When You Finally Find Fragrance Allergy Relief

If you’re allergic to anything, you may understand my story below; and my need to share it with you.

When You Finally Find Fragrance Allergy Relief

First, the back story.

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I was born… just kidding. Not going back that far. But I am going back to the birth of my first born.

24 years ago. Yes. The timeline is relevant.

During my first pregnancy, I had a lot of problems with my kidneys. The doctors couldn’t find any real reason and I was simply told my “kidneys were allergic to the pregnancy.”

Yeah. I don’t know, but twenty-four years ago that’s all I was given as a diagnosis.

It was also during this time, over the course of a variety of medications to help my condition, that I discovered I was allergic to Sulfa.

So, for the past 24 years, when it’s relevant to share, I tell doctors, nurses, random people, that I’m allergic to Sulfa.

allergic to fragrances

Oh, and fragrances too.

That diagnosis came as a fluke while at a MOPS meeting several years ago. 

The other moms were enjoying a Mary Kay makeover and I was not participating. I’ve never worn make-up or been interested in it, so I just observed.

Then I noticed another mom also just observing. I went to talk to her and she mentioned being allergic to fragrances.

As we talked I realized I had similar reactions to things she was describing. I did some research and confirmed, through self-diagnosis, that I, too, had a

fragrance allergy.

finally realized I had a fragrance allergy

It made so much sense!

And, honestly, it literally changed my life when I came to this conclusion.

It explained so much. 

That was a decade ago. 

Today, our home is almost completely fragrance-free. We realized 3 of our 5 children, as well as our granddaughter, have similar sensitivities to fragrances.

Although I’ve never liked candles or chemical aromatherapy products, Colby does. I hate fire, for one, plus the smell always overwhelms me.

We switched to essential oils and all was well.

Our hand soaps, detergent, and cleaning products are all fragrance-free.

We use wool balls infused with drops of essential oils in the dryer so our towels don’t smell like musk.

Everything is established to help the girls and I live a more itch-free life.


Life. Changing.

But this past November, I started itching. A lot. 

itching arm rash due to fragrance allergy

Every night as I climbed into bed, my forearms, wrists, and hands would itch. So bad

My fingers were cracking because they were so dry and itchy. Lotions weren’t working. 

I shower at night, so I was using my soap (Aveeno) to scrub my arms. And I mean SCRUB. My arms were red when I got out.

As an aside, I've always used Aveeno in the past. It seems my allergy has worsened over the years.

But, I was hoping I was washing away any and all allergens. I didn’t want to have a rash on my arms or itch when I climbed into bed.

Alas, as I settled in for the night, I was still itching. It became a nightly ritual and seemed to be getting progressively worse. 

I was losing my mind with the fragrance allergy symptoms.

washing hair with shampoo

Of course, Colby was observing all of this. Watching and wishing he could help with my allergic reaction. Nothing helped.

He began doing his own research and found that most soap products have sulfate in them. 

Y’all! Sulfates. SULFAtes. SULFA!

I’m allergic to Sulfa!

How did we not notice this before?!

24 years! It took us 24 years to make this connection.

We talked to our son, yes, our son, to confirm. He is our go-to expert on cosmetics and, yes, he confirmed, that sulfates could definitely be the culprit.

Therefore, we took him shopping with us and he helped me find a good fragrance allergy shampoo and conditioner without sulfates

He explained the ingredients and told me what to look for when it came to artificial fragrances and how to spot the ones using essential oils.

Plus, he knew exactly which brand he thought would work best: Shea Moisture.

We grabbed a shampoo and conditioner and crossed our fingers.

when you find fragrance allergy relief

Can I tell you that was about two weeks ago and the itching due to my fragrance allergy has almost completely stopped?!

In the shower prior to the new fragrance-free products, as I would wash and condition my hair, my arms, legs, knees, back and feet would itch uncontrollably.

Then I would use the Aveeno to scrub everything off the top layer of my skin at least. Then itch when I got into bed.

Now? There is very minimal itching and primarily just on my wrists. 

And bonus? My naturally curly hair has more volume, is softer, and the curls are tighter, yet bigger!

But, I’m hoping we found a solution for the soap/body wash too.

Just this past week, we found a Shea Moisture body wash! I just started using it, so we’ll see how it goes, but preliminary results are good!

I know. This may seem trivial to some. But, if you have a fragrance allergy, skin sensitivity, or are just looking for a more natural product, I hope you found it useful!

Further notes:

Fragrance allergy symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Skin redness
  • Skin itching and burning
  • Watery, itchy and red eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest tightness

Possible fragrance allergens:

  • Soaps
  • Lotions
  • Fabric softeners
  • Laundry detergents
  • Skin care products
  • Cosmetics
  • Perfumes / Colognes
  • Air freshener
  • Room spray
  • Scented candles
  • Cleaning and deodorizing products

One of my biggest fragrance allergies while in public?

Perfume! Especially in crowd situations where I simply can’t get away.

Some of you really need to learn to scent responsibly so as to not make others around you feel as though their throat is closing. Just a suggestion.