a healthier, more proactive approach to caring for your skin.

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