Recently there has been a move by many brands to state a “natural fragrance” as an ingredient in their product or launching a natural fragrance range within their brand.
These brands describe these types of fragrances as either compounds derived from essential oils, blends of essential oils or both.
The issue I have with this is that compounds that are part of an essential oil such as limonene, geranyl acetate, linalool and citral etc are all made synthetically and are not derived from a natural oil. It is too expensive and time consuming to fractionate essential oils and it is far cheaper to synthesise them.
The other issue which is of great concern to me is that a great number of these compounds are skin sensitisers. From the 300 or so essential oils currently on the market over 95% of them contain one or more sensitisers. Over time and prolonged exposure to these compounds and oils you will become sensitised which may take the form of skin reddening, itchiness, pigmentation through to eczema, psoriasis and other major skin problems.
Natural compounds are not always better for you, especially when they are delivered in concentrated forms such as essential oils or so called ‘natural’ fragrances.
If you want to avoid becoming sensitised only use products which are odourless (fragrance free products may still contain fragrance compounds) or only use fragranced products that are wash off such as cleanser and shampoos.
Basically, our skin is a living organ and requires nutrients (mostly water soluble) that have little or no odour- that’s it. Our skin is not designed or adapted to deal with these ingredients thus rejects them causing inflammation.
There are also companies currently offering preservatives which they label as fragrance or perfume and state that these are natural. I looked into these preservatives and found they contain compounds that are known irritants and toxic such as benzyl alcohol.