Should you use fragrance-free skincare?

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I’m in the process of phasing out fragrance from my skincare regime. I will explain why but first lets address what a fragrance is.

Fragrances in skincare come in a few forms. It can be a synthetic (lab-created) fragrance which will appear as “Parfum/Perfume/Fragrance” on the label. Frequently at the bottom of a label you will also see ingredients like “Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene” to name a few. These ingredients are allergens and have to be disclosed on labels if they are present above a certain limit.

Fragrances also come in the form of essential oils for example lavender oil, peppermint and eucalyptus are popular ones. Fragrances, both synthetic and from essential oils are referred to as “allergens” in the cosmetics industry and they can cause sensitisation of the skin.

Now the tricky bit. Just because a product is “unscented” doesn’t mean it is “fragrance-free”! Sometimes companies add fragrances to a product to remove smells, confusing, I know. Also just because a product has a fragrance doesn’t mean it isn’t “fragrance-free”. Some ingredients like shea butter for example have a natural odour which is not allergenic. To overcome this issue when looking at labeling make sure it specifically says “FRAGRANCE-FREE”.

So why should you avoid fragrances? If you suffer from sensitivity, rosacea, eczema, acne, inflammation then you MUST avoid fragrances in your skincare.  Fragrances are one of the most common reasons for allergic reactions in skincare so please take a look at the ingredients listing on your products, it may reveal why your skin has been acting up.

Generally if you don’t suffer from the above skin issues it is still safe to use fragranced wash-off products like face-masks and face wash as these don’t come into contact with the skin for a long period of time. For products that you leave ON your skin? Well the jury is still out.

The reason that I have been cutting out fragrance is not because I suffer from sensitivity but I figured there is literally no benefit in having these allergenic ingredients in my skincare routine. Even if they don’t cause a visible reaction, who knows whats happening in the lower layers of my skin. There are some sources which say perfumes can leads to the breakdown of collagen in your skin. Currently there is very little research which supports this and maybe I’m being paranoid, but why take the risk?

What are your thoughts on fragrances in skin care? Have you had any reactions to them? Do you avoid them? Comment below and let me know.

Jay x

 

Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA (Glycolic Acid)

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It’s been a while since I exfoliated my skin with a scrub. The reason being that scrubs/microbead exfoliators will successfully remove the topmost layer of skin for a short period but don’t have any long term benefits. Furthermore they can actually cause damage to the skin by making small lacerations on the skin surface. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) chemical exfoliants are a step up from scrubs which don’t cause any damage to the skin whilst exfoliating and are beneficial to building new healthier skin.

AHA is commonly used in salons as a chemical peel but in higher concentrations (40%+) as it is proven to penetrates the skin to produce keratin and collagen. 10% AHA Glycolic Acid from Paula’s Choice is an effective and safe version to use at home but should not be used more than once a week. If you experience any sensitivity or redness the frequency should be reduced.

Taken from the Paula’s Choice website:

“This exclusive, extraordinary resurfacing treatment is an exfoliant formulated to reveal youthfully radiant skin overnight. It couples age-fighting antioxidants with 10% glycolic acid—ingredients proven to stimulate healthy collagen production and reduce wrinkles. A unique liquid delivery system, along with innovative soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients, guarantees impressive results that are visible from the first application. In less than two weeks your skin will experience improved texture, color, tone, and a noticeable reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. With ongoing use, skin becomes firmer and is better able to further resist the signs of aging.”

This chemical exfoliant comes as a clear liquid, it does have an unpleasant chemical smell (doesn’t linger) and no added fragrance. During the first few minutes of applying this with a cotton pad I experienced some tingling and itching which quickly subsided. You have to apply this exfoliant after toning and before your serum, avoiding the delicate eye area. If you have sensitive skin it is advised to wash it off your face after 10 minutes, otherwise the product is suitable for all skin types.

I used this product three nights ago and I have to say I am astounded at the results. My skin looked bright and smooth the morning after, just like after a facial, and the results are still visible three days on! After using this exfoliant I don’t think I’m going back to using the scrubs anymore as this is a much more effective and long-term solution to my anti-ageing concerns. One thing to note when using AHA exfoliants is to ensure you always wear a 25+ SPF cream during the day as they can make you photo-sensitive.

Jay x