Do you have a fragrance sensitivity?


I usually manage to avoid the cleaning isle in the supermarket, because we use Sonett, obviously, but should I need something on the odd occasion I have to be quick about it, that particular isle gives me an instant headache. 

I usually try to circumvent the perfume area in department stores and pharmacies. Alternatively I go for the speed-walk/hold my breath technique. Being the helpful sort I offered to bring in a girlfriend’s laundry only to discover the residue synthetic fragrance from conventional fabric softener was so completely overpowering it was a case of dumping it, and moving well away. No surprise, the offer to help out with folding wasn’t forthcoming!

Like many others, I have a sensitivity and an aversion to synthetic chemical fragrances.

Even very recently I was in the midst of my usual morning dash into my local cafe for my coffee to find myself coming to a screeching halt behind a woman who had drowned herself in perfume. There’s only so long you can hold your breath, so it was a case of hanging back and letting others get in line before me, and hoping for the air to clear. Our olfactory system (sense of smell) switches off after a time, so she couldn’t smell her perfume, her olfactory system and turned off the onslaught, but for others it was dissipating at least 2 metres out. I love perfume, just not synthetic chemical perfume, so I use a range of organic essential colognes because I don’t have any issues at all with nature's aromatics, however there are those who are sensitive to essential oils as well.

Fragrance sensitivity can be defined as an irritation or an adverse reaction to chemicals in a perfume or other scented products such as air fresheners, laundry and cleaning products, synthetic chemical scented candles, perfume/cologne, deodorant, hair and skin care products.

People with asthma or other respiratory illness may be more susceptible to fragrance allergies.

Common Symptoms of Fragrance Allergy

  • mild to severe headache

  • sneezing, coughing and runny nose

  • breathing difficulties, dizziness, and fatigue

  • loss of concentration

  • skin irritation, itching, and rashes

  • muscle aches

  • watery, red, and itchy eyes

  • wheezing

  • swelling

  • nausea and vomiting

  • Strong fragrances from perfumes or colognes can even trigger a migraine

Secondhand Fragrance

In a public place people are sharing what is now being called ‘secondhand fragrance’. This is the combination of harmful chemicals being released into the public air space from air fresheners, cleaning products, scented candles, plus all the products people are wearing (hairstyling products, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, perfume etc). Everyone is involuntarily breathing contaminated air even if they choose to not wear fragranced products.

Dogs have 20 times more scent receptor cells than humans, and the scent-processing section of their brains is much larger than ours. They don’t need synthetic fragrance in their environment either.

Fragrance sensitivity at the workplace

Some employers are becoming aware of this issue, and are accommodating fragrance sensitive people. Some companies have stopped using air fresheners, and use fragrance-free cleaning products in order to minimise fragrance chemicals present in an indoor environment.

BTW Baking Soda is an odour neutraliser.

Synthetic Chemical Fragrance

Up to 95% of synthetic chemicals used to make fragrance recipes are derived from petrochemicals. To make matters worse for the unsuspecting public, many products labeled as ‘unscented’ are actually the fragranced product with the addition of another masking fragrance. Products with the ingredient ‘fragrance’ contain endocrine disruptors called phthalates.

If we think of natural and organic essential oils, Lavender for example, it contains a myriad of natural chemical constituents, around 100, and one of those is linalool. In the entirety of a natural and organic essential oil linalool isn’t usually a problem, however there is also synthetic chemical linalool, an isolated man-made ingredient, which is much more likely to result in a sensitivity. Precious rose essential oil has around 500 individual natural chemical components.

Sure makes it difficult for consumers!

Do your homework, look for certifications and ethical brands that can be trusted. An ethical brand, is also transparent with their complete ingredient list, and will assist you with any ingredient questions.

Sonett sensitive range, free from natural and organic essential oils.

Sonett sensitive range, free from natural and organic essential oils.

Sonett products are free from enzymes, petrochemical surfactants, synthetic chemical fragrances, dyes and preservatives, bleaching agents, optical brighteners, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.

Sonett has a sensitive range which is even free from natural and organic essential oils. There are those who are sensitive to nature’s aromatics as well.

The complete range of Sonett products has been independently certified. The label NCP (Nature Care Product) is, at present, the highest ecological standard for laundry and cleaning products.

Natural and organic essential oils of lemon and lemongrass in Sonett’s laboratory

Natural and organic essential oils of lemon and lemongrass in Sonett’s laboratory

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