3

votes

Has to be Perfume hell

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 06, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Seriously, this is hell. My mother bathes in perfume, there are baskets with purple perfumed leafy decoration stuff in the living room and dining room , the car has air wick, sprays in the little room,....

And the problem is, this has been so all my life, but I have been getting headaches for a year by smelling it and it really disgusts me to breath this f*cked up air in. And to make it even better, my parents only care about a room being warm (like a sauna) and don't ventilate much because of the warmth going out. So in the morning/evening and after they shower, I enter a bathroom that smells really damp/perfumed and can go through as a sauna, forcing me to open windows immediately or I get a headache within seconds. This of course results in discussions about the costs, their precious warmth, etcetera....

Does this sound familiar to someone? Do you became more sensitive to a damp room, perfume and heath? And how do you handle it when it becomes too much? Because there's no smell that beats the smell of a fresh and ventilated room in my opinion.

Dbbc316ff61d1204d89b080d1c4e09ee

(88)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:52 PM

What Dragonfly said.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 07, 2012
at 12:48 PM

I played in an orchestra for years and the rule always was NO perfume on concert night because it could adversely affect the wind players.

4ccf5d9bba64e54fc95802fe8ae33c47

(900)

on April 06, 2012
at 07:45 PM

Maybe start here http://greenlivingqa.com/category/qa-categories/air-indoor , most or even all people in her Q & A section are sensitive to fragrances or even have full blown MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity).

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Yes, you aren't alone, but I disagree that it is unusual. Chemical sensitivity is becoming much more common. I meet people all the time with problems with it. For some people it is mild and they feel slightly sick when around someone wearing strong perfume or in locker rooms when someone sprays hair spray. Other people, like Nance described above, are strongly affected and cannot tolerate any fragrances or chemical odors. I have had to be reseated at many restaurants and theaters because I sat next to someone with too much hairspray or perfume on. Hope you find a good answer.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:37 PM

Is this a learned behaviou- did your grandparents do this as well? Maybe you can find a nice way to point out that those sprays actually draw more attention to whatever they are trying to cover... The sound of the spray also advertises to anyone within earshot that the bathroom trip was a success! If you are gentle, and use humor I think you can help get her past this over time; really gauge how she is reacting to what you are saying based on her facial expressions and remarks. Push gently, not too hard at once. Good luck! :)

956bcad1d462d433a4e1e22f6e3355d5

(1191)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:28 PM

No, I can't talk to her about it. She will take this personally (she does that with almost everything) and will go in defense mode immediately. I guess it will remain a battle between me opening windows and she arguing it's getting to cold

956bcad1d462d433a4e1e22f6e3355d5

(1191)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:24 PM

She sure is a scent masker. She'll put layer over layer over layer as long as the only thing she smells after is a "good" odor while I'll enter that same room and be overwhelmed by smelling al those layers together. Let's say someone goes to the little room and it smells afterwards, she would use a spray and consider it fixed. If I enter that same room afterwards, I smell both odors and neither pleases me. I just open a window and enjoy the freshness.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:20 PM

I wish I could do that! Your bowls :O would drive me right out of your house. :-))

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 06, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Yes! You aren't alone, but we are very unusual. I can not go near the candle/scent area of any store. In the homes of others, my sneezing and watery eyes make the point and those who like/love me cannot fail to realize something is wrong. I still remember the year someone brought a live wreath, including juniper berries, into the office. I didn't say a word, but my sneezing/hacking/gasping resulted in the wreath being removed and no one I worked with ever brought another. Nor did anyone within 3 rows of cubicles bring candles, etc. I felt bad about it, really, but what can you do?

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9 Answers

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8
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 06, 2012
at 07:23 PM

I'm right there with you. It isn't in your head. I suspect what you are reacting to in the bathroom is a double whammy of mold/mildew and the air fresheners, both make me ill. It might help to explain to your mom that windows or at the very least ventilation fans need to be turned on in bathrooms to prevent the growth of mold for at least 1/2 hour after each shower. Mold can make everyone in the house ill, you're just unlucky enough to be the "canary in the coal mine" here to warn the rest of the family. I'm sure your mom will say there is no mold because the room is clean, but it can build up in the wall boards where you can't see it if the room stays damp.

I've been on a mission for many years to sabotage chemical air fresheners whenever I encounter them. If I've been in your house, I've unplugged your Glade plug-ins when you weren't looking. You are welcome!

Here's a link that talks about the dangers of air fresheners if your mom doesn't believe you: http://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/newsletter/11-21_NovemberNews02.html

If you have a little extra cash, I would strongly recommend buying a HEPA air filter so there isn't as much that needs to be covered up by perfumes, plus you'll get cleaner air without losing heat from the house. House plants are also good.

Next, it is honesty and gift time. Let her know that some of the chemicals that smell good to her are making you sick, and that she doesn't need to stop using scents if she likes them, but they need to be natural. Put together a gift basket of pretty things scented with essential oils, there are also bathroom sprays with essential oils if she hooked on spraying. It is far easier to change the products than to change the habits. You can make some really pretty potpourris using Rio rock salts, food coloring, and essential oils. I made a bunch of it for Christmas presents with orange oil and a little orange food coloring, and put it in pretty jars with lids so the dose could be rationed. They have gotten nothing but rave reviews, and I hope displaced some chemical nastiness.

6
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on April 06, 2012
at 05:59 PM

As one who used to bath in perfume and have plug in air fresheners all over the house I now am very chemically sensitive and literally cannot be near the air freshener or cleaning products aisles at the store or I get a crushing feeling in my chest and feel sick to my stomach. I used to think this stuff smelled good so I get that people like it. It wasn't until it made me sick that I really understood how toxic the stuff was.

Can you talk to your mom about it and let her know it's making you sick? Maybe you can help her come up with some more natural alternatives using natural essential oils? There are tons of products like that that could be a happy compromise. Or you can make your own. I keep bowls of dried citrus and cinnamon sticks around and refresh them with essential oils. During the cold months I will keep mulling spice simmering on the stove and it makes the house smell wonderful. You can have a scented home that isn't toxic and won't make anyone sick.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:20 PM

I wish I could do that! Your bowls :O would drive me right out of your house. :-))

956bcad1d462d433a4e1e22f6e3355d5

(1191)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:28 PM

No, I can't talk to her about it. She will take this personally (she does that with almost everything) and will go in defense mode immediately. I guess it will remain a battle between me opening windows and she arguing it's getting to cold

5
65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:08 PM

A coworker of mine who has become a close friend is very allergic to fragrance. Her skin becomes inflamed, her eyes water and she has a hard time breathing. It's now office policy not to wear fragrance, but often when new people are hired they are not told right away. I've made it a point to welcome these people with a big smile, a handshake, a compliment on their fragrance and then mention that a few people are very sensitive, so we are all mindful of the products we use and avoid strong perfume. I crack a joke about saving money and using it liberally on weekends. (truth is I prefer natural oils but my preferences are unimportant during these chats!)

Might I suggest: asking your mom if she would allow you to update the bathroom and living room decorations... Choose stones or wood, dried flowers with no scents or even some fresh potted herbs. You can probably put these together for very little money using dollar store items, or things found outside. The car is a bit tougher- there are products that remove odor without adding fragrance.

Have you ever asked why she liked fragrance so much? Is it the fragrance she likes, or is she psychologically masking other scents? This might be a subject to tread very lightly around, because often people associate scent with cleanliness. Be very gentle as you ask questions.

When you live at home, the temperature is kinda something you have to live with. You may be able to nudge the thermostat down at night when everyone goes to bed, but this might be an ongoing battle.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:37 PM

Is this a learned behaviou- did your grandparents do this as well? Maybe you can find a nice way to point out that those sprays actually draw more attention to whatever they are trying to cover... The sound of the spray also advertises to anyone within earshot that the bathroom trip was a success! If you are gentle, and use humor I think you can help get her past this over time; really gauge how she is reacting to what you are saying based on her facial expressions and remarks. Push gently, not too hard at once. Good luck! :)

956bcad1d462d433a4e1e22f6e3355d5

(1191)

on April 06, 2012
at 06:24 PM

She sure is a scent masker. She'll put layer over layer over layer as long as the only thing she smells after is a "good" odor while I'll enter that same room and be overwhelmed by smelling al those layers together. Let's say someone goes to the little room and it smells afterwards, she would use a spray and consider it fixed. If I enter that same room afterwards, I smell both odors and neither pleases me. I just open a window and enjoy the freshness.

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on April 07, 2012
at 01:46 AM

Sounds like it's time to move out.

Dbbc316ff61d1204d89b080d1c4e09ee

(88)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:52 PM

What Dragonfly said.

3
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 06, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Here's a story told to me by a friend... (just so you know it's scientifically documented.) Her son had a couple of rats in a cage in his room. He was bad about cleaning out their cage. One day she told him he had to clean the cage or he couldn't go to a ball game or some other thing (I can't remember the reward, just that he was motivated to clean). Well, he decided that instead of actually cleaning the cage, he'd spray it with air freshener. The next morning the rats were dead.

2
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 07, 2012
at 12:54 AM

God, I feel you. The WORST. The other day someone just started spraying perfume on themselves in the library. I would have thought that would be frowned upon by all members of society at this point. Triggered a full on migraine, had to go home and lie down in a dark room for three hours before I felt well enough to stand up.

Best part of working in the hospital is their STRICT (as in go-take-a-shower-and-borrow-a-change-of-clothes-before-you-even-think-about-starting-your-shift) policy on no perfume. Bugs so many of the patients, it just isn't tolerated whatsoever.

2
4ccf5d9bba64e54fc95802fe8ae33c47

(900)

on April 06, 2012
at 07:30 PM

You are most certainly not alone!!! And these chemical sensitivities grow in numbers due to more and more use of toxins everywhere, and they can suddenly occur in oneself at a younger or older age (this happened to me, I was around 30 at the time). Paleo diet has helped me greatly with it, instead of getting sick when a neighbor is drying their laundry with dryer sheets I now just notice the smell, feel annoyed, and close the window.

And I thank God on my knees that I live with two cats who are equally sensitive instead of perfumed humans.

The only advice I can give you is here in the USA the #1 address for fragrance and/or chemical sensitivity, how toxic synthetic fragrances are, and how to deal with family, neighbors, the government, big industry, etc. is http://debralynndadd.com/

She charges for personal consultations but I'm sure if you go through her website you will find some good information and maybe advice here and there. And maybe buy her book "Home Safe HOme" and give it to your Mom for her Birthday?!

4ccf5d9bba64e54fc95802fe8ae33c47

(900)

on April 06, 2012
at 07:45 PM

Maybe start here http://greenlivingqa.com/category/qa-categories/air-indoor , most or even all people in her Q & A section are sensitive to fragrances or even have full blown MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity).

2
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 06, 2012
at 05:52 PM

That sure as heck sounds familiar to me.

While heat or cool is a personal preference usually (mine is cool), I get ill around strong perfume -- and it's only perfume, not incense or other strong smells.

I've even asked to be reseated at restaurants when next to someone that was overly perfumed.

1
7eba3d743671649c1e06cacce0ba4e77

(1423)

on April 23, 2012
at 11:28 PM

You can buy one of those diffusers used for aromatherapy, you just fill it with some essential oils you like and plug it in I think. It doesn't cost much either($7-$60 depending on how fancy you want to get). Iherb has some for cheap.

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