Fragrance or parfum can often be the deciding factor for whether you buy a product or you don’t. It’s the make or break of a purchase. If it smells good, you’ll buy it. If not, you won’t.
And therein lies the problem.
Fragrance is a major skin irritant and has absolutely NO benefit to the skin whatsoever. None. Zip. Zero. It can increase photosensitivity which in turn can accelerate ageing and put you at much greater risk of developing pigmentation. For this reason, it has absolutely no business at all being in skincare products. In fact, it instantly turns a skin ‘care’ products into a skin ‘uncaring’ product.
When you see ‘Fragrance’ or ‘Parfum’ listed in the ingredients deck, it’s likely a combination of any number of up to 4000~ individual ingredients. It might be 2 or 3 ingredients – or it might be 100. Unless the manufacturer is willing to declare what their ‘Fragrance’ is made up of, you’ll never know which synthetic, preservative, or allergy-provoking substances you’re using.
In some cases, ‘Fragrance’ may mean an essential oil, which although is not great, it’s considered a better alternative to the chemical equivalents. It’s purpose is usually to help make an otherwise very unpleasant smelling product a little more pleasant/bearable (it’s not a selling point). If that’s the case, the manufacturer will usually declare it (sometimes on the bottle, other times you’ll need to ask) – so make sure you ask! If they don’t declare it, which most don’t, then it’s anyone’s guess as to what toxic garbage you’re putting on your skin.
We still recommend you be very cautious of using products containing essential oils – especially at high percentages. These have the same effects on the skin as their chemical counterparts as mentioned above (accelerated ageing, pigmentation, increased sensitivity etc).
Spraying fragrances/perfumes directly onto your skin is probably one of the worst things you could possibly do. If you must, spray it onto your clothes instead and save your skin from the inflammation and associated side effects.
Other names that might be listed include Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol and Parfum.