National Fragrance Day: Potential Allergies and Your Skin

19 Mar National Fragrance Day: Potential Allergies and Your Skin

fragrance skin allergies

A bottle of expensive perfume might sound like an ideal gift to many women out there – unless you suffer from fragrance allergies. If you suffer from fragrance allergies or sensitivities, chance are you already know. You may get sneezy when you walk into someone’s home where a scented candle is burning, or your skin may break out in a rash at the application of even the slightest amount of scented lotion. But why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy a dash of perfume for a nice night out? You should – and you can. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, perfumes are the leading cause of cosmetic dermatitis, which is a rash or skin irritation that is caused by an allergy to scents. So, in honor of National Fragrance Day on March 21, we are going talk about how to find a fragrance for yourself without the undesirable effects of cosmetic dermatitis or other fragrance allergies.

Most perfume-shopping tips focus on finding the perfect scent, but let’s talk about what is causing that unsightly rash every time you attempt to spritz yourself at the makeup counter. The reason your body responds negatively to some perfume while other people do not is that this type of allergy, like every other allergy, is caused by physiological makeup. We are all different, so we all react differently to different things. That’s why Chanel No. 5 can be your best friend’s, well, best friend, and be your worst enemy. But don’t worry; although your best friend can spritz as she pleases, there are millions of other Americans out there who suffer from fragrance allergies.

We know the allergy is caused by how our bodies’ physiological makeup responds to certain chemicals, but how do you know which scents are doing it? Most fragrances out there have thousands of different chemicals in them, so it is nearly impossible to determine which chemicals are causing your reaction. In fact, some brand-name fragrances have as many as 5,000 chemicals in them, making it pretty difficult to pinpoint which scents leave an unpleasant irritation and which ones leave only a pleasant smell.

While it may seem like a daunting task to pinpoint those scents you are allergic to, the reality is there are only a few chemicals that are generally the culprits. So, how do you know which ones they are? The best way (really, the only way) to make sure you hone in on the right chemical offenders is to make an appointment with your dermatologist. That way your doctor can conduct a series of allergy tests on the most common allergy-causing scents. Once your dermatologist is able to determine what scents are causing your irritation, it will be easier to eliminate them.

After you determine what’s causing your skin irritation, now you can go perfume shopping. The best way to find your next perfume is not by sifting through all of the perfumes to find one that contains none of your allergens; doing so would be time-consuming and practically impossible. The best plan of action is to head to a specialty perfume shop that allows you to concoct you own potion. Making your own perfume allows you to select the fragrance you want without having to be disappointed that it contains a chemical that will make you break out in hives. Plus, it allows you to develop your own signature scent that no one else can claim. Another easy alternative to buying expensive, brand-name perfumes is opting instead for single-ingredient, all-natural oils or combining a few of them for a DIY scent. A dab of lavender, jasmine, vanilla or ylang ylang oil smells just as lovely as a pricey, big-name bottle of perfume.

So, those who have fragrance allergies don’t have to fear Fragrance Day – and won’t have to spend a scentless evening out ever again!

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