Fragrance in skin care is like spraying perfume on your face. It’s great if you’re more into aromatherapy than real skin care, but most people benefit from using fragrance-free products as they’re just another ingredient that can irritate your skin and/or set off allergies.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance (synthetic or natural fragrance – it doesn’t matter! fragrance is fragrance) causes chronic irritation that can damage collagen production, lead to or worsen skin’s dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal itself.
Using fragrant skincare products causes irritation – whether you see it on your skin or not. Whether you have a visible reaction to fragrance in skincare doesn’t matter – it’s definitely there. Your skin is really great at hiding when it’s irritated. It’s like skin damage from tanning, some people’s skin shows results immediately (sunburn) and for others the damage shows up later in life (wrinkles).
Of course it’s up to you whether you go fragrance-free – some people see their skin care routine as their time to relax and fragrance certainly plays a big role. But there are other ways to enjoy fragrance – try a scented candle! :o)
Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82
Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105
British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22