Fragrances and health issues

Do colognes and perfumes give you a headache?

A Melbourne University study has found around one third of people suffer health issues linked to hidden chemicals in fragrances, such as air fresheners, deodorant, candles and more . The report also notes that many of the chemicals contained within a fragrance are not displayed on the label, and even natural or organic fragrances were found to emit hazardous chemicals.

What is your experience with fragrances?

4 Likes

Sometime ago I took very ill .The symptoms appeared to be flu like , aching muscles in arms , neck etc . General lethargy . I went to hospital for tests . Nothing showed up . My local GP phoned me one afternoon and proceeded to question me about any life style changes , food , products like deodorants I was using etc .that I may have changed . She was on the right track /

About 3 months earlier I’d gone from using spray on deodorants to roll ons . It turned out to be the deodorant .The doctor advised me to use an unscented deodorant . I started using Mitchum Unscented and within 2 - 3 days symptoms were subsiding .What ever fragrance was in the deodorant I was using beforehand was having an adverse affect on me ./

Unfortunately for me last year Mitchum (Revlon) changed the formula of their "unscented deodorant " . I can now smell a feint scent . Touch wood no reaction yet . I am looking around for a more natural product , if one exists , because the numbers and such on the content panel of most roll on deodorants scares me sh… l… .

3 Likes

I get hayfever…namely itchy nostrils which leads to uncontrollable sneezing and running.

As a result, I avoid perfume areas in major department stores (or hold my breath if I have no choice but to walk through), clothing detergent Isles of supermarkets, natural scent areas of lifestyle shops etc where fugutive fragrances are high.

I am also fortunate that my partner has also become accustom to wearing low or no fragrance cosmetics, soaps and such like.

Before we buy a new product , I smell and see if there is any nasal response which occurs soon thereafter.

3 Likes

I know where your coming from with the hay fever . Another problem I have is fly sprays .Even the supposedly low irritant and non allergenic brands . If I’m in an area where they are used I have to get out quickly as it brings on symptoms similar to a bad hay fever attack .

3 Likes

It’s all bollocks - in the mind …

That is, until you or someone close to you experiences it. My kids, thankfully, have grown out of it as far as I can tell, but the reaction, particularly my youngest, was amazing - for many types of fragrances and smells. A high like you wouldn’t believe, she’d go absolutely ape - and stay there for a few hours at most. Then the crash, and inconsolable. Of course the people who triggered the high were often long gone by the time of the crash, hence my opening comment.

The biggest issue with sensitivity/allergy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is the disbelief, denial and mocking from ignorant morons, both to your face and behind your back, and the constant wilful disregard by showing up with hair spray or perfume or whatever caked on like they were an undercover skunk.

Years ago when living in Melbourne we found a good doc - from memory Dr Colin Little in the Mt Waverley area?? (for all manner of allergies etc) He was ‘unusual’ to say the least, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s on the fringe of ‘normal medicine’ as judged by ‘normal doctors’ - but he was a godsend. He told us it was possible the kids would grow out of it, and thankfully he was right - but also said to remain vigilant and there were no guarantees. If you are in Melbourne, look this guy up, and be very careful not to be too quick to judge :slight_smile: and I say that in a kind way.

One of the plus sides to dealing with fragrance allergies/reactions is discovering all the natural solutions to cleaning and fragranting (??) that you can use - often cheaper - and even the ones that smell (like vinegar and eucalyptus) often don’t trigger the reactions that the chemical ones do (but not always, sometimes they do … and I’m sure individual reactions will differ …).

4 Likes

Hmmmmm…not in the mind. I have inherited my mother’s genes.

2 Likes

I often get quite a bad headache from perfumes.

Years ago the salespeople would “spray” you as you walked past their wares but so many customers complained about their discomfort with this type of behaviour.

I always spray my “tester” perfumes on a piece of paper first, and if it is to my liking, will try a small amount only on my wrist. This method still does not stop the headache that may follow, but at least I can sample several fragrances without having to try them all on my person.

3 Likes

Some perfumes make me feel ill, I can’t sit near people wearing them and if I’m in a theatre situation, for example, and can’t get away from it, it’s hell. It’s a combination of nausea and feeling like I can’t breathe properly. And yes, it doesn’t have to be artificial. Ylang-ylang is awful for me.

4 Likes

Thanks all for sharing your experiences so far.

A colleague told me a story about his partner, which I’ll relay here. She was starting her first day of work and wearing perfume, which gave her new boss a strong reaction and made them quite ill. Not pleasant for all involved!

3 Likes

Oh how awful…!! On the very first day of work too…?!!

I wonder how long she lasted at that job before trying a different fragrance?
Or was she asked to leave under the “Occupational Health and Safety Regulations”??

I can not help but have a bit of a giggle at that story, but in reality, it IS quite horrendous!

Cheers Natalie :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Yep, I can only imagine the scene this created, and don’t worry it was told to me in the same tone so we had to chuckle as well. I’m told day two was far more successful.

We have been using a fly swat for years. Beats putting up with nasty sprays and works successfully. Also now use a fly trap outside at the beginning of summer when we start getting flies swept down from the country on hot winds. That really helps reduce numbers so chances of them entering the house are greatly reduced.

2 Likes

I get bad facial flushing/hot flashes whenever I use an iota of cologne (though I’ve only ever used cheap ones). I’m glad I’m not alone in adverse reactions.

1 Like

Try a homemade unscented deoderant paste. I’ve heard good things.

2 Likes

@wish-for-wings Will definitely follow your advice on that one .

1 Like

A complete and utter waste of money, absorbed by the skin (the chemicals), don’t keep long in the bottle or smell (for long) when on you,
save your money…they are purely and money making exercise.

1 Like

Thanks for the heads up :smile_cat:

1 Like

I’ve been a “nuisance” for years - perfumes, air fresheners, incense, pest sprays, deoderant, even essential oils (the ubiquitous lavender included), you name it, almost all of it gives me a bad headache, instantly. Drives everyone mad, including me. A great book has recently been published, “The Case Against Frangrance” by Kate Grenville. Now I know I’m not alone!! I highly recommend it. But we need more research and more publicity about “fragrance” and just how dangerous it can be - there is more than just headaches and allergic reactions involved.

3 Likes

I changed a couple of years ago to Deonat Crystal. I had always been very sceptical about it but the assistant in the chemist told me she used it and loved it. It isn’t a good antiperspirant but it’s an amazing deodorant! I have absolutely no odor left in the armpits of clothing etc even on hot days if I have been perspiring. If you’re not troubled by excess perspiration I think it’s worth a try. You do need water to apply it but that’s about it. I love it!

3 Likes

Thanks @glenyslove Will definitely look into it .

2 Likes