Fragrance Allergies

Information on the causes of fragrance allergies and fragrance allergy symptoms.

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  1. What Are Fragrance Allergies?
  2. Diagnosing Fragrance Allergies
  3. Help for Fragrance Allergy Sufferers
  4. More Information about Fragrance Allergies

What Are Fragrance Allergies?

The American Academy of Dermatology has determined that fragrances are the leading cause of contact dermatitis. Fragrances or scents are added to a multitude of products, including hair and skin products as well as cleaning products, because they help to sell them. However, fragrances contain aromatic compounds called phenols, which are responsible for many of the allergic reactions that fragrances cause.

Two kinds of irritation may occur in the presence of fragrances. The first kind is not an allergy but a normal response to irritating substances sometimes found in fragrances. Common fragrances contain over two hundred chemicals. An adverse reaction may be either a chemical or a fragrance allergy.

An allergic reaction is caused by the body’s release of histamines and other biochemicals. Some people have hypersensitive immune systems and end up experiencing symptoms when exposed to chemicals or fragrance.

How Are Fragrance Allergies Diagnosed?

Fragrance allergies are difficult to diagnose because scents are complex. Scent-free products may even contain chemicals to block fragrances.

One method of diagnosis that you can try at home is to use an unscented product. If you have a reaction, you may have a chemical allergy, not a fragrance allergy. Diagnosis will still be difficult but a fragrance allergy can be ruled out.

Allergists use a combination of history taking and skin and blood tests to diagnose allergies. Mainstream and alternative health experts may use additional types of tests as well to reach a diagnosis.

A localized symptom of a fragrance allergy is contact dermatitis. One sign is a rash on the part of your body that comes into contact with an offending agent. The rash may be very itchy and there may be small, water-filled blisters present. Burning may also occur, and your skin may appear red, cracked or scaly with peeling and oozing blisters.

A generalized body response may provoke hives, wheezing, and nose and eye irritation. A generalized sense of itchiness, irritability, anxiety or depression may occur. Vomiting or diarrhea may also be present.

Help for Fragrance Allergies

It is impossible to eliminate exposure to fragrances completely, so the best approach is to reduce it. Improving immune health and promoting wellness of the entire body goes a long way in reducing allergies. Limiting consumption of foods high in phenolic compounds may be beneficial as well.

Antihistamines and steroids are frequently recommended by mainstream health care providers. Antihistamines can be sedating. They are best used at night as they cause drowsiness that can interfere with activities of everyday life when used during waking hours. Steroids are powerful drugs with many side effects. They are sometimes applied topically to relieve itching, or prescribed for internal use when antihistamines are not sufficient.

Natural remedies are beneficial in the treatment of fragrance allergies, and are generally very safe. Natural remedies diminish symptoms and improve the health of the entire body.

Homeopathic agents improve immune and respiratory health, and can be used instead of conventional remedies. If pharmaceuticals are employed, you may still use homeopathic remedies as they work in a different manner than prescription drugs. Homeopathic medications do not interact with conventional drugs, and are especially beneficial as they relieve symptoms while reducing the hypersensitivity which causes the allergic response. They are also non-sedating and are even safe for children. Homeopathic blends work better than individual remedies because they reduce many symptoms simultaneously.

More Information about Fragrance Allergies

  • Use natural remedies on a regular basis, not just when symptoms are present. Taken consistently, natural remedies help correct underlying imbalances and tone the respiratory and immune systems.
  • Ask friends, co-workers and family members to limit use of fragrances in your presence.
  • Air purifiers or fans may provide relief.
  • Avoid crowded social events.
  • Use home and personal care products made from natural ingredients without added fragrances.
  • Follow a diet low in phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds are aromatic compounds present in most foods, but are predominant in almonds, fruit with pits or stones, peppers, tomatoes, grapes, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives. Other foods high in phenols include cocoa, wine, raisons, tea, cider and many oils. You can reduce consumption of phenols by peeling fruits as the skin and seeds contain the highest amounts of phenols.

Living with fragrance allergies is challenging. By implementing lifestyle changes and natural healing products, you will improve your general health and decrease the hypersensitivy reactions caused by fragrances.

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