Many of us have become more savvy regarding skin care. As a result, we have turned to natural skin care believing it is a healthier option to the thousands of potentially toxic synthetic ingredients typically found in commercial skin care.

Gone are the days of mindlessly slathering on creams and lotions without a thought as to whether or not a product is safe. Walk into almost any drug store these days and you will find a myriad of “natural” products that were previously only found in health food stores. Even huge companies that have become household names have jumped on the “natural” bandwagon by sprinkling a few botanical extracts into their products.

While finding more naturally based products is more convenient than ever, a challenge still exists for those with sensitive skin, or for individuals who simply prefer fragrance free products. Have you noticed how many natural skin care companies routinely use essential oils in their products? It is not that they are inherently bad, but they can pose a problem for some.

Essential oils are distilled from the aromatic parts of a plant, such as the flowers, leaves, roots and barks, and has been used for aromatherapy since antiquity. One of the main purposes is to improve psychological and physical well-being through scent. They have been used to treat colds, migraine headaches, indigestion, etc.

Take a whiff of some of the face creams found in major health food outlets. Some smell predominately of lavender, others have a lingering scent of peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil. A single product could contain several essential oils.

So, why do these companies so heavily on essential oils? One of the main purposes is to add a “natural” fragrance to the product. Another reason is that essential oils may provide benefits for the skin. For example, some may help to control oily skin, while others may be more beneficial for dry skin.

However, some essential oils are known sensitizers. For example, lavender can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Others may cause irritation, rashes, blotches or itchy skin. Stronger essential oils which may be problematic for some sensitive skin types include peppermint, menthol, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Hydrosols, which are less concentrated than full strength essential oils may be more suitable for sensitive skin. These include rose hydrosol and lavender hydrosol. While these products still contain a “natural” fragrance, they may be more gentle on the skin.

If you can not find fragrance free all natural products in your local store, then Google some variation of “All Natural Fragrance Free Products.” You can also suggest that a company consider doing a fragrance free-line. There is no guarantee this will happen, but at least you have made your preference known. Always make sure an on-line retailer provides a 30 day money back guarantee. If not, see if you can get a sample or one at a low cost.

We should always have choices when it comes to purchasing quality skin care. And while many people do like seen products, there seems to be a growing segment of the skin care market that prefers fragrance free skin care.