Advantages and Disadvantages of Fragrance

Fragrances are widely used in skin cream, hair and nail care products, make-up and other consumer products such as shampoos, soaps and deodorants.

Data shows that the average woman uses 12 such products on a daily basis while the average male uses six such products. These products expose the skin to over 150 unique chemicals very day. Clinical data strongly indicates that some of these components have marked adverse effects on the skin.

Most countries including India have detailed guidelines on the manufacture, distribution and import of medical and cosmetic products, but the global benchmark is largely the rules of the FDA (food and drug administration) of the USA, where Fragrances are concerned, there is no strict regulation by the FDA too.

As a result, only a fraction of the cosmetics and fragrant products that are put out in the market undergo toxicity screening. This has left a large gap in the knowledge of the actual impact of such substances on the skin.

Disadvantages of Fragrance

Not So Preserving After All: Studies have shown that fragrances present in various consumer products can cause skin sensitivity, rashes, and dermatitis. Fragrances and preservatives are the two commonest causes of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) or eczema caused by cosmetics.

• Frequent low dose exposure to fragrant chemicals can cause allergic response and eczema.

• The allergic response is unpredictable and may occur after a few days or after years of exposure to the same scents.

• Massage therapists and nurses who routinely come in contact with these substances most frequently develop such allergic reactions and contact dermatitis.

• Allergic response to perfumes may manifest in an acute from with itching, redness, rash etc. or may persist to become a chronic eczema.

• Once a person develops a skin reaction to a certain substance, it is most likely that they would be affected for the rest of their lives.

• The deduction is that is most people allergic symptoms will reappear each time they come in contact with the implicated substance.

Avoid And Be Aware:

Avoiding the allergen is the sure way of preventing contact dermatitis. A wide range of unscented chemical free products are available for daily use and for the management of sensitive or irritated skin.

Cosmetics, soaps and other such products retailed as ‘natural’. Cosmetic, soaps and other such products as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ may not always be perfume free, as advertised.

Know the Common Allergens in Your Cosmetics:

• Balsam of Peru, a chemical derived from a tree resin, is commonly used as a fragrance, food additive and therapeutic component in various topical medications.

Balsam of Peru and Fragrance mix (a set of 8 chemicals frequently used in consumer products) are among the commonest allergens found responsible in allergic contact dermatitis.

• Some fragrances are commonly implicated causing allergic or toxic reactions when the skin is exposed to light after application of scented products. A common culprit in such photo-allergic reactions is bergamot, which contains psoralens.

Sun exposure following the application of bergamot scented products or massage with bergamot oils is known to causes prominent redness and pigmented streaking of skin, called Baroque Dermatitis.

Or ‘organic’ may not always be perfume free, as advertised. Therefore, it is recommended that people, especially those with sensitive skin, stick to only dermatologist-prescribed products, which have undergone stringent safety screening. Switching to mild and unscented medicated products is vital for maintaining good skin health.

SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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