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Why Fragrance-Free Skincare is Here To Stay

February 18, 2022 3 min read

Why Fragrance-Free Skincare is Here To Stay

Use good sense when it comes to skincare scents

Gardiner Family Apothecary use only the purest, gentlest, most natural ingredients in our Ovelle and Elave skincare formulations. For 86 years, we have been sharing expert advice on the best solutions for dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. So, we know that when it comes to skincare, less is much, much more!

Our washes, cleansers, moisturisers and serums are completely free from the harsh ingredients which are known to trigger reactions in delicate skin. That means no dyes, sulfates, alcohol, MIs or formaldehyde.  Our award-winning formulations are also 100% cruelty-free, 96% vegan and sustainably resourced.

Importantly, none of our products contain any fragrances, artificial or natural, or phthalates – a substance used to make scent linger. Some contain botanicals for their skin conditioning properties, but as we source the highest available grade raw materials which use advanced refining methods, having the majority of the aroma compounds eliminated during processing.

Elave skincare Gardiner Family Apothecary eczema psoriasis rosacea dermatitis

Synthetic or natural, all ‘smellies’ can be problematical for skin

The term ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ covers everything from aroma compounds to fixatives, solvents and essential oils that people put on their body, in one form or another, to make it smell good. Scents are often added to skincare products to neutralise or mask the unpleasant odours emanating from other ingredients.

When you see these terms on the back of a product, it usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Around 3,000 chemicals are used in all sorts of ‘smellies’ and one laboratory analysis of top-selling perfumes identified an average of 14 chemicals per product which were not even listed on the label!

While fragrances are found in literally thousands of beauty and skincare products – everything from foundations, moisturisers and serums, to washes, scrubs and sunscreens - it has long been recognised that they can cause a multitude of problems, even if your skin is not particularly sensitive.


Synthetic or natural, all fragrances can cause skincare issues

Ovelle Hygienic Hand Wash is a sensitive hand wash with enhanced antibacterial protection to gently cleanse skin, while moisturising coconut botanicals and Vitamin E leave hands feeling soft and refreshed without stripping natural oils

Even many essential oils, while natural, can cause skin problems. Common irritants include linalool, eugenol, cinnamal, citronellol and limonene (although others, like vanilla and almond, are not bad for the skin).  Essentially, it doesn’t matter if the scent is natural or synthetic as they can all cause issues.

How do you know you may be sensitive to fragrance? If you have ever walked into a shop selling scented candles or bath bombs and felt your skin prickle or your nose start to run, that signals sensitivity. Within a short time, you may feel a migraine developing or start getting a bit wheezy. These symptoms develop particularly quickly in those with asthma or illnesses linked to the environment.

Fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. Your skin will feel hot, itch, turn red, and may develop a rash. However, even if you cannot see or feel any damage being done by scents, it doesn’t mean that it is not happening. With continued use, the damage can build up over time and show up later in life in the form of age spots, pigmentation or dry, crepey skin.


Elave Rejuvenating Night Treatment No.419 contains a unique combination of hydrating emollients to repair the skin, together with Glycolic Acid Arginine complex to rejuvenate skin overnight. Elave Rejuvenating Night Treatment No.419 promotes cellular regeneration and stimulates collagen synthesis to actively rejuvenate the skin, revealing younger, brighter and deeply hydrated skin

Treat your skin right to avoid sensitivity, damage and premature aging 

People with especially sensitive eczema or dermatitis-prone skin can develop hives, itchy rashes, stinging skin and red welts if they come into contact with anything containing scents – and particularly with skincare products which contain both chemical and natural essences. Any new product should be given a small patch test first, to gauge sensitivity.

It is particularly important that babies and young children are not exposed to scents and other harmful ingredients, with up to 1 in 4 children born in Ireland developing eczema because of environmental factors. Delicate young skin is particularly sensitive to scents and chemicals, so it is important to treat skin right, right from the start, by using only the purest, gentlest, free-from skincare.  

So, whatever your age – and even if you have not yet experienced any problems - going scent-free is the safest option to avoid skin sensitivity, chemical damage or  premature aging in the future. The Ovelle and Elave skincare ranges offer safe, effective, derma-approved top-to-toe skincare solutions for all the family.



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