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This App Saved My Skin When I Developed A Fragrance Allergy

Imagine this — you wake up one day not being able to see because your eyes are so inflamed, they’ve closed shut. This happened to me, not once but twice.

The first time around, I thought I had eaten something the night before that may have contained shellfish (something I already knew I was allergic to). But when the reaction came back for the second time, I knew it wasn’t something I ate. I wasn’t going to wait around for this to happen again, so I dragged myself to the dermatologist ASAP.

My doctor had me take a patch test which revealed exactly what I’m allergic to. The results indicated that I’m sensitive to nickel (which I already knew) and something else — fragrance. My doc gave me a list of names of fragrances to look out for when using products, and it was surprisingly long.

When I got home, I cross-referenced my list with all the products I used, and was shocked to find that there was fragrance in almost everything. It was in my skincare products, makeup, laundry detergent, hair products, deodorant, hand soap and so much more — I was going to have to make some serious changes.

So, I packed up all of my creams, sprays and life-long favorites that I could no longer use, and either gave them away or tossed them out. This was the hardest breakup I’ve ever endured. Once my mourning period was over, I hit the books.

I started researching what brands and products were fragrance-free, and I quickly realized that this was not going to be easy. There are a handful of brands that outright claim to be fragrance-free (which is wonderful) but they are few and far between.

For all the other products I was interested in, I was stuck tediously comparing my list of fragrances to their list of ingredients. Not to mention that some brands and products don’t always list their ingredients on their packaging or websites. How is that even allowed?

Frustrated and tired, I was ready to give up. But then, I discovered SkinSAFE the app that changed the game.

The SkinSAFE app (and website) provides users with more insight into what’s actually in their products. Its huge database includes products and brands ranging from beauty to household. So whether you have sensitive skin, have an allergy or just want to avoid certain chemicals, this is the app you’ve been looking for.

Here are just a few of its helpful features:

Find Real Hypoallergenic Products

According to SkinSAFE creator Dr. James Yiannias, “If you choose a product that actually says hypoallergenic or dermatologist-tested, unfortunately, it doesn’t really mean a whole lot”. He suggests that people with irritant-prone or sensitive skin use products with a Top Free rating on SkinSAFE. Products with this label do not include the following irritants (which according to Mayo Clinic are the most allergy-inducing ingredients):

  • Bacitracin
  • Benzalkonium Chloride
  • Benzophenone 4
  • Cobalt Chloride
  • Fragrance
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methyldibromo Glutaronitrile
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Neomycin
  • Nickel
  • Potassium Dichromate

Tailor Your Search For You

If you have an allergy to a specific ingredient, or just want to avoid specific chemicals altogether, you can easily customize your search to only show items that are right for you. From gluten-free to paraben-free to fragrance-free (and so much more)— SkinSAFE lets you choose which filters to turn on and off when searching for products.

Scan Products On The Go

If you spot a product on the fly, but you’re on the fence about its ingredients, try the SkinSAFE scan feature. This is a quick and easy way to gauge what allergens and chemicals the product in question includes. If the product is not listed in the database, not to worry, you can always submit the product for review!

This has been such a helpful app that I’ve used again and again since downloading. And best of all, it’s free!

What are your thoughts on SkinSAFE? Share your experience in the comments below.


I am not a doctor or a health expert. The products I highlight as fragrance-free are products that work for me – meaning they have not irritated my skin or caused me to have an allergic reaction. My fragrance allergy may be different from yours, and these products may or may not work for you. Please make sure to consult a dermatologist.


Image by: Erica Dawn

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