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"Unscented" vs "Fragrance free": The important difference

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You can find the terms "unscented" or "fragrance free" on lotions, soaps, feminine products and baby wipes, to name a few. Maybe you have wondered what the difference is or perhaps you thought they were interchangeable. It turns out there is a difference, and the distinction is an important one for your health.

As more Americans are opting to ‘go green’ and choose non-toxic products for their health and for the environment, many have turned to ‘unscented’ products thinking that they are making the right choice. Unfortunately, what is not made clear to us is that ‘unscented’ products actually have added fragrance proxies that mask the smells of other fragrances – thereby "un-scenting" the merchandise.

The process of masking smells involves using harmful, toxic ingredients. Unscented products can be just as harmful as scented, because of the synthetic (artificial) ingredients that can aggravate allergies or asthma and can potentially cause cancer.

Fragrance free, on the other hand, guarantees that the product is free of any synthetic fragrances. Unexpectedly, a fragrance free product may have a scent to it because nothing has been added to mask the natural scents, such as olive oil or shea butter. Still, nothing artificial has been added to the product.

The skin is our largest organ, and anything you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. When possible, it is wise to look for and choose fragrance free products to ensure that your skin is not absorbing harsh toxins.

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