Updated: Jun 2, 2020
What are 'the 26' Fragrance Allergens?
The European Union (EU) requirements for skin care products under cosmetics regulation 1223/2009 requires that the 26 most-known allergenic substances must appear on the label of cosmetic products when present in the finished formula at certain thresholds.
In cosmetic products these are very often present as a result of the inclusion of essential oils.
What is an allergen?
Although the word “allergen” doesn’t appear in the EU Cosmetic Regulation, the 26 substances listed in Annex III of the Regulation are known for their allergenic potential and are under the regulatory framework because of it. An allergen is commonly defined as “any substance, often a protein, that induces an allergy”. Below is a full list of the 26.
Are there only 26 fragrance allergens?
The 26 represents a list of those fragrance allergens with the highest allergenic potential. Discussions are ongoing as to whether this list may need to be expanded due the increasing prevalence of fragrance allergy within the general population.
Why are these fragrance allergens still commonly found within skin care products?
Put simply scent sells. It is well known from extensive research that fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, is a common sensitising ingredient for all skin types. Yet despite this information, fragrance components are included within the vast majority of skin care products because, up to now, the public actively seek it out.
Many essential oils for example are included in skin care products as they have positive aspects both cosmetically and sensorially which mean consumers are drawn towards them. This combined with the fact that it is difficult for customers to know or accept that it is fragrance within any given product which might be causing them a problem with sensitivity means that they continue to be widely used.
People will most often just write something off as a bad product rather than really looking into what aspects of their skin care might be causing them a problem.
Can I get tested for fragrance allergy?
Allergies to substances where a protein is easily identifiable can be tested with a skin test, so determining an allergy to peanuts, cat dander or pollen requires only a simple scratch test. Scents, however, are more complicated, as one fragrance can be made up of many different ingredients. You may wish to speak with your doctor if you feel you may be having an allergic reaction to something within your skin care as you may be able to be tested.
One simple 'test' you can try yourself at home is to maintain all other aspects of your lifestyle but strip your skin care right back to fragrance free products. If over the course of a couple of weeks your skin starts to feel less sensitive then there is a good chance that fragrance within your skin care is causing you a problem and you may wish to consider permanently moving towards fragrance free products.
If I can tolerate fragrance now will I always be fine with it?
Not necessarily. Fragrance allergy is something which can be developed over time so just because you are currently fine doesn't mean you will continue to be so. In addition, not all of the signs of fragrance sensitivity are immediately obvious on the surface of the skin and it may simply be causing a generalised minor irritation over either the short or long term which we would want to avoid.
Do 'fragrance free' products have any smell?
Yes, fragrance free products have the natural scent associated with their ingredients. There are a number of ingredients which cause no irritation but also smell great including; vanilla, cucumber, aloe vera, almond, mango, coconut, cocoa butter, shea butter, and cucumber.
It is important to be aware that some products listed as 'Scent-Free' contain masking fragrance; a fragrance specifically added to neutralise the smell of other ingredients.
At Skind we never stock products which contain synthetic fragrance or the 26 fragrance allergens.
Should I be cautious and eliminate fragrance from my skin care?
We think YES. There are a number of excellent fragrance free products on the market which provide everything you could possibly need from your skin care without the added risk of sensitising fragrance. That's why we use the phrase "Everything not Anything" because our curated collection of products gives you everything you need not just anything you might want.
Should you wish to try a fragrance free skin care routine we have lost of beautifully formulated products which are also all cruelty free. The collection also includes many products made largely or entirely from natural/ organic ingredients.
Around 85% of our products are Vegan so if this is something you are looking for please use the filters provided to view only these.
Please do let us know how you get on with any products you select as your feedback is very important to us - firstname.lastname@example.org
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