People who love scented products like candles, room mists, perfumes often ask whether fragrance oils are bad for your skin. This makes sense. After all, when you are applying a product to your body, or using it in your home, you want to know that it is not harmful to your health or that of your family.
This is especially true when you apply scented products to your skin. On average, a person’s skin covers approximately two square meters, accounts for almost 15% of their body weight. And it contains up to 17km of blood vessels. As such, when you’re exposing it to ingredients like fragrance oils. It pays to know that it’s safe to do so.
The short answer to the question ‘are fragrance oils bad for your skin’ is that it depends on the type of oil in question. There are different kinds of fragrance oils on the market. And whether it’s safe for use on your skin is dependent on how it’s been manufactured. As well as the form in which you intend to use. Furthermore, there is a host of other variables that include the sensitivity level of your skin.
Let’s start by defining fragrance oils and how it differs from essential oils.
What exactly are fragrance oils?
Although it can be confusing and people often use ‘essential oils’ and ‘fragrance oils’ interchangeably, this is not the case.
Essential oils are natural concentrated hydrophobic liquids. They are obtained by distillation. In addition, they have the characteristic odour of the plant or other source from which it is extracted. Good examples are lavender oil, which is extracted from the flowers of the lavender bush. The sweet orange oil, which is extracted from orange peels.
On the other hand, fragrance oils are created in a laboratory. There are various ways to do so. Some of these manufactured scents recreate fragrances found in nature, while others are more conceptual and lean towards an idea, e.g. ‘Christmas morning’, or ‘rainy forest’. Some contain a combination of natural and synthetic compounds, while others are completely artificial (i.e. it is wholly comprised of chemically designed oils).
In a nutshell, fragrance oils are not found in nature, but can also contain compounds that do.
Can fragrance oils be bad for your skin?
It all comes down to your skin type and the product you’re using. Some people can very happily and safely use a body product that contains fragrance oils without having a reaction, while others have skin that is so sensitive that it could even react adversely to naturally-derived oils when it’s too concentrated.
If you have concerns about a specific product or oil, it is always best to check in with your dermatologist or GP. They know your skin and will be able to provide personalised advice based on their experience with your health and lifestyle in particular.
No, fragrance oils are not bad for your skin when you use the products that contain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, if irritation occurs when you use a product that contains these oils, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information in this article is not meant to diagnose or treat any health conditions in any way. Please consult with your personal physician regarding any specific symptoms or concerns.
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