This is a sponsored post from Well+Good NYC:
Fragrance is the problem child ingredient of traditional beauty products. Wild and wily, these molecules of scent can wreak havoc on your skin by causing contact dermatitis, a seriously red and itchy rash, or other allergic reactions like a headache or asthma. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. It’s up there with nickel and poison ivy, which most people know how to avoid.
But it can be hard to steer clear of something that’s in scores of products, from skin care and hair care to makeup and perfume, of course. An equal opportunity player, fragrance is added to drugstore brands and department store ones alike to connote luxury or brand unity or cover up what skin-care ingredients might smell like without it. (Medicinal with a hint of cold cream is not very sexy.) Here are few more facts we’ve sniffed out about this potentially vexing ingredient.
FRAGRANCE GETS A FREE PASS ON LABELS
For consumer clarity, beauty companies have to use theInternational Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) when listing what’s in a product. This standardized book of ingredient names means that lavandula angustifolia (lavender extract) is always lavandula angustifolia, regardless of whether a company thinks theirs is better, exotic, or magical.
But fragrance gets a free pass under the law—it’s the only ingredient that’s allowed to hide under a cloud of rose petals and doesn’t have to say what it really is. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) exempts it from having to be more specific, even though it might contain synthetic, preservative, or allergy-provoking substances that you might want to know about. That can be a big problem for New Yorkers who pride themselves on knowing what exactly goes into their food or face creams.
Continue reading for more about how to avoid harmful synthetic fragrances.