I have long been attracted by creams that have the smell of freshly cut flowers, or even by the sea, by the cleansers for the face that give me the impression of crunch in an orange or drink a mint tea . Until the day I came across an article that talked about fragrances in cosmetics. I then questioned myself. What makes these creams feel right? Is this really good? Should I be suspicious?
The answer is very simple: yes, in my opinion.
The industry has coaxed us with its products, which are all more attractive than the others, but in reality they could do more harm than good. The purpose of this article is not to convince you, but rather to make you think, just like I did, to be able to make informed choices.
In the literal sense, fragrance is "a pleasant smell". Quite simple when you think about it! But in cosmetics it's just the opposite ...
On your beauty products, this pleasant odor is noted under the name fragrance, perfume, perfume, essential oil blend or even aroma, and that is what is disturbing! It goes without saying that in order to manufacture them, several tens (and sometimes a hundred) of chemicals are used. It is not the fact that they are "chemical" that worries, it is rather that the ingredients that constitute them are not clearly identified. The mixtures of chemicals and / or natural products used to make them are "well-kept secrets", and there is no obligation for companies to disclose what they are made of. You apply hundreds of products on your skin, of which you know nothing.
The IRFA (International Fragrance Association), however, has published, in collaboration with various industry members, a list of ingredients frequently used in perfumes. Although not exhaustive, it gives a good idea of what is likely to be found in your fragrance cosmetics. Some ingredients are harmless, but it will be said that some of them listed are related to certain cancers, reproductive problems, allergies, and so on. For example, eugenyl methyl ether (methyleugenol), ethanolamines (MEA, DEA, TEA), formaldehyde and its derivatives (diazolidinyl urea), etc. Again, the problem is that we have no way of knowing if the product we use contains any!
Besides this, several studies support the fact that fragrances are among the most important causes of skin sensitivity. Damage to it may not always be visible on the surface and not immediately.
Attention also to essential oils! The fact that they are "natural" is very appealing, but many are listed as high sensitisers, just like synthetic perfumes. One example is the lemon essential oil (and those in the same family) that is in addition to being irritating is photosensitive.
Since I like to qualify things, I will not go away in fear by writing that I never use products containing fragrances, whatever their origin. But I can say that I make thoughtful choices. The products I use on a regular basis, morning and evening, do not contain any, except my soap for the body. I choose not to apply any fragrance on my face, but I allow myself to apply, on occasion, a scented hand cream.
However, I make sure to always validate that the fragrance is listed at the bottom of the INCI list of the product I use, also for essential oils.
And when I want to surround myself with a good smell, I light a scented candle or I put a bit of perfume on my clothes. ;)
Camarasa JG, Lluch M, Serra-Baldrich E, et al. Allergic contact dermatitis. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Wiliams and Wilkins; 2001.
Campaing for safe cosmetics, Fragrance, 2016. Spotted at: http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/fragrance/#sthash.3B9h3zc6.dpuf
Chatard H. Case of sensitization to perfumes with cutaneous and general reactions. Bull Soc Fr Dermatol Syphiligr. 1957; 64: 323.
IFRA. IFRA Ingredients, 2015. Spotted at:http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/ingredients#.VW-Cdc-6eUk.