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The Facts About Fragrance

Fragrance is no stranger to the beauty industry. It’s found in so many cosmetics, beauty products and skincare and it’s no secret that fragrance can irritate skin. Chemicals in fragrance have been known to cause itchy red rashes, otherwise referred to as contact dermatitis, and can even cause headaches and irritate those with asthma. And sometimes it’s not easy to notice when fragrance is actually aggravating our skin. It can be sneaky and actually cause harm in the long run, so we at Nurture My Body, believe it’s simply best to choose products without artificial, chemically manufactured fragrance.

Fragrance is often in fact, as defined by the FDA, a blend of chemicals that give skin care, perfumes and other beauty products a distinct scent. If you look on the back labels of your favorite cosmetics and beauty products, fragrance can be called "fragrance, perfume, parfum, essential oil blend or aroma." All of those names can mean that a potentially harmful blend of chemicals is actually what you’re smelling. Fragrance is never a single ingredient, unless it's a natural essential oil or other natural occurring ingredient.

If you experience irritation from scented products, it might be because the ingredient simply listed as “fragrance” represents many different chemical ingredients that contribute to a product’s scent. The FDA allows several fragrance-forming ingredients to be wrapped up in the single term “fragrance” on the label — and that’s alarming. In fact, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) lists about 3,059 materials that are reported as being used in fragrance compounds. Studies have shown that some of these 3,059 ingredients have been linked to serious health concerns like cancers, reproductive toxicity, allergies and other sensitivities.

These thousands of unnamed chemical ingredients in “fragrance” could very well be the reason why our skin reacts negatively to different types of lotions, serums, shampoos and body washes, as well as foundations, hairsprays and even laundry detergents. Those with skin allergies and conditions like eczema are even more susceptible to irritation from fragrance within skin care products, and can look forward to relief when companies decide to be more transparent or rather, use safer ingredients to scent their products or go totally fragrance-free.

So if you’re allergic or think that fragrance might be the reason you’re experiencing irritation, what can you do?

Well, start by reading the ingredients on your skincare, haircare and cosmetics. If the scent in your cosmetics or skincare isn’t a gigantic cocktail of harmful chemicals, then companies will simply list where the fragrance comes in parenthesis. Essential oils are an example of safe, natural fragrance. In fact, the natural fragrance you’ll experience in some of Nurture My Body products is just that — natural. It comes directly from the ingredients that are grown in our permaculture garden and used to create our small batch skin and hair care.

But beware — some companies will even use chemicals to mask scents and claim that their products are in fact, fragrance-free since you can’t really smell anything. So the takeaway? Know that the term or ingredient “fragrance” is catch-all term and can mean a lot of different chemical ingredients are hiding behind it. If a product doesn’t clearly state where the fragrance is coming from, that’s likely the case. If you want pleasant scents, but would rather forego the irritation, look for products that scent their skin care with essential oils, which possess incredible benefits for the skin and body. Or decide to live a fragrance-free, natural lifestyle with nourishing products that are transparently honest and won’t irritate skin.

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