The Real Problem With The Body Shop Skincare Products

The Body Shop is well known for being one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly places to buy makeup and skincare products at an affordable price. The Body Shop's products are cruelty-free, meaning they are not tested on animals, and its ingredients are sourced directly from farmers around the world, (via Ethical Unicorn). And on top of being ethical, the Body Shop's products have inspired a loyal following due to their pretty packaging and delicious, long-lasting fragrances.

Founded in Brighton, England in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick, The Body Shop's commitment to the environment has been strong since the very beginning. Roddick encouraged her customers to reuse her products' containers and was passionate about only using ethically-sourced ingredients. As the Body Shop grew in popularity and opened shops around the world, Roddick used her newfound platform and wealth to advocate for social change. The Body Shop formed partnerships with Greenpeace and Amnesty International to save whales and fight human rights abuses, (via The Derm Review).

So what's the catch? The Body Shop's products might be good for the planet, but the fragrance they contain could be bad for your skin.

The Body Shop's products are loaded with potentially irritating fragrances

The connection between fragrances and skin problems is well-known, and many beauty and skincare enthusiasts have opted to go completely fragrance-free. Some popular skincare brands like Drunk Elephant and Clinique only sell fragrance-free products, while others like the Body Shop offer both fragranced and fragrance-free options, (via Honesty for Your Skin).

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, per Beauty Bay, fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. And even if you can't see the irritation in the form of a rash or a breakout, you can still be experiencing inflammation at a cellular level, which can lead to damage over time. "Fragrances can absolutely be sensitizing and cause eczema and other skin reactions," Dr. Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist and professor at NYU School of Medicine told PopSugar.

For NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Melissa Levin, fragrances in skincare is a complex issue. Fragrances aren't necessarily bad, but people can react to various fragrances differently. What might be bothersome to one person's skin is fine for another.

"The issue is that ingredients in skin care are complex and shouldn't be labeled as good or bad," Dr. Levin explained. "With fragrances specifically, multiple fragrances can be added to a single skin-care product." Because scents are often mixed, if you're having a negative reaction to something in the product you are using, it might be difficult to tell which ingredient specifically is upsetting your skin. If you have sensitive skin, many dermatologists and estheticians recommend you don't risk it with fragrances and stick to fragrance-free options.