yes, i can smell you

it's been awhile since i've talked about anything with a fragrance being what's going to kill me someday, so i thought now was a good time to vent talk about it again. in the spirit of the holiday season, i want to keep this light and entertaining, but in all seriousness, being scent sensitive and allergic to fragrances is real and isn't any different than someone with a food or animal allergy. 

i know you want your house to smell nice, but a scented candle burning in the corner of your kitchen, will send me home. granted, i'll grab one of your freshly baked cookies on my way out, but i won't be able to stay and chat.

if your hubby just doused himself in aftershave and walks by me, i'm practically down for the count,  and god forbid he hugs me since he hasn't seen me in awhile, the scent will stay on me and i won't be able to breathe. again, it will send me home. this time to throw all my clothes in the washing machine and to take another shower.

air fresheners of any kind are like a force field for me. i hit them and i ricochet. seriously, they are enough to cause me to fall backwards and feel like i've been wounded. after i pick myself back up, i will dizzyingly retreat in the opposite direction {a.k.a. home} as quickly as possible.

scented soaps, detergents and lotions…oh my. gag

and taking the title, the blue ribbon, the giant trophy, basically the whole she-bang for what can literally wipe me out, is women's perfume. i can't even begin to tell you how my throat, my nose, my head and my eyes feel with everything i mentioned above, but perfume is the big gun, the giant wallop, the end all be all of what makes me unable to function.

so please, as you celebrate this holiday season AND every other day of the year, think about how what you think smells nice, could be seriously harmful to someone else and go naked….scent naked. please! 

now if there's a part of you who thinks this is impossible to do and that i'm being impossible, ridiculous or unreasonable,  then try dabbing a tiny bit of something you love under your armpits, which is really the only place that's going to smell anyhow and get dressed. you don't have to spray scents all over your clothes once they're on you. i mean really, who wants to walk around smelling like the perfume counter at a department store.

just remember, you wouldn't serve something with nuts to someone with a peanut allergy {and who never leaves their house without an epi-pen} or invite someone over to your charming home with six cats if you know their throat would close up if they walked through your front door, so i'm begging you to think the same way about scents. begging you.

and now, my soap box is going back in the closet.


  1. I hope it is unscented soap in that box :)
    working in a neonatal unit, heavy scents are highly discouraged so I don't wear a lot of scent. I do like to burn an occasional candle in the holidays but if I was aware of someone's high sensitivities to scent, I would definitely not light!

  2. I sympathize. I'm not as sensitive as you, but scents and incense often give me a headache or choke me up with asthma. My kids, too. I don't think people take it seriously, so kudos to you for mentioning it!

  3. I wonder if you aren't allergic to it all because it is petrochemical crap - everything is basically scented with "fake" scents made from petrochemicals, which, as we know, are horrible for our endocrine systems, etc. Even Essential Oils that say they are natural can be petrochemically derived - so if it's scented with essential oil, it can still not be plant based. Anyway, I'm sure this makes the world overwhelming for you sweetie and I am guilty because I love scents - but I try to only do natural stuff, sage and juniper smudges, wildcrafted essential oils. This has made me more sensitive to the chemical based stuffed - can't even find a good hairspray that doesn't offend me. The other day I "floated" out of Target on a cloud of some woman's body spray - it was not perfume, which generally stays within a couple inches of the person - this was clearly body spray which just wafts and wafts and wafts. Seriously, ladies, if you need that much body spray you might just need to do another really good wash of the pits and privates ... grin. Love you lady! Come visit and I'll stash away all the stinky stuff, even the dog.

  4. I am not as bad as you, but I too am sensitive to smell, and have been ever since pregnancy. I can be made to feel quite ill or headachy simply if a woman walks past wearing too much perfume - or a man, for that matter. It's amazing how much fragrance the chaps can apply at times! I'm perfectly fine with the natural, even sweaty, smell of humans. But some flowers and earth smells get to me, so its not just an issue of artificial smells with me. On the other side of the coin, I am almost addicted to the smell of old books, lol. When pregnant, that was my craving, rather than any food.

    So I feel for you, I really do.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Truly, I'm one of those people who can't even walk outside Yankee Candle. The number of fragrances that don't get me started on a coughing/sneezing/wheezing rant are few -- light lavender, citrus, cinnamon. Musks, roses (the fragrance of them, not real ones), vanilla and I'm done. Your point is well stated, and so important! Thank you! Again!

  6. So happy you shared. I am not allergic, but very sensitive especially to perfume. I have to hold my breathe and turn blue when I am around someone with perfume. When I was a little girl someone doused me with a bottle of perfume and thought it was so funny when I freaked out. I have never ever liked perfume! I do like a lightly fragranced verbena soap, but that is about it.

  7. So good! So true!
    I love it when people use real stuff...real herbs, real spices, real food, real flowers.
    Makes a huge difference in how I feel.
    (cats will send me scurrying home in a flash, too)

  8. How awful to be so affected by something that is so hard to control in others, sweets ! I would happily forgo any perfume or scent to spend quality time with you. Perhaps smelling the ocean breeze...
    Love to you !

  9. Wow, I can honestly say I've never heard of anyone who had THAT strong of a reaction to all things scented. It must be difficult to go almost anywhere, since scents are just about everywhere. Women's perfume or mens cologne give me a headache so I dont' wear it and neither does my husband. But I do love my scented candles and lotions and even my all natural laundry soaps and bar soaps. If you were a friend I saw in person I would refrain from wearing anything scented when we were together but I guess that would be hard to know at first.

  10. wow...Beth, I had no idea that allergies like this existed! Honestly, this was a very eye-opening and informative post. I can only understand in a small way, as some floral scents will bring on an immediate headache for me. But I was not aware that people have such extreme reactions to smells. Thank you for informing us all---in a gentle and kind way!

  11. Although I love clean fresh scents and wear perfume (lightly scented ones), I am allergic to certain scents. I will get a headache and my eyes water and turn RED! Last year I worked with another teacher who was allergic to scents. I did not wear any perfume to work that year and it was fine. I totally understand.

  12. What about essential oils? Do they cause you to react?