Unscented ≠ Fragrance free by: Tiffany Clay, MD

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Having eczema or sensitivities to fragrance can take most of the fun out of buying soaps, lotions and other skincare products. Many products on the market say they are specifically for eczema or sensitive skin, however, some of these products can also contain ingredients that could trigger an eczema flare up. People with a history of eczema can also develop allergies or can be very sensitive to common ingredients found in soaps and lotions. Due to this sensitivity they can’t use the floral, exotic smelling products that are all over the shelves at our local retailers or for sale online.

Avoiding fragrances is not easy because many products are marketed and sold as “unscented.” But buyer beware, this does not mean that it doesn’t contain fragrance! Unscented means - having no scent, while fragrance free means having no fragrance. Unscented products usually contain a masking fragrance that make it smell unscented, mostly to hide the smell of other ingredients in the product. This simple play on words can mean a ton of itching, discomfort and sleeplessness for someone with eczema or sensitivities to fragrance.

I always emphasize to my patients that: if it doesn’t say “fragrance free”, leave it be.

Always take the time to look at the labels of products you are purchasing. One good example of an eczema friendly product that isn’t clearly labeled is Dove sensitive skin body wash. It is labeled as unscented, and actually has a nice scent to it, but it is not fragrance free. It contains masking fragrance. Dove sensitive skin beauty bar on the other hand is labeled as unscented and fragrance free meaning no masking scents have been added. Be sure to check your labels on skincare products before purchasing, and if you’re not sure, ask your dermatologist. 

Tiffany Clay, MD sees patients in ou East Cobb, Buckhead, and Midtown offices. 

Here are a few of the fragrance free products we love and offer at Dermatology Affiliates:

The Elta MD Line of Sunscreens

Neocutis Bio-Cream and Lumière Eye Cream

Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser and Exfoliating Body Wash