They can irritate the skin, create sensitivity... One of the most common debates in the beauty world revolves around the advantages and disadvantages of fragrances in skincare, but as always, individual characteristics must also be taken into account.
Are perfumed cosmetics rightly criticized?
Without parabens, sulfates, silicones... and yes, also without fragrances and perfume. More and more "Without" labels are being put on the packaging of our cosmetics, a trend that started as something very positive, as the search for formulas that were as natural as possible, which respect the needs of the skin, but which can also cause confusion. While it is true that certain formulations can do without certain ingredients, that does not necessarily mean that the products they contain are "bad". In fact, some substances have come under fire in recent years, while experts believe that their use - except in certain cases in which there is a skin problem - does not necessarily have to be negative in general. So it is time to analyze whether this is the case with perfumed cosmetics or fragrances that have recently come into focus.
As with everything in beauty care, there is no general yes or no answer, but nuances that depend on the formulation used and the skin type of the person concerned. "In general, I always think that if something is good for you and you like it, you can use it. As long as you don't have any allergies, there is no problem," says the expert for dermopharmacy and owner of the Arbosana pharmacy, Rocío Escalante. So if a cosmetic works well, there is no reason not to use it. Even so, "the fragrance shouldn't have a very large weight in the list of ingredients". How much would be too much and how much would be too little? "You have to look at the INCI and see what position it occupies," says the specialist. "If it is in the first places it means the percentage is high and it would be better not to use this product on allergic or sensitive skin. If the perfume is further down the list, almost at the end, we know that it contains a negligible amount. Perfume should not make up more than 1% of the total ingredients in a formula. " With this in mind, there are other considerations that need to be taken into account.
The main reason for its presence is, of course, to give the product a good aroma, a factor which, as Rocío Escalante points out, is not as irrelevant as we might initially think. "We must remember that the fact that a cosmetic is perceived as pleasant adds value to its use. A lot of people complain that they don't use a product because they don't like the smell," she explains. The sensory system is very important, especially if we understand our beauty routine as a moment to switch off and relax. However, the question arises as to whether these ingredients can have additional or skin-nourishing benefits. In principle no, although there is an exception: If the smell is given by the use of essential oils - they are usually used in natural cosmetics to avoid synthetic perfumes - because in this case "they can use the properties of the essential oils." Deliver the oil yourself, but you have to be very careful with the sun with these products, "warns the expert. But no, fragrances are not essential if the aroma is not an important issue for us and we are looking for a more minimalist formula.
This is one of the most widespread beliefs among those who prefer fragrance-free products, as their presence in cosmetic formulas has been linked to the later development of skin sensitivity. In this regard, Rocío Escalante insists that "as long as it is used in minimal amounts, its use in the formula is of little or no concern if your skin is healthy and you have no allergies. It is true that we can all at all times can develop a sensitivity in our life, but if the presence of perfume is not very high and the skin is healthy, I see no problems. " However, there is one area where she would generally not recommend using a fragrance product: the eye contour. Here the expert sees no need for their presence in the formulation, especially when you consider that this is the most sensitive area of the face.
Certain skin types with more specific needs should look for the label "fragrance-free" or "perfume-free". Rocío Escalante advises choosing these options for "children, sensitive skin and people who have a dysfunction or disease, including cancer patients". Because "sensitive skin reacts more and more sensitively to substances such as perfume, which are contained in the formulations of hygiene and cleaning products in addition to cosmetics. For these, it is always better to choose products with more minimalist formulas, with shortlists of ingredients and without fragrances", recommends they.
In addition to the obvious terms such as perfume or fragrance, there are other names under which a perfume can be hidden in the INCI - the list of ingredients - of cosmetics, such as B. essential oils. So if we suffer from an allergy or sensitivity or just want a formula that doesn't contain these substances, we should also look for those that don't contain the words geraniol, citronellol, lavender, eugenol, or limonene, as Rocío Escalante emphasizes.