The Important Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance Free
Labels can be confusing. After all, there are “Unscented” products and “Fragrance Free” products. It’s important to differentiate between the two because there are differences, including safety.
Fragrance Free is what you are looking for. This means that no fragrances (artificial or otherwise) have been added to the product (or should mean that, watch for tougher regulations monitoring that coming). As we know, artificial fragrances are the #1 irritant on skin and one of the most potentially harmful ingredients we can encounter - because they contain phthalates -- see more information below. They are linked to many health issues, from allergies and asthma to cancer. In its truest definition, "fragrance free," means you should not have to worry about those nasty synthetics. Nothing should be added to remove the natural scents from the butters, oils, and other natural ingredients in the products. In other words, you may smell some of the product’s ingredients such as the olive oil or shea butter.
Unscented does not mean fragrance free. In fact, if you smell absolutely nothing in your skin care or beauty products, it may be more harmful than you believed. Why? It sounds silly, but "unscented" products typically have added fragrance agents used to mask the other smells. These masking fragrances are usually composed of toxic phthalates.
Phthalates are an industrial plasticizing agent. This is found in artificial fragrance, and frequently used in "unscented" and some poorly labeled "fragrance free" products. Here is what is on the Cosmetics Database page about phthalates: “More than two decades ago, scientists began building a body of work indicating that phthalates are reproductive and developmental toxicants in laboratory animals, particularly in males. Early studies focused on phthalates’ ability to cause testicular atrophy (e.g., Gray and Buttersworth 1980). New studies are confirming these findings in humans (Swan et al. 2005, Main et al. 2005).”
Phthalates have been linked from everything to testicular cancer to liver cancer, but they are still in almost all synthetic fragrances, including masking agents which cause a product’s other natural scents to disappear.
Allergies and asthma still remain the biggest side effect of artificial fragrance and studies reveal that women are even more susceptible to these side effects. The problem becomes compounded when one exhibits the side effects such as redness and irritation and attempt to treat these with more lotions and creams. Since so many of these products have fragrance in them, they are rubbing on more of what is actually causing the problem in the first place.
**We at Seed are committed to offering Fragrance Free options in all of our products, and we recently updated our website to make our Fragrance Free products easier shop. Check it out now at http://www.seedbodycare.com/collections/fragrance-free
*Updated to include new information about regulatory changes coming in the EU.
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