According to the skincare expert Abi Cleeve, you could be prematurely ageing your skin just by spritzing on your favourite fragrance – even if you’re conscientious when it comes to your anti-ageing skincare regime.
We spoke to Cleeve to find out why your signature scent could be causing pigmentation and age spots, especially on your neck, and to discover how to avoid the risks perfume can pose to your skin.
How can perfume negatively affect your skin?
‘Sprayed directly onto skin, perfume is so aggressive that it undermines skin’s ability to protect itself against UV damage. That means that perfume-covered skin becomes more vulnerable to sun damage and ageing pigmentation.’
Is your neck particularly vulnerable?
‘Unfortunately, the angle of the delicate décolleté area is perfectly placed to receive the full onslaught of the sun’s damaging UV rays, and the skin on your neck is closer to the bone and thinner too. This means the rays penetrate quickly and the damage is potent. It’s why you often see women with speckled pigmentation patches on their necks and chest.’
How can I protect my skin?
‘You should use your facial sunscreen all the way down the neck and décolleté and it should be a broad-spectrum sun protection, as we need SPF to protect us against UVB (burning) and UVA (ageing). I recommend the Ultrasun Face range, from £20, which contains very high UVA filters (90 per cent against an EU standard of 33 per cent) and added Ecotin, a great natural anti-ager.’
Where is it ‘safe’ to spray your perfume?
‘My advice is to spray it on and around your clothes. Your wrists is another very popular area to put perfume and as this area does not receive a lot of sun exposure, it’s a safer place to spray it.’
I’ve already got pigmentation. What can I do?
‘You can give your skin some vital ingredients that will really help it cope, even if it is already showing signs of ageing. Look for ingredients, such as Juvinity, which stimulate microcirculation and protect cells from oxidative damage. Or, anti-pigmentation ingredients, such as hexylresorcinol and liquorice extract, which will help reduce the appearance of existing pigmentation.’