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fragrance in skincare

Is Fragrance in Skincare Bad?

Is Fragrance in Skincare Bad?

Before answering “is fragrance in skincare bad”, we first need to understand what fragrance is. Fragrance determines the smell of a product. Scent can be natural or developed synthetically. 

  • Natural: Originates and extracted from a natural source
  • Synthetic fragrance: Lasts longer within a product. Created within a lab and may be semi-synthetic (made with some natural ingredients)

Is Fragrance Common?

Most products contain some form of fragrance.  Scent can play a key role in using and enjoying a product. It masks unpleasant smells from other key ingredients in the product. For most skincare users, fragrance may be an added sensory benefit and have no negative effect on the skin. Others may have a negative reaction to the fragrance, depending on skin type and sensitivity. Those with sensitive skin can be affected badly, so it may be best to choose products without fragrance.


Unscented vs Fragrance Free

It is important to know the difference between Unscented vs Fragrance free when looking for products.

  • Unscented: No scent BUT chemicals are used to mask natural scents to achieve this
  • Fragrance free: No synthetic or natural scents have been added.  The product will smell like its ingredients



Fragrance is one of the biggest causes of dermatitis.  If you have sensitive skin you should always check for a reaction to a new product by patch testing on a small area of skin before using on the face. It is often better to use natural products – or products without fragrance.



Some people who suffer from migraines (particularly women) may prefer to avoid scented skincare products.  Hypersensitivity to scent can trigger a migraine.


Understanding Your Skin

So – is fragrance in skincare bad? Not if it works for you with no negatives side-effects.  If you are sensitive to scents or have allergies then it is best to choose fragrance-free products. 

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