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Perfume intolerance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Perfume intolerance or perfume allergy is a condition wherein people exhibit sensitivity or allergic reactions to ingredients in some perfumes and some other fragrances. It is a form of multiple chemical sensitivity, a more general phenomenon for this diagnosis.[1]


Symptoms depend on each person's allergies and each perfume's or fragrance's ingredients. Symptoms may include allergic contact dermatitis, asthma attacks, headaches, and others.[2] The most common allergic reactions to perfume or fragrances added to products is contact dermatitis,[3][4] though other symptoms may occur, including allergic conjunctivitis.[5]

Patch test

The diagnosis of the causal allergen is made by patch testing with a mixture of fragrance ingredients, the fragrance mix. This gives a positive patch-test reaction in about 10% of tested patients with eczema, and the most recent estimates show that 1.7–4.1% of the general population are sensitized to ingredients of the fragrance mix. [citation needed]

Two studies show that inhalant-like allergies and sensitivity/intolerances are experienced by a subset of the US population, in the form of asthma and chemical sensitivities. Results aggregated from both surveys found that 30.5% of the general population[6] reported scented products on others irritating, 19% reported adverse health effects from air fresheners, and 10.9% reported irritation by scented laundry products vented outside.

Household products, such as soaps and detergents, perfume products, cosmetics, and other consumer goods, are estimated to use 2,500 different fragrance ingredients. Of those, approximately 100 different substances are known to elicit responses in at least some individuals. An estimated 1.7–4.1% of the general population shows a contact allergic response to a mix of common perfume ingredients.[7]

Although products can be labeled "fragrance-free", many still contain lesser-known fragrance chemicals that consumers may not recognize.[8]

Cinnamaldehyde (cinnamic aldehyde) is a common fragrance allergen.[3][9]


  1. ^ Sorg, Barbara A. (1999). "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Potential Role for Neural Sensitization". Critical Reviews in Neurobiology. 13 (3): 283–316. doi:10.1615/CritRevNeurobiol.v13.i3.30. PMID 10803638.
  2. ^ Dodson, Robin E.; Nishioka, Marcia; Standley, Laurel J.; Perovich, Laura J.; Brody, Julia Green; Rudel, Ruthann A. (2012). "Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products". Environmental Health Perspectives. 120 (7): 935–943. doi:10.1289/ehp.1104052. PMC 3404651. PMID 22398195.
  3. ^ a b Saiyasombati, Penpan (1995). Mathematical model for predicting percutaneous absorption of fragrance raw materials (PDF) (B.S. in Pharmacy). Chulalongkorn University. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Anne C. Steinemann. "Exposure Assessment: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions". University of Washington. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  5. ^ "Allergies: Nothing to Sneeze At". McKinley Health Center. Archived from the original on June 28, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  6. ^ Caress S. M.; Steinemann A. C. (2009). "Prevalence of fragrance sensitivity in the American population". J. Environ. Health. 71 (7): 46–50. PMID 19326669.
  7. ^ Johansen, Jeanne D (2003). "Fragrance Contact Allergy". American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 4 (11): 789–798. doi:10.2165/00128071-200304110-00006. PMID 14572300. S2CID 13571919.
  8. ^ Scheinman, P (December 2001). "Exposing covert fragrance chemicals". American Journal of Contact Dermatitis. 12 (4): 225–228. doi:10.1053/ajcd.2001.28697. PMID 11753900.
  9. ^ "trans-Cinnamaldehyde". fscimage.fishersci.com. 1998-02-10. Archived from the original on 2020-03-01. Retrieved 2020-03-01.

Further reading[edit]

  • Elberling, J.; Linneberg, A.; Dirksen, A.; Johansen, J. D.; Frolund, L.; Madsen, F.; Nielsen, N. H.; Mosbech, H. (January 2005). "Mucosal symptoms elicited by fragrance products in a population-based sample in relation to atopy and bronchial hyper-reactivity". Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 35 (1): 75–81. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2005.02138.x. PMID 15649270. S2CID 38373933.
  • Kumar, P; Caradonna-Graham, VM; Gupta, S; Cai, X; Rao, PN; Thompson, J (November 1995). "Inhalation challenge effects of perfume scent strips in patients with asthma". Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 75 (5): 429–33. PMID 7583865.