07 May 2019

The F Word

Fragrance. I know it makes things smell nice, but FRAGRANCE is literally killing me lately.

I have been struggling with so many health issues lately, and one of the worst has been Eczema, in the form of contact dermatitis under my arms, around my eyes and on my hands.

I couldn't figure out why some of the so-called "clean brands" I was using were still bothering me, until I flipped them all over and started to analyze all of their ingredients. The only thing I could find in common with any of them was FRAGRANCE. I feel like I am YELLING at you, but honestly this has made me so mad over the past few months!

According to Beautycounter, fragrance is a generic term found on the labels of personal care products we use day in and day out. “Fragrance” could mean up to 3,000 stock chemicals make up a products scent, but the ingredients label simply indicates one word: FRAGRANCE. Though companies are required by law to list the ingredients that make up their products, fragrance is considered a trade secret, so companies aren’t legally bound to disclose which chemicals make up said scent.

Fragrance is one of the top 5 known allergens and can cause or trigger Asthma, Dermatitis, respiratory distress, and may have negative effects on the reproductive system.

My personal issue with fragrance began when I had a TERRIBLE reaction to Native Deodorant. Without even thinking, I assumed I was allergic baking soda, which is a common ingredient in Aluminum-free deodorants. I quickly stopped using the Native deodorant causing me skin irritation and replaced it with a baking soda-free formula. No change. I read blog after blog about natural and clean deodorants and found many people were having the same issue as me and some thought it might be related to fragrance.

That's when I took a look at all of the products I was still using that were being applied where my new found eczema was popping up, including a very pretty Tarte eye shadow palette I bought myself for my birthday in December. Fragrance was in everything!!! This started to explain the random patches of painful and itchy eczema all over my body.

Last month, after almost a year of suffering, sneezing and itching, I switched to fragrance-free deodorant and the dermatitis under my arms cleared up entirely. I also switched from the Tarte eye shadow to a Beautycounter eye shadow palette and the eczema and raw skin around my eyes disappeared. I am still suffering from issues caused by fragrance in shampoo, conditioner and hand soap, but hope that these issues clear up soon. When people wear perfume or scented hair products around me, my eyes burn and I start to sneeze non-stop -- so please take this into consideration when you're wearing perfume or scented-products in the workplace as many people have a fragrance allergy.

I have found the hardest problem to solve is the eczema on my hands which is likely related to hand soap. In most public washrooms the cheap hand soaps on supply contain synthetic fragrance which irritates the skin on my hands so badly.

The moral of the story? Read the labels, be informed, and make decisions based on your health and not on materialistic or shallow reasons - sure the eye shadow may be pretty, or the soap smells nice, but if it's causing you harm please STOP USING IT. And remember that just because it says "natural" on it, doesn't mean it won't cause you harm. Fragrance is hidden in everything, so unless the specific ingredient is noted, you're probably being fooled by the beauty industry and ingesting chemicals hidden under the term FRAGRANCE. The f word.

Need some help finding amazing fragrance-free, safe products? Shop my favourite clean and fragrance-free products below! Also read about clean perfumes, scented with safer ingredients like essential oils in my Clean Perfume blog from last year.

Schmidt's Fragrance Free Deodorant
This has no scent, but it works! Which was a big shocker to me. It also cleared up the dermatitis under my arms.

When I switched to this eye shadow the eczema around my eyes cleared up in a day! 

Includes fragrance-free Daily Shampoo & Conditioner, Body Wash & Body Lotion in "Citrus Mimosa," scented with essential oils.
We overlook what's in our hand soap, but this is one thing we use SO often we should really be ensuring it has safe ingredients that aren't irritating our skin. I have switched all of our hand soaps over to Beautycounter because they smell amazing but are scented with safe and wonderful essential oils.


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