Perfume Allergies 

I have an allergy to fragrance. It came up on my skin patch allergy tests as quite a "good" reaction (which in my case was a big red welt that took 2 months to go down). 

I was somewhat surprised as though I have never worn a lot of perfumes. I have worn one or two when going out for dinner, a special occasion etc and loved various body lotions that were perfumed. 

I adored my scented candle collection and loved filling the home with natural fragrances...

I always knew my skin was a little sensitive as I could only wear a couple of perfumes and they were of the "purer" variety. Experimenting with lower end teen type perfumes would generally bring me out on a little irritated rash when I was a teenager so I quickly learned to avoid those. However with others I was OK.

For years I have used washing powders and liquids for clothes that invariably tell you that they have a fresh spring scent or a clean fresh fragrance.

Even washing up liquids discuss the bouquet of flowers that you have when using their brand etc. 

I never thought much about it to be honest. We always avoided the obvious plug in varieties of synthetic fragrance - just because we didn't like it but it was only after my diagnosis of being severely affected my perfumes that I started to really look at what we used on ourselves and in the home. 

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 Fact is fragrance sells. 

Most of us love it ! Next time you are looking for a body lotion, cream, shower gel washing detergent think what you do, do you ever lean down and smell it? I know I did and if i liked the scent then I was halfway sold on it. 

The ads portray the sensual woman who smells great (with a perfume) the sexy man who smells great(with the aftershave) The cute baby who smells nice....

We have learned that our own scent is simply not good enough. I mean everyone wants to be clean and fresh smelling of course! However, to be clean and fresh by washing is not it seems good enough anymore we have to cover and mask and have a perfume on. 

So many products now contain perfume and it is on the rise. There was no where near the amount of fragrance products even 30 years ago. Look on the shelves and try to find a products that does not contain fragrance, EDT, perfume. Haircare, skincare, washing up liquid, baby products, washing powders and liquids, conditioners, soap, etc Even sanitary wear is now putting perfume in it! 

While some is natural perfume much of it is synthetic.... 

So no wonder we are now learning that allergies to perfume are on the rise too. Even children bombarded by synthetic perfumes from birth are becoming allergic to this over perfumed world.  

Several studies discuss that fragrance allergy is a leading cause of contact dermatitis and fragrance allergy sufferers can also display symptoms ranging from hives, headaches, wheezing and other breathing issues and sneezing. 

I rarely wore perfume as such but I did use body lotions and on holiday sunscreens(most of which do have fragrances in them-even though you may not be aware of it) 

So although I was Ok ish for years I became allergic to fragrance and this can happen to anyone at any time.... 

Do bear in mind my severe reaction here was a result of a combination of 4 different allergic reactions to what was in the sunscreen I used-ironically to protect my skin!

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So what can you do about it if you have a fragrance allergy?

As mine is a contact allergy I essentially have to avoid coming into contact with anything or anyone that has had perfume on it. So that means using only non scented washing powders or liquids, haircare,skincare, deodorants, suncreams, soap, washing up liquids and household cleaning and polishing items. 

It means not having or not lighting any scented candles, not wearing any perfumes, avoiding anyone else who might spray perfumes in to the air, avoiding polish with fragrance in it, avoiding shops or salons or spas where you can smell the perfumes as you walk in, avoiding anything with a scent. 

If it smells nice I cannot have it !  It is easier said than done!!

It is unlikely that I am allergic to ALL fragrances but the problem is pinning down to the ones I am. In the fragrance patch test they use a mix of the most common to cause allergies. The problem in todays world is that there are so many fragrances all mixed up and used in complex ways. 

Really the purer and more natural the better chance that I might be Ok with it. I already know that I am Ok with some real scented flowers- but NOT with the synthetic copies of those flowers....

I am still hoping that at some time in the future i may be able to use one or two pure essential oils for when I feel like wearing a perfume or maybe could add to a wash, but for now its safer for me to AVOID all fragrance on my skin.

Do check with companies to know if fragrances are used in their products. Hopefully ingredients will be listed on the product. If not  Here is a sample letter I have used. A few ranges do a true "scent free" arm to their products which is great.

You can take a look at the brands i have found do scent free products that I can use on this Products ranges page. 

In any event ALWAYS read the full ingredient list and do a patch test before using. 

If you are interested in learning more about fragrance allergy these websites may be useful to you.

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