Dealing with Perfume Allergies

By Heather Legg

We think about food allergies a lot, and allergies like cat hair and dust, pollen and insects. We have so many more allergens floating around that though they may not be deadly, they sure can be annoying.

Perfume allergies are a huge annoyance to many people, simply because you can’t get away. My mother is highly allergic to some perfumes, not all. It just depends on the scents used in them. There is a certain brand she really likes, and the other day, a sample came in the mail from this designer. Since she’s had success with them before, she put the tiniest amount on her wrist. Then the headache came, the nausea and the sneezing.

One day I was off to a tennis match and my partner came to pick me up. Same experience, I had sprayed on  a tester, something I normally didn’t wear. The whole way to our match we were sniffling and my poor partner was coughing and eyes were watering. I didn’t even have that much on. Not a great way to start a match. At Least we were outside!

And what about if you work with a perfume wearer? Can you ask them not to wear it? What if your child’s teacher coats it on in the morning and your child is allergic? How about if you’re sitting next to someone at church who is wafting the perfume scent around?

It’s a hard matter to deal with, as perfume is personal and people usually don’t think about infringing on another’s well being when they put it on.

It’s also hard to differentiate and say all perfume, or some heavier ones or perhaps ones that contain rose or maybe verbena. It’s not perfume in general that people are allergic to, it’s the ingredients. So if you are allergic to cedar, a perfume with cedar fragrance in it may cause symptoms to flare up. Other perfumes may sit fine with you.

So how do you handle it? Learn from your mistakes is one – I won’t wear new perfume when I’ll be in close quarters with someone, or even much perfume. You never know how someone will react. Only try a tiny bit if it’s new to make sure it agrees with you. If it doesn’t, wash it off. You may need to use some alcohol to get the fragrance off, sometimes it will stay much longer than needed.

Let your friends, family and coworkers know about your condition and maybe they’ll be sympathetic and keep their great new perfume for those times when you are not around.



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December 9th, 2010 | 2:55 am
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