Is It Bad To Use Skin Care Products With Fragrance?

Finding the right skin care products is a unique experience that is different for everyone. However, some products are worse than others. For instance, skin care products with fragrance can potentially wreak havoc on your skin (via Nylon). While fragrance is added to skin care products like moisturizers and cleansers to make them smell better, it can actually irritate your skin and trigger a negative reaction. That's because fragrance is an irritant and one of the leading causes of allergic contact dermatitis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

"When you see the single word 'fragrance' or 'parfum' on a label, it is actually hiding a recipe comprised of hundreds of proprietary chemicals," Marilee Nelson, an environmental consultant and co-founder of Branch Basics, told Real Simple. Due to a loophole in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, however, companies aren't required to identify the specific chemicals that make up any given fragrance. That means it's almost impossible to know exactly which chemicals you're having a reaction to.

Who should avoid products with fragrance?

While anyone can potentially experience a negative reaction to fragranced skin care products, people with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea are more likely to experience redness or irritation (via Popsugar). Those experiencing a skin condition flare-up are more likely to have a reaction to fragrance and develop contact dermatitis. However, this doesn't mean that people with chronic skin conditions will always have a reaction to these products.

People with sensitive skin are better off steering clear of products with fragrance altogether. "If you have sensitive skin, you know how hard it is to find skin-care products that you not only tolerate but that feel good on the skin," Dr. Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, told Popsugar. "For those with skin sensitivities, I recommend using fragrance-free products and being cautious with any product or chemical/ingredient that may exacerbate irritation or inflammation."