Allergic to Fragrances

Many individuals are allergic to fragrances and in today’s scented world of products that can be a bad thing. Today just about every product you can think of has a natural fragrance or has had a scent added to it in order to make it more appealing to the consumer. The sad part of this merchandising strategy is that many consumers have fragrance allergies and the scented products can actually make them sick!


Someone with a fragrance allergy may have any of the following symptoms when they come into contact with a product that has a scent: hives on the skin, headache, uncontrollable sneezing, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and watery eyes.

Fragrance allergies or sensitivities can range from mild to severe. Repeated exposure to these allergens can actually bring about more symptoms.

Fragrance is Everywhere

In the past, fragrances were reserved for luxury or special occasion products. Starting in the 1970s consumers began to see daily use products with fragrance added. During the 1950s the use of fragrance in products increased ten-fold and by the 1980s the fragrance industry had doubled in size.

The products that contain fragrances are staggering when you think about the fact that consumers can find the anywhere from the expected such as candles, perfumes and bath products to the unexpected house hold products, pesticides and tobacco products and even cosmetics.

A person with fragrance allergies or sensitivities will have a reaction to a scent even if they are not wearing or using the product that is scented. Someone with a fragrance allergy can experience symptoms by simply standing in line next to someone wearing perfume, or scented hairspray. They can experience hives on their skin after wearing clothing washed in scented laundry detergent. They can also walk into someone elses home and develop symptoms such as a headache or become nauseous because someone in the home is burning a scented candle.

Individuals with fragrance allergies may not even know that they are having symptoms as the symptoms can be those we do not normally associate with allergic reactions such as: having an inability to concentrate, and headaches (we may think they are just ordinary headaches). Some reactions can be severe such as those leading to breathing difficulties.

The fragrance industry is growing at an alarming rate such that there are approximately 5,000 different fragrances and a host of different combinations of these fragrances in the daily products we use. This can indeed all add up to a toxic brew if you happen to be allergic to fragrances as one does not necessarily have total control over being exposed to them.

We can be discriminating when it comes to purchasing products for our home by selecting unscented items but when it comes to public places like where we work, shop, eat, or go to school; there can be little we can do about our olfactory sensory overload (what we smell).

To the individual who is allergic to fragrances it is much like being forced to breath in secondary smoke. You dislike it intensely, but have little control over what others are doing. Scents are in the air, on fabrics, carpets, curtains and clothing; you really can’t get away from items that are scented when you want to.