These days, many of us are prone to damaging our complexions for one simple reason: our modern lifestyle. We’re constantly hooked to our technological gadgets which emit harmful blue light, while our hectic lifestyles may cause stress and unwanted breakouts. Add to that the fact that we are constantly exposed to environmental aggressors such as UV rays and pollution, and it is only a matter of time before our skin barrier starts crumbling down.
The popular solution is to turn to gentler skincare products or brands that are supposedly ‘clean’ as their products are known for eliminating toxins and chemicals and exposure to cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting ingredients. In 2019, beauty giant Sephora introduced a slew of clean brands under this category such as Dr Roebuck’s and Pai Skincare.
According to Dr Ian Tan of IDS Clinic, the buzz with clean beauty has seen proponents singling out synthetic fragrances – as opposed to natural ones found in essential oils and extracts – as causing detrimental effects on the skin. However, he cautions that going the natural route isn’t necessarily “problem-free” as being free of synthetic chemicals does not mean a product is free of allergens. In short, natural ingredients may have a higher allergenic potential.
However, there are advantages of using fragrance-free skincare products – those without any artificial scents – especially if you have sensitive or problematic skin. “For those with these skin types, applying new skincare products may lead to redness, stinging, swelling, and itchiness. When that happens, using fragrance-free skincare products is ideal as it is best to avoid products with common irritants and allergens since fragrances are one of the most common irritants in skincare,” he says.
Another point to note is how the term fragrance-free is loosely defined. In some cases, a product labelled as such means it is merely unscented and that it may contain chemicals that have been added to mask the unpleasant scent of other ingredients. The bottom line is that it is crucial to understand what your skin really needs in order to pick out products to treat your concerns.
Here, we suss out the skincare products you can try if you’re keen on starting out a new fragrance-free – sans any artificial scents – skincare regime.