Fragrance in Skincare – Do or Don’t?


We love applying our skincare because their scent reminds us of a particular memory, a little luxury or we just simply love their fragrance.

Right now there are over 17000 different fragrances on the market that we cherish and love.

But exactly those favoured scents can, for some of us, result in unwanted skin reactions. Sometimes we just don’t know if these reactions are coming from that new moisturizer, the hormonal odd breakout or if it’s just allergy season.
We want to show you how you can detect the kind of reaction you have and how to treat your skin, once you went overboard with your skincare excitement as we all do sometimes.

In addition to this, I will show you a list that you can maybe apply to your research if you have the feeling that you react against something in your new product but can’t put your finger on it what it might be. Supported by a list of the European Union Cosmetics Directive and FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the US) we hope to bring you some light into why your skin could breakout or react at times due to a certain fragrance in your skincare.

Around 26 fragrance ingredients are declared to potentially provoke allergic reactions when used in skincare but don’t necessarily have to.
They are either artificially produced or of natural origin (plant extracts, essential oils etc.) which I will explain to you a little bit.

We gathered this list for you to help you go through and see if there might be a fragrance hidden in your favourite product that your skin just hates with a passion.

When does your skin react allergically? When is it just sensitivity?

So how do I know if I actually have an allergic reaction or just have a sensitivity to a certain product?!
Here are some indicators that you can monitor if you struggle to get, not perfect, but healthy skin, because there is no such thing as perfection ❤️


If your skin reacts sensitively to a certain product which is quite common and more likely to happen.

  • Your skin flares up
  • Rashes appear after the use of the skincare in question
  • Skincare can sting
  • Rosacea breakout
  • Pimples appear

These reactions are more on the mild side of how your skin can react.


Quite a more severe reaction of your skin and your body signals that there is something in or on your body that should not be there at all and will let you know for sure.

  • Bumps and/or blisters can appear in severe cases
  • Coughing or sneezing won’t stop
  • Flakey skin after the usage of a certain product
  • Swollen eyes or mouth
  • Itchiness

This can be an immediate answer to the product in question that it might not be the one for your skin, even though you love it so much – Listen to your body aka skin.

So, what can you do when your skin reacts to a product?

  • rinse off the product with cold/lukewarm water for a couple of minutes without any harsh cleansers
  • don’t use products such as chemical or physical peels as well as heavy oils or moisturizes until your skin is healing
  • if the reaction is too severe consult a dermatologist right away and skip home remedies
  • stop your regular skincare regime for the next weeks to allow your skin to heal and stick to the basics such as water and moisturiser without fragrance.

Those products should be very lightweight and used sparingly. Only introduce more products, one by one, after your skin is back to normal in order to avoid irritating it further and you should be friends again as, in situations like these, less is usually more.

A clean pillowcase and fresh air should absolutely do the trick to keep your skin as clean as you can for the moment and help it heal with plenty of water to drink.

So should you be having fragrance in your skincare or not?

It will always be trial and error.
Try out skincare, which is fragrance-free if you tend to have more sensitive or acne-prone skin and see how your skin reacts once you take out the products in question (this can also include makeup).
Just keep in mind, that these ingredients can result in skin irritations but don’t necessarily have to, it really depends on each and everyone’s own skin, so start to learn and listen to yours as fragrance can be something absolutely beautiful and transcending.
In case of doubt, however, go fragrance-free to take out as many potential irritants as possible for healthy beautiful skin.

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