If you have a physical reaction after coming in contact with perfume or fragrance, you may have an allergy. The average perfume has about 14 chemicals that could trigger an allergic reaction. People with asthma or other respiratory illnesses are more vulnerable to this allergy. Common ingredients found in perfumes or fragrances that can cause a reaction are citronella, oak moss, balsam of Peru and synthetic components. The allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers see common cases of allergy induced asthma and allergic rhinitis, and they can help you navigate through this difficult allergy.
Perfume Allergy Symptoms
- Mild to severe headaches
- Skin irritation (itching and perfume allergy rash)
- Allergic rhinitis
- Breathing difficulties
- Watery and itchy eyes
Most symptoms of a perfume allergy are mild. If you experience sneezing or other mild irritations after coming in contact with perfume or fragrance, you may just have a fragrance sensitivity. A true perfume allergy will involve more serious complications such as asthma. Breathing difficulties can become severe in patients with a perfume allergy. So, a proper diagnosis by a board-certified allergist is necessary to treat symptoms of this condition.
Perfume Allergy Diagnosis
If you believe you have a perfume allergy, an allergist can perform an allergy test to confirm the diagnosis. A perfume allergy patch test can identify your allergy to a specific substance. Our allergy specialists will place the suspected allergen onto a patch and then place the patch on your back. Symptoms can be immediate or delayed, so they will leave the patch on your skin for at least two days.
While wearing the patch, you should avoid extraneous activities that cause excessive sweating. This could skew the results. You should also avoid using cortisone creams on your back before the placement of the patch. Certain cortisones can affect the results. If the results are positive, your doctor can develop a treatment plan for you.
Perfume Allergy Treatment
The best treatment for perfume allergy is avoidance; however, it is impossible to avoid all fragrances. In that case, over the counter allergy medication can treat headaches and allergic rhinitis. You should seek advice from an allergist to determine which treatment will best relieve your symptoms. For breathing problems related to perfume allergy, your doctor or allergist can prescribe you an inhaled corticosteroid.
If you’re allergic to perfume, it is important to educate those around you. When working in an office environment, talk to your coworkers about your allergy and kindly ask them not to spray or wear perfume at work.
Perfume Allergy Frequently Asked Questions
Some people grow out of their perfume allergy or sensitivity, but there isn’t a cure for it. The only way to manage this allergy is by strictly avoiding it and carrying your allergy medication with you.
People are allergic to some of the common ingredients in perfume such as citronella, oak moss, balsam of Peru and other synthetic components. These ingredients have been known to cause skin problems and trigger asthma.
If you experience skin reactions or breathing problems after coming in contact with perfume, you could be allergic to perfume. Contact our allergists for a full allergy panel to determine if you are allergic to perfume or other common allergens.
Perfume allergy is treated with certain allergy medications. Cortisone creams are available over the counter and by prescription to treat your skin condition. For severe breathing problems, ask your doctor about an inhaled corticosteroid.
An allergist can diagnose your perfume allergy with a patch test. However, patch tests are not recommended for those with ongoing skin conditions such as eczema. In this case, you may need a blood test to diagnose the allergy.
People who have seasonal allergies or allergies to indoor allergens like mold and animal allergens may be more likely to develop a perfume allergy.
Many perfume allergies are airborne. This means that an individual can experience an allergic reaction by just being in the same room as perfume.
Perfume allergies don’t cause eczema. However, they can flare the condition. If you suffer from eczema, contact one of our allergists to see if perfume might flare your condition.
Some natural scents such as vanilla and rosemary have been known to cause allergic reactions. If you’re allergic to certain fragrances, natural or synthetic, use unscented products only.
If you are concerned about a perfume allergy, the NYC allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers have access to the latest allergy testing and treatment at our six locations throughout Manhattan and Queens: Murray Hill, Midtown, Upper West Side, Chelsea, Upper East Side, and Glendale. We see both pediatric and adult patients and can accommodate for same day appointments. Call (212) 686-4448 to book your appointment today.