Does perfume cause you to sunburn?

Does perfume cause you to sunburn?

If you spritz perfume on your décolletage, be careful. You might be making yourself more prone to sunburn.

Though we may switch our chosen scents up as the seasons change, our perfume routines stay pretty consistent throughout the year. A spritz on the neckline or behind the ears and on the wrists, then we’re out the door. But Elisa Simonpietri, scientific expert at Biotherm, brought it to our attention that the spritz on our décolletage might be making us more susceptible to sun damage as we shed our winter layers.

How does perfume contribute to sunburning?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the alcohol that makes you more likely to get a burn. Many perfumes are formulated with photosensitive ingredients such as furocoumarins (an organic chemical compound produced by plants) and phenylacetaldehyde (an organic compound used in the synthesis of fragrances and polymers), that can react to the sun and cause sensitivity. Over time, this can manifest in things like sun spots or other signs of aging such as wrinkles.

s1785542-main-zoomWhat to do to make sure you don’t get burned

The most obvious solution? Wear sunscreen. You should be slapping on the SPF30+ whenever you’re outside, but it’s especially important if you’ll be exposing areas that you generally spritz with perfume. And remember, re-apply every two hours.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF50+, $53,

Although we always recommend sunscreen no matter what perfume you’re wearing, you can also look for fragrances that are formulated without phototoxic ingredients. The new Eau Soleil from Biotherm is formulated to be worn in the sun and therefore avoids those ingredients that might cause a reaction in the skin. Although you might be tempted to pick a natural or botanical oil-based perfume, it’s also important to be aware that some essential oils are also photosensitive. Again, if we have to sum up our answer: Wear sunscreen.

Biotherm_EauSoleil_2016But what does Biotherm Eau Soleil smell like?

We asked Biotherm’s Simonpietri to describe her idea of the perfect summer scent. Of course she’s biased, but her summary—beyond safe ingredients— includes “cool citrus essences” and “aquatic accords.”

You’ll find both in the new Biotherm spritz, along with notes of blackcurrent, fig, tiaré, musk and sandalwood. No question, this is a “fruity, summer floral” with an undeniable summer feeling.
Biotherm Eau Soleil, $56 (100 ml),

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PHOTO: FlickrCC/Vassil Tzvetanov
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This article was written by

Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.