2nd Myth: You’re Better Off With Essential Oils If You have Sensitive Skin
A lot of people who opt for fragrance-free products for their sensitive skin might consider essential oils. After all they’re naturally fragranced so will be better for the skin, won’t they?
Not necessarily, says Chris.
“Essential oils are natural fragrances so they are naturally rich in the fragrance compounds (allergens) that I mentioned, the likes of “citrol”, “eugenol” or “citronellol”. So what you are doing, instead of using a synthetic or formulated fragrance that’s had consideration for the levels of these different allergens, you could be putting something on neat which has a colossal amount of some of these allergens in there.” The same rules apply. If there is an allergen that naturally occurs in the essential oils, it will be listed on the product.
Chris explains you are actually better off using fragranced products rather than essential oils, as they are more likely to have lower levels of allergens. He explains, “when we talk about a fragrance, synthetic or formulated however you describe it, it’s a blend of ingredients. So, what we tend to do, the fragrance company will take the different fragrance ingredients I’ve talked about like “limonene” “citronellol” the things that you find in lemon or rose or whatever else it might be. And they will optimize it so they will combine it with other ingredients to make the thing last longer or release faster, work in the shower, stay on your skin all day, those kind of things so they’re absolutely optimized, meaning you can use slightly lower levels of the actual fragrance levels themselves. Whereas to use the neat essential oil, you’ve got no way of keeping it on the skin or making it last all day or whatever else it might be. So they only way you get a better effect is to use an awful lot more.”
In Chris’ opinion, a synthetic fragrance is always going to be safer and less harsh on the skin than neat essential oils.