5 rules to follow when using fragrances on sensitive skin

meIf you have sensitive skin, you’ve probably heard time and time again that fragrance is a big no-no. It’s something we’ve reported on extensively, and while it’s a good rule of thumb to follow, it can be very frustrating to hear if you want to try products that feel more luxurious. The good news? Your skin will most likely not be irritated by each fragrance there. And if you proceed with caution and stick to a few rules, you may find that you can tolerate a little fragrance on your sensitive skin.

“When it comes to fragrance, it can be very tricky because some people think that just by avoiding fragrance altogether, then they’re in a good place,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “But a lot of times the fragrance has nuances, so it’s important to keep that in mind.”

Even if you go to your dermatologist or allergist and have an allergen patch test that shows an allergy to fragrances, you are probably not allergic to fragrances. everybody fragrances

“When fragrance is formally tested in a patch test in a doctor’s office, the mix includes different fragrances that can be used to screen for fragrance allergies,” says Dr. Garshick. “While a positive patch test may indicate that you’re allergic to one or more of the fragrances, it doesn’t necessarily distinguish which one…and just because one fragrance causes sensitivity doesn’t mean all fragrances will.”

Depending on your sensitivity level, fragrance may really be off limits. But if you’re willing to give it a try, read on to learn how to use fragranced skin care products on sensitive skin.

How To Use Fragranced Skin Care Products On Sensitive Skin

1) Do a patch test

before putting none product on sensitive skin, it is important to do a “patch test”. This means applying a small amount to the skin on your arm or wrist to see if it triggers a reaction before applying it all to your face. If you notice any sensitivity, which usually shows up as a rash called contact dermatitis, it probably means you’re allergic to something in the formula (*cough cough* the fragrance). Consider this the first (and most obvious) sign that you shouldn’t be using it.

2) Be aware of the formulations

“It’s important to avoid strong odors and be mindful of how products are formulated,” says Dr. Garshick. He adds that in general he should avoid products made with alcohol, which can be irritating on their own, and you may want to opt for light, airy scents instead of strong florals and musks.

And while a natural fragrance may seem safer than a synthetic fragrance, it really isn’t. “Both natural and synthetic fragrances can cause irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis, so it’s important to consider how much fragrance is in a product,” he says. “For example, some [scented products] made for people with sensitive skin may offer a light fragrance and not necessarily cause a problem.” However, serum made with 15 essential oils is probably off the table. “When you have sensitive skin, less is always more,” he says. Dr. Garshick, so be sure to keep it simple.

4) Combine it with simple and smooth ingredients.

The edict of “less is more” also applies to the rest of your routine, which should be packed with simple, gentle ingredients. You’ll often hear this advice in relation to the introduction of harsh actives, such as retinoids and exfoliating acids, but it also applies to fragrances. “It can help to use products that also work to strengthen the skin barrier and nourish the skin, which can help strengthen the skin barrier and make it less likely to react to fragrance,” says Dr. Garshick. Look for ingredients like ceramides, which strengthen the skin’s barrier, and hyaluronic acid, which aids in hydration.

4) Don’t use too many scented products at once

“If you have sensitive skin and want to try fragranced products, it’s important to avoid using too many scented skincare products at the same time — be sure to only introduce one new product at a time,” says Dr. Garshick. . In other words, now is not the time to burn out and replace your entire routine. If your patch test goes well and you’re ready to try one product all over your face, give your skin a few weeks to acclimate before trying to introduce others.

5) Avoid the eye area

“For many people, the skin on the eyelids can be a little more sensitive than the rest of the face,” says Dr. Garshick. This could mean that you want to stay away from products like scented cleansers that are for the entire face. Instead, opt for a lightly scented serum or oil that can be easily applied while avoiding the eyelid area.

If your sensitive skin is caused by rosacea, here are some tips to help control it:

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