A new report from Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) found that millions of people suffer from skin and respiratory allergies caused by hidden chemicals in fragrance.
I'm sure you've heard me rant for years about how much I detest that over 3,000 different chemicals can be legally hidden under the term “fragrance” on product labels. What's worse is that it's nearly impossible to avoid these chemicals because they're found in 96 percent of shampoos, 91 percent of antiperspirants, and 95 percent of shaving products.
What About Unscented Products?
If you think the solution is to go with fragrance-free, think again. A product labeled as “unscented” may still be made with fragrances. It's just that the purpose of the fragrance is to mask the natural odor of other ingredients, instead of giving off a detectable scent.
Maybe That Rash Isn't Eczema After All
As WVE points out, fragrance allergy usually manifests itself in the form of red bumps, blisters, itchiness and blotchiness of the skin. Frequent exposure to fragrance allergens can lead to chronic dermatitis. But because of lack of disclosure of fragrance ingredients, dermatologists face an uphill battle in identifying what is causing a patient’s reactions, making it difficult for the patient to avoid the allergen in question.
Melinda Olson, nurse and founder of Earth Mama Angel Baby, taught me years ago that most children’s eczema is really just a case of contact dermatitis caused by something coming in contact with the skin. It sure makes sense in light of this new report, considering that so many skincare and cleaning products contain offending irritants that aren't listed on the label.
She recommends stopping all skincare products completely and washing with warm water for several days, then slowly adding back in only pure, organic products made without questionable chemicals. You can also try unrefined, organic coconut oil for soothing and moisturizing your irritated skin. In most cases, you’ll find that rashes and dry patches clear up within just a few days.
I'm sure we can all agree that companies should disclose fragrance ingredients in personal care products so that we can make informed buying decisions. But I prefer even more accountability, so I choose skincare products that are certified organic. Why? Because the labels are inspected and the ingredient panels are verified for accuracy. You can’t hide anything when your products are certified.
Call me crazy, but I say hiding chemicals in everyday products is cheating! Let's join together and insist that the fragrance industry stop playing with our health and begin disclosing ingredients used in fragrance. Contact them now!
P.S. Be sure to check out WVE's list of cosmetic companies who are disclosing fragrance ingredients here.