When I was first patch test diagnosed with a Fragrance allergy in January 2006, I was simply told, avoid fragrance. I assumed that meant obviously avoid wearing perfumes, but I was also encouraged to “avoid fragrance containing” cosmetics and personal care products. That was the instruction. Avoid Fragrance. I really had no idea what that meant and explanation was really not given. What I didn’t realize at the time was this… A fragrance allergy can be hiding in so many ingredients that sound nothing like fragrance or parfum as some labels contain. Fragrances can be tricky, chemically-sounding names and avoiding them is your first step in living reaction-free. A recent trend in our culture is using essential oils to treat a vast array of ailments. Those allergic to fragrances will react to essential and botanical oils as the body reads them as fragrance. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is safe for everyone. An environment filled with diffused essential oils is extremely dangerous for a person like myself. Likewise, if you’re exposing your families and children to diffused essential oils on the regular, you could be setting them up for a lifetime of allergic contact dermatitis to fragrance. In fact, research has shown that an ACD allergy begins with recurrent exposure. Daily diffusing botanical oils puts the fragrance molecules out into the air and when they land on my skin I have a reaction. Recurrent exposure could set you up to be sensitized.
It’s very important to note that the FDA does not regulate ingredients in personal care products and XYZ Company can put just about anything they desire into a product and label it Safe, Pure, Natural while really being full of botanical oils and fragrance chemicals not safe for the chemically sensitive. Dermatologists agree that fragrance ingredients should not be used on the face and body.
Unscented is a marking that a lot of products contain. This is extremely dangerous. Unscented DOES NOT mean fragrance free. Masking fragrance, a chemical used to mask the smell of a product, is often added to products labeled Sensitive or Unscented. For someone with a fragrance allergy, it can cause a dermatitis or eczema to appear.
For those allergic to Fragrance Mix I, avoid products that contain or find a comprehensive list here.
For those allergic to Fragrance Mix II, avoid products that contain or find a comprehensive list here.