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Fragrance Free vs Unscented Skin Care Products: Why The Differences Matter

19% of beauty product consumers today prefer a natural fragrance over a synthetic one. 

For many people, enjoying fragrances is one of life's luxuries. For those of us struggling with sensitive skin or looking to improve our health, though, even the most natural perfumes are a luxury we can't afford. Luckily, the beauty world created fragrance-less products to suit your needs. 

Yet, did you know there's a difference between fragrance-free and unscented products? This could be the difference between a product that irritates and one that soothes. That's why we're explaining the difference with this guide. 

Want to know whether you should be buying fragrance-free products over unscented ones? Or is it the other way around? Keep reading to discover the answer to these questions and more!

But First, What is Fragrance?

A fragrance, or a perfume, is a chemical concoction that smells really good (or really bad, depending on your preference). You can find fragrances in many different types of products on the market. 

Usually, these fragrances come in one of two forms: synthetic or natural fragrances. 

Synthetic fragrances are made in a lab, meaning they're synthesized using inorganic substances. Companies extract natural fragrances from flowers, spices, and more. While synthetic fragrances are more likely to irritate the skin, both types of fragrances are worrisome. 

Why so much anxiety about fragrance? There are multiple reasons, one of which is the effect these compounds have on sensitive and acne-prone skin. The other reason is that beauty manufacturers aren't required by law to list the ingredients they use in fragrance. 

That means you could be applying a host of toxic chemicals to your face without ever even knowing it. Particularly concerning is the high concentration of phthalates, which we'll talk about more in a bit. All you need to know for now is that phthalates are harmful to your health. 

That's why many conscious consumers choose unscented or fragrance-free products instead. 

Unscented vs. Fragrance-Free: What's the Difference?

A growing percentage of US beauty consumers (38% of them to be exact) are demanding skincare that's all-natural. That means they don't just want fragrances derived from nature, they want products made from the same ingredients you can find in your home pantry or at a local health food store. 

For many people, that means migrating toward the unscented or fragrance-free products. 

Most people will tell you there's no difference between the two. It's just a marketing ploy, they say. Or, they suggest, it's only a semantical difference, not a real one. 

We're here to tell you that these people are wrong! There is a difference between the two, and we're about to tell you all about it.

Unscented Products

Unscented products are what they say they are— they have no scent. However, this statement can be misleading. While unscented products have no smell, they do use chemicals or other substances to neutralize the odor of the product's ingredients.

Because here's the thing about beauty product ingredients: most of them have some natural scent. When these products are all-natural, these scents are sometimes off-putting. For example, if you've ever taken a whiff of clay, you may wonder why your clay masks don't smell the same. 

In this case, the manufacturer will add fragrance to hide the natural smell of the product's ingredients. That's why we always recommend going fragrance-free. 

Fragrance-Free Products

Fragrance-free products are the only ones that you can be sure won't irritate your skin. That's because they contain neither natural or synthetic fragrances. Instead, these products smell like the ingredients they contain.

Keep in mind that your nose doesn't always know the difference. Yes, a product that smells a little woodsy or earthy is probably fragrance-free, but you never know. Similarly, a sweet-smelling product may make you think it's filled with fragrance when it's really chock-full of antioxidants.

If you aren't sure, check out the label or visit the product's branded website. We recommend that you avoid the product altogether when you can't figure out whether a product contains fragrance or not.

It can be hard to switch away from all your scented and unscented products completely. Yet, the benefits of doing so may change your mind. 

Why Fragrance-Free Products are Always Better

So, why should you switch to fragrance-free products? Scented and even unscented products contain fragrances, which are full of little toxins known as phthalates. Phthalates are one of the main ingredients in plastic and are also found in many everyday beauty products, including:

  • Cosmetics

  • Hair and skincare products

  • Nail polish

  • Perfumes and lotions

  • Hair spray

The bad thing about phthalates is that they cause major skin problems. And that's not all. Phthalates are also associated with poor health conditions like male and female reproductive issues, hormone disruption, and even damage to DNA.

Even worse? Companies aren't required by law to include the presence of phthalates on the label.

If you do run across a company that lists phthalates, here are the ones to look out for:

  • Dibutyl phthalate (most often found in nail polish)

  • Diethyl phthalate (most often found in perfume)

  • Dimethyl phthalate (most often found in hair spray)

Are you exhausted thinking about all the work you'll have to do to locate a high-quality fragrance-free product? Then maybe it's time you found a company that cares as much about the health of your skin as you do. 

Where to Find Clinical Skin Care Products Without the Fragrance

Tired of the unscented product lie and searching for fragrance-free products to help transform your sensitive or acne-prone skin? Look no further than Clarity Clinical Skincare. Check out our completely natural and wholesome skincare line today to discover how our products rejuvenate your beauty regimen!

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