Perfume Allergy: Symptoms and What to Do in Case of an Attack

perfume drop

Touching the perfume liquid or material, being sprayed by the perfume, or even inhaling part of it might cause symptoms of a perfume allergy. Although this may seem harmless, it can be problematic when unchecked.

Perfume allergies are caused by approximately 2,500 compounds found in the average perfume or cologne, many of which are not specified. This is no surprise then that 2.5 million Americans have perfume allergies

Most businesses simply label their perfumes as "fragrance" to represent a hundred or more chemical components to protect their trade secrets. As such, it’s vital to carefully read the labels of cosmetics and other products if you have a perfume allergy.

How Is Perfume Allergy Different from Perfume Sensitivity

Allergies and perfume sensitivity are not the same things, and they are not the same thing. Perfume sensitivity, which is a lot more common, is an allergic reaction to something that makes your body hurt. Sensitivity may not always cause the immune system to go into overdrive. It can cause a rash that goes away after a few hours or a slight headache.

Unlike when you have allergies, your body reacts to an ingredient or chemical in the perfume that makes you feel bad. This means that your body sees the perfume ingredient as a foreign object. Then, the body starts to fight off the substance as if it were a bacterial or viral invader.

To better understand perfume allergies, here are common symptoms you need to be aware of and what you must do in case of an allergy attack.

What Are the Common Symptoms of a Perfume Allergy

When you are experiencing an allergic reaction, you will most likely encounter many of these symptoms:

  • Skin: Redness or rash, swelling or hives, or any type of irritation.
  • Eyes: Red, watering, or itchy eyes, swelling of the eyelids, or swelling of the lips.
  • Nose: Sneezing or runny nose, nasal congestion, or nasal itching.
  • Throat: Hoarseness or difficulty with speaking or swallowing.
  • Breathing: Nasal congestion, coughing, or shortness of breath.
  • Heart: Racing or irregular heartbeat, tight feeling in the chest, or a feeling of pressure on the chest.
  • Other: Headache, nausea, or vomiting.

While these symptoms are the most likely ones you will experience, some people might experience others or an entirely different set of symptoms.

The intensity of the symptoms typically depends on the amount of exposure to perfume and your sensitivity level to the allergen.

You can also experience symptoms of more than one of the perfume ingredients. This is why it is essential to read the labels on cosmetics, lotions, hair products, and other products.

How to Spot Harmful Perfumes

To reduce the likelihood of a perfume reaction, avoid perfumes and fragrances that contain a high concentration of potential allergens. Before purchasing a perfume or cologne, check with your dermatologist or allergist and review the ingredients to determine if it contains any you're allergic to.

Moreover, keep away from perfume, even if it is someone else's. If you are around people who wear perfume, ask them to not use it around you. Also, have all clothes and bedding washed and have air purifiers replaced.

What to Do in Case of an Allergic Reaction

First and foremost, if you have an allergic reaction, try to limit your exposure to the perfume or cologne. If you cannot move away from the source of the perfume, you can use water to rinse your eyes and nose. You can also use a tissue to gently wipe your face, mouth, and eyes.

If you’re having an allergic reaction, you need to check your skin to see any redness, swelling, or itching. If you have redness, swelling, or itching, place cool compresses on the affected area to reduce swelling and pain.

Once you already develop a rash, itchiness, or swelling on your skin, you can use an antihistamine cream to relieve the symptoms. A visit to an allergist might also be required, especially if your symptoms are more severe. In this case, an allergist can prescribe you an anti-itching medicine, such as one that contains hydrocortisone.


Allergic reactions can take you from feeling happy to feeling bad in a few moments. Be aware that most perfumes, colognes, and other fragrance products contain allergens that can cause an allergic reaction, so it is crucial to check with your dermatologist or allergist to help you select the right ones for you. It is better to go for natural fragrances that do not contain allergens.

At Alexandria Fragrances, we have a fantastic selection of new fragrances for men and women, all manufactured with high-quality materials that are safe and very affordable. Aside from the Alexandria solid fragrances, we also have luxurious diffuser oils and premium grooming products. Try our sample pack today!

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