How fragrance technology irritates sensitive patients

December 1, 2014

Long-lasting fragrances is one of the major accomplishments of the perfume industry that has become the bane of fragrance sensitive individuals.

Q. I am a dermatologist with numerous fragrance allergies.  How can my patient’s perfumes still be inebriating at 5pm when they state the fragrance was applied in the morning?

A. Long-lasting fragrances is one of the major accomplishments of the perfume industry that has become the bane of fragrance sensitive individuals. Your patient no longer needs to spray the whole bottle of perfume to smell like a flower shop! These long lasting perfumes use special release techniques to insure longevity. The fragrance may be applied in the morning, but is released throughout the day by a variety of triggers including temperature, oxidation, light, enzymes, and pH. One technology uses sweat and its components, such as urea and lactic acid, to release the fragrance. Thus, as the patient sweats throughout the day, the fragrance renews itself by releasing.

These long lasting smells are achieved by encapsulated fragrance systems. Here the fragrance is placed in a hydrophobic sphere 100-400nm in diameter until released by a trigger, such as moisture. The moisture can be from sweat, as mentioned previously for a body product, or from the lips for a lip balm. For example, a sensory agent like menthol can be released from a lip balm designed to clear the sinuses periodically as the lips are licked. Flavored lip balms may renew a peppermint smell with moisture contact. This fragrance technology has been well received by consumers and reinvigorated the sale of many skin care products, but it is deadly to the fragrance sensitive dermatologist.

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