Making Sense of Your Scent Allergies

The experts say such sensitivities to different fragrances can pose a growing problem today and it is one that can cause a range of health problems. Further, managing the condition can be easier said than done, since fragranced products are hard to avoid in the course of your day.[i]

The Scope of the Problem

As many as 2 million people suffer from some type of fragrance sensitivity, according to estimates from the American Academy of Dermatology.[ii] The numbers of people affected seem to be growing, too, as more manufacturers incorporate different scents in their products.

A Range of Symptoms

If you think you have an allergy to certain scents, you may experience a wide variety of symptoms that can include the following:

  • Nasal symptoms
  • Water eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Contact rash, hives and itching[iii]

Take Control of Your Environment

If you suffer from these or other discomforts that are triggered by different scents, experts recommend doing your best to manage your personal environment and eliminate them whenever and wherever you can. Some things you can do include:

  • Use fragrance-free shampoos, soaps and lotions
  • Skip the perfume
  • Avoiding scented candles, rooms sprays and potpourris
  • Look for laundry and dish detergents and other cleaners that are scent-free
  • Avoid hair sprays and makeup that contain fragrance. Instead select all natural alternatives.
  • Understand that unscented products aren't always the same as fragrance free, so read labels carefully
  • Ask family, friends and co-workers to avoid using scent when in your presence
  • Talk to your doctor about the best medication you can take to manage your symptoms

Expect the Worst

While an allergy to fragrance can start out small, repeated exposure to some scents can increase your sensitivity and you may find yourself experiencing stronger symptoms over time. In addition, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology[iv] reports that for the small percent of people with who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities, coming into contact with just one scent can set off a chain reaction that can lead into a host of debilitating effects. This makes it all the more important that you take charge of your environment and try to keep your contact with these allergens to a minimum as best you can.

[i] From

[ii] From the American Academy of Dermatology. Visit their website at

[iii] From WebMD article online at v

[iv] From the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Visit their website at