Wednesday, September 5, 2018

BEAUTY SCIENCE: Fragrance

The word "fragrance" on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Beauty companies have to use the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) when listing what’s in a product. This standardized book of ingredient names means that lavandula angustifolia (lavender extract) is always lavandula angustifolia, regardless of whether a company thinks theirs is better, exotic, or magical. However, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) exempts "fragrance" from having to be more specific, even though it might contain synthetic, preservative, or allergy-provoking substances that you might want to know about. It's a "catch-all" word, allowed by the FDA, for manufacturers to protect their "secret formulas."

Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. It’s up there with nickel and poison ivy, which most people know how to avoid. So, what can you do to avoid the possible risks? Look for products that use essential oils as their way of introducing a scent into your hair care, skin care and cosmetic products.

For example, manufacturers of shampoos are well aware that selected essential oils should both appeal to the sense of smell and meet the needs of specific hair types. They are most effective when they work in tandem with certain hair categories. Generally speaking, lavender, carrot seed and rosemary are beneficial for all hair types. If hair is dry, chamomile, rosewood and palmarosa serve as moisturizing agents. Oily hair is balanced by lemongrass, patchouli, sage, cypress and cedar-wood, while geranium, spearmint, tea tree and juniper soothe the scalp and treat the itching and flaking associated with dandruff.

Essential oils also help treat problems such as thinning hair or an itchy scalp and they add shine to the hair and a fresh scent to the shampoo. Other essential oils include: thyme, birch, sandalwood and parsley for fragile hair, and yarrow, lemon, Roman chamomile and rose oils, which encourage hair growth and minimize hair loss.


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