Fragrance-Free… I Go Even Further


My Skin: Redness, sensitivity, rosacea-reactive prone, dehydrated.

What do I avoid?

Anything with soap, alcohol, and a flowery smell. That means no synthetic fragrance, and no naturals/botanicals for fragrance either.

I don't use soap, ever. Not on my body, and never close to my face. I remember when the soap-free alternatives started coming to market, and I had never realized the impact soap had on my sensitive skin. I switched everything to soap-free and have never returned. I need my lipid layer, and soap, at least for me, doesn’t touch my skin.

What do I use instead to cleanse?
  • Hands + Body: cream cleansers
  • Face: light face moisturizers +/- natural clay masks as cleansers and as a gentle face exfoliator + tea tree oil spot treatments
  • Scalp: still use traditional shampoo, my scalp has to be washed everyday + tea tree oil scalp treatments

When you have redness, sensitivity, and reactive skin like mine you become very clear what causes a response within your skin care routine. Fragrance free isn’t enough... I go even further.  COSM Research

Why would I avoid alcohol in formulas?

Because alcohol can be used to strip the skin lipid barrier. This can be helpful for specialty serums and ingredients to penetrate the layers of the skin and, in theory, seems okay, except I know I can’t afford to break down my lipid layer. My skin actually fares well with more pro-ceramide, pro-hydration ingredients, so alcohol, if included in top 5 ingredients, usually doesn’t make the cut.

What I do look for:
  • Aloe
  • Ceramides
  • Centella Asiatica/Madecassiodes/Gotu Kola
  • Clays (Kaolin, Bentonite)
  • Coconut oil + milk powder
  • Shea butter
  • Vitamin B3,B5
  • Zinc

Why would I avoid almost all smells, synthetic and natural?

Because my redness prone skin is likely tied to a histamine response. Guess what, I have seasonal allergies, as well as oral allergies. Things I smell, breathe, and eat cause itchiness and inflammation. Primarily pollen, ragweed, red fruits (really almost any fruit), fragrant herbs and spices, raw nuts, and nearly all raw vegetables. I don’t have an extreme, life-threatening allergy, but the histamine response is very uncomfortable. If a product has strong botanical smell, it can invoke an itchy throat, runny nose, and flushing. So, I avoid strong flowery botanical scents. This also means that, for me, not all products that claim redness relief and redness neutralizers are effective. 

What I can tolerate to breathe without reactions include:
  • Natural Camphor (Body + lips)
  • Natural Eucalyptus (Body)
  • Natural Mint (Body)
  • Natural Tea tree oil (Body + spot treatments)
  • Low % Natural Citrus (Body)

What I avoid: flowery smells. Lavender and Rosemary are probably the worst for me personally.

...there's more?

My skin is so sensitive that a windy day can actually invoke a red, flushed, chapped face for hours. So my version of a skin care routine for sensitive skin may be slightly different than the next. After I apply my product(s), I don’t touch my face, nor let anyone touch my face, because that too creates an erythema response, an uncomfortably red hue. My reactivity can actually spread to my eyes as well, they are dry and bloodshot more than they are clear. When you have redness, sensitivity, and reactive skin like mine, you become very clear what causes a response. Fragrance free isn’t enough... I go even further. 

cosm research elle signature fragrance free reactive skin sensitive skin

Want to see more posts like this before they're released on the site? Don't forget to sign up below or through our signup page!