Most of us use several products a day that “smell nice”: body lotion, perfume, shampoo, laundry detergent, baby products and the list goes on. However, you need to know what is in the product that makes it smell nice because you may be sensitive or even allergic to some of the ingredients that can be included in the term "fragrance". It's important to read labels and be aware that “fragrance” doesn’t indicate one ingredient. Instead it can be any combination of over 3,000 chemicals allowed in beauty products. Lab tests commissioned by Campaign For Safe Cosmetics found up to 38 chemicals not listed on the labels of several name-brand fragrances. Why is that you ask:
In 1967, Congress passed the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requiring cosmetic companies to list ingredients on the label. Well, all ingredients except fragrance. Since then, companies only have to list the word “fragrance”. So when you buy a product with the ingredient “fragrance”, you have no idea what that means or how many undisclosed chemicals are present.
This is directly from the FDA website:
"If a cosmetic is marketed on a retail basis to consumers, such as in stores, on the Internet, or person-to-person, it must have a list of ingredients. In most cases, each ingredient must be listed individually. But under U.S. regulations, fragrance and flavor ingredients can be listed simply as “Fragrance” or “Flavor.”
"Here’s why: FDA requires the list of ingredients under the Fair Packaging and Labeling ActExternal Link Disclaimer (FPLA). This law is not allowed to be used to force a company to tell “trade secrets.” Fragrance and flavor formulas are complex mixtures of many different natural and synthetic chemical ingredients, and they are the kinds of cosmetic components that are most likely to be “trade secrets."
It then goes on to say:
"Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients in cosmetics, food, or other products, even if those ingredients are safe for most people. Some components of fragrance formulas may have a potential to cause allergic reactions or sensitivities for some people.
FDA does not have the same legal authority to require allergen labeling for cosmetics as for food."
What You Need To Know
In other words, there is no way you can find out if a product containing "fragrance" is made with a component you might be allergic to. Fragrance is now considered to be one of the top five allergens in North America and European countries. These reactions can include skin, eye and respiratory reactions. It can even trigger an asthma attack. If you ever start feeling dizzy, nauseous or get a headache when you are around someone wearing a product with fragrance, you could have a chemical sensitivity to fragrance.
Also important to know: products that are labeled “unscented’ or “fragrance free” may still contain fragrance ingredients to cover up strong odors present in the formula.
So do you have to avoid every product that smells nice? NO. But you should read the label and look for the word "fragrance" and understand there are undisclosed ingredients in that product. Many of the undisclosed components may not be a problem for you. However if you have an allergic reaction to the product, that could be the reason why. Products scented with essential oils or infused oils are a better option if you want to avoid "fragrance".
At Rozetree Botanicals we only use plant infused oils and essential oils to provide a light scent in our products. Natural plant oils and essential oils not only smell lovely but also have many skin nurturing and healing properties. But bear in mind that it is possible to be allergic to a specific plant oil or essential oil due to naturally occurring constituents in the plant. We will always disclose exactly what is in our products so you can know if there is an ingredient you are allergic or sensitive to.
One last thing: remember that other people around you may have fragrance sensitivity so choosing products without synthetic fragrance may be beneficial to others as well as your self.
Take care friends and be well,