Code of Conduct
Results 1 to 28 of 28
  1. #1

    Default Perfume and headache, making science

    Hello everyone,

    Iím a new perfume freak and a resident Neurologist. Iíve seen people comment on these forums about certain fragrances giving them headaches. Triggers for migraine have been studied for some time, but to my knowledge nobody has tried to identify specific perfumes as headache-inducing.

    So, I think it would be great to conduct a study to identify olfactory triggers for headache (migraine or otherwise) and epidemiological factors related to them.

    If any of you has ever had a scent-induced headache, Iíd be very obliged if youíd take the time to answer the following questions and post them bellow. By posting you agree to let me make a statistical analysis of the data (I wonít cite you directly or release your nick). I think this info could be interesting to all perfumistas and might contribute to our knowledge of migraine and other headaches.

    1) Do you regularly have headaches? Has anyone ever diagnosed you as having migraines?
    2) Have you ever had a headache induced by a scent? How do you know the scent was the trigger? (Eg. It happens every time I smell this scent/this note always gives me a headache etc). Has this happened more than once?
    3) Which scents give you headaches? Please note names, houses, individual notes etc. Donít restrict yourself to perfume: if chocolate or gasoline give you headaches, please let me know. But stick to scents: drinking red whine or eating cheese don't count, only if you get the headache by smelling them.
    4) Here are the diagnostic criteria for migraine from the International Headache Society. Do you think your fragrance induced headache was a migraine?
    A. At least five headache attacks lasting 4 - 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated), which has at least two of the four following characteristics:
    1. Unilateral location
    2. Pulsating quality
    3. Moderate or severe intensity (inhibits or prohibits daily activities)
    4. Aggravated by walking stairs or similar routine physical activity
    B. During headache at least one of the two following symptoms occur:
    1. Phonophobia and photophobia
    2. Nausea and/or vomiting
    Migraine with aura (MA) diagnostic criteria
    A. At least two attacks fulfilling with at least three of the following:
    1. One or more fully reversible aura symptoms indicating focal cerebral cortical and/or brain stem functions
    2. At least one aura symptom develops gradually over more than four minutes, or two or more symptoms occur in succession
    3. No aura symptom lasts more than 60 minutes; if more than one aura symptom is present, accepted duration is proportionally increased
    4. Headache follows aura with free interval of at least 60 minutes (it may also simultaneously begin with the aura
    B. At least one of the following aura features establishes a diagnosis of migraine with typical aura:
    1. Homonymous visual disturbance (difficulty seeing on the right or left side)
    2. Unilateral paresthesias and/or numbness (tingling or numbness on one side of body)
    3. Unilateral weakness (weakness on one side of the body)
    4. Aphasia or unclassifiable speech difficulty (speech difficulty, trouble finding words)

    Also, if you're ok with it, it'd be great if you could give me your age and gender. But that's entirely optional.

    Thanks for helping me out with this. I'll make sure I release the results here. Thanks for (hopefully) contributing to the progress of Science

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) Yes, I started having migraines around the age of ten, though I no longer have them on a regular basis.
    2) I can tell because the headache starts setting in immediately after smelling the scent.
    3) Gaultier2 by JPG gave me a godawful migraine that caused me to miss class the day after I tried it. Timbuktu by l'Artisan and Santal by Floris are mildly headachy. The latter 2 don't have a particular note that I recognize as headache-inducing but rather a certain "aura" that I identify as harsh and synthetic. I've experienced this with other fragrances but I can't think of names off the top of my head.
    4) I'd consider my reaction to Gaultier2 as "migraine strength" (I'm a long-time sufferer of migraines), but since I've managed to avoid that fragrance, I can't say that it qualifies under the diagnostic criteria.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Weimar27's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lansdowne Pennsylvania
    Posts
    642
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) Once in a While i do More of a pulsating kind of ache
    2) during the smell of Red Giorgio Beverly Hills that the headaches begin
    3) Red Giorgio Beverly Hills Burberry Brit gives those migraines
    4) It Could be it depends on the notes and the Silage if it has
    more of a green notes migraines if it's more sweet gourmand
    pulsating ones.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Genge,

    I'm thrilled you are considering this project. I suffer from Migraine headaches and fragrances are my biggest trigger. I have been diagnosed by a neurologist. I do not get visual aruas or stroke like symptoms. When I smell certain fragrances, I get a tingling sensation in my head and a migraine is soon to follow. It is usually on one side of my head behind my eye and/or in my temple. I can feel my pulse with stabbing pains in my head, sensitivity to light/sounds and sometimes I get nausea.

    I do not know the specific fragrances or perfumes because I avoid them. I could start asking people what they are wearing and log them. I find that fragrances based on food like vanilla and peppermint don't seem to bother me. Many cleaning products trigger headaches as well. I can use Lysol citrus wipes, and Method peppermint cleaning supplies without fear of headaches.

    I have created a blog about this topic. Please send me a private email if you'd like more info. I'm very happy to help. I'd love for more products to be made without headache causing fragrances.

    I am a female in her 30's.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) I had regular migraines from the age of 10 to 20. After that I'd occasionally get them, but fewer every year. The last time I had a migraine was at age 47.
    2) When I was getting migraines, the smell of petroleum products would set them off, often within minutes. I had to hold my breath when the car was being filled with gasoline, or if our car was following a truck with one of those tubs of steaming asphalt. I tried to be somewhere else when the street in front of our house was being repaved. Although I can tolerate this now, just writing about this gives me a pain in my temple.
    3) As I said, petroleum products such as gasoline, creosote, asphalt.
    4) It was definitely migraine -- severe throbbing, splitting pain on one side of my head, nausea, photophobia. When I got one, everything came to stop -- all I could do was go into a quiet dark room and try to take a nap.

    I'm male, age 61.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    My headaches are usually connected to sinus congestion. Going to certain department stores will give me a headache. Once I leave, it goes away after a few hours. I ended up working at one of those and the headache stopped. My assumption was that the multitude of scents overwhelmed my sinuses and they became inflamed and a headache resulted. Over a short time, my sinuses stopped reacting so strongly. The pain is near my ears and there is a pulsing feeling that can seem to go down my throat. Pain relievers don't help. Cheap pink and yellow roses give me the same headache, but not red ones. I love rose perfume, especially tea rose and Turkish rose scents. Frederic Malle's Outrageous gives me the same headache, but Carnal Flower does not. I think the more aldehydes, the more I'm prone to a headache from perfumes. I think it's an allergic sensitivity in my case.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) I do not have headaches regularly.
    2) MOST of the time I get headaches a couple of minutes after smelling the scent. (perfumes, body sprays, lotions, etc.)
    3)Viva la juicy by Juicy couture. ANY PRODUCT that smells like vanilla, Really sweet smells. Victoria's secret lotions and fragrances, Bath and Body works lotions and sprays. Paris Hilton by Paris Hilton, I'm yours by Guess, Lola by Marc Jacobs, Ms Dior by Dior. etc the list goes on and on, it's only BRIGHT CRYSTALS by VERSACE that DOES NOT give me this "allergic reaction' as I call it.
    4) I don't think mine is a migraine, because the pain is not excruciating. It is a small pounding feeling, almost like a heartbeat in my head, in between my eyebrows and on the temples of my face, it really bothers me but it's not a pain that wouldn't allow me to continue with my everyday activities, I think on a scale from 1-10, I would say my headache is a 6-7.

    I am 19 years old, by the way.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    I remember reading a report about "Gulf War Syndrome," and IIRC the point was made that smelling something similar to a nasty chemical that may have caused it generated a sickening response (perhaps involving cytokines), even though there was nothing toxic about the smell. Thus, it may be that the smell is relative, and can vary from one person to anther, unless a specific ingredient is causing it.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Like Kalynne, I do get headaches after sniffing some perfumes, but they're because of inflamed sinuses due to an allergic reaction to something in the scent. I have to take cetirizine every day for allergies, but even so, I find some perfumes do still bring on a reaction. The worst culprits for me are Youth Dew (Estee Lauder), and Shalimar (Guerlain). I have no idea which ingredient(s) cause this reaction. And I happen to love Youth Dew! I'm OK with the bath oil, though, so there must be something in the perfume that's not in the oil.
    I also get a very bad, immediate reaction from sniffing some essential oils, the worst being cedar in any form. I know I'm allergic to pine resin, so it must be some chemical common to both.

  10. #10
    Basenotes Institution
    Mimi Gardenia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Exactly Where I Should Be
    Posts
    16,346

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Genge- this is great !

    1. Yes to headaches from prepubescence.
    Yes to migraines.
    2. Yes . I can tell it's from the scent immediately . There is that mild throb pain in my head that begins. When the scent hits my senses - it completely overwhelms everything. Sometimes this also causes sinus reactions but the sinus reactions do not always lead to headache. Some scents just go straight to my brain and hurt and they are the same scents.
    3. Coco by Chanel - the entire smell overwhelms me .
    Krigler Pleasure Gardenia - same as above.
    Natori by Natori - same as above.
    ANY air freshener used in bathrooms like Glade etc. Instant lockdown in my head.
    I am not sure which notes in a scent are triggers - it feels like the entire composition of some scents just spark a pain in my head.
    New car smells and stale cigarette smoke in cars ,buses, trains etc cause a headache.
    The smell of Tempurpedic mattresses when new- truly toxic - terrible migraine from that.

    It is not that I cannot use 'heavier' scents- I do and they do not affect me. It is perhaps a certain combination of smells or notes that just trigger my headaches. I have had headaches last up to 3 days moving from the left to the right side and back again.
    Phonophobia , photophobia and when truely bad - nausea, some dizziness . The worst are debilitating - just have to lie in bed in the dark completely still and hope for the best .
    No amount of Ibuprofen helps .
    .
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) Yes, since I was 5-6 years old, also diagnosed with migraines.
    2) The last time when I was 6, but I cannot remember the scent which induced the migraine.
    3) No perfume and no scents ever induced headaches to me, except the aforementioned isolated episode when I was 6.
    4) Same as number 3.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Yes I've been diagnosed with migraine since puberty and went on to develop hemiplegic migraine in pregnancy which has stayed with me. I do get visual disturbances, flashing lights and frosted glass effect.
    Whilst I cannot say scents or smells truly trigger migrainous events association plays a part.
    I once developed migraine at work on an Infectious diseases ward and the qualified aromatherapist did a peppermint inhalation, since then peppermint oil or minted perfumery make me feel nauseous and headachy but don't trigger migraine. Strangely extra strong mints are fine but Polo mints aren't. I'm certain it's only due to association not truly a trigger

  13. #13

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) Do you regularly have headaches? Has anyone ever diagnosed you as having migraines?

    Yes

    2) Have you ever had a headache induced by a scent? How do you know the scent was the trigger? (Eg. It happens every time I smell this scent/this note always gives me a headache etc). Has this happened more than once?

    Yes, all the time. My home is scent free, completely. I have always gotten headaches from strong perfumes, certain chemicals, cigarette smoke etc. I know because when ever I am in contact with strong perfumes I get a headache, the severity determined by length of time in the smell. The amount of perfume makes very little difference. If I don't completely stick my clothes through the wash and shower/ wash hair when I get home if I have been in a room with any perfume at all (including those from washing powders, and air fresheners) I will have a headache the whole of the next day.

    3) Which scents give you headaches? Please note names, houses, individual notes etc. Donít restrict yourself to perfume: if chocolate or gasoline give you headaches, please let me know. But stick to scents: drinking red whine or eating cheese don't count, only if you get the headache by smelling them.

    Daz, Fairy, literally all man made perfume smells, all fabric softeners. I have to use Ecouver zero for clothes, simple shower gel to wash in , or 100% natural soap.

    Essential oils do not trigger headaches and nor do natural smells in nature - for instance a flower.


    4) Here are the diagnostic criteria for migraine from the International Headache Society. Do you think your fragrance induced headache was a migraine?

    A. At least five headache attacks lasting 4 - 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated), which has at least two of the four following characteristics:
    1. Unilateral location
    2. Pulsating quality
    3. Moderate or severe intensity (inhibits or prohibits daily activities)
    4. Aggravated by walking stairs or similar routine physical activity
    B. During headache at least one of the two following symptoms occur:
    1. Phonophobia and photophobia
    2. Nausea and/or vomiting
    Migraine with aura (MA) diagnostic criteria
    A. At least two attacks fulfilling with at least three of the following:
    1. One or more fully reversible aura symptoms indicating focal cerebral cortical and/or brain stem functions
    2. At least one aura symptom develops gradually over more than four minutes, or two or more symptoms occur in succession
    3. No aura symptom lasts more than 60 minutes; if more than one aura symptom is present, accepted duration is proportionally increased
    4. Headache follows aura with free interval of at least 60 minutes (it may also simultaneously begin with the aura
    B. At least one of the following aura features establishes a diagnosis of migraine with typical aura:
    1. Homonymous visual disturbance (difficulty seeing on the right or left side)
    2. Unilateral paresthesias and/or numbness (tingling or numbness on one side of body)
    3. Unilateral weakness (weakness on one side of the body)
    4. Aphasia or unclassifiable speech difficulty (speech difficulty, trouble finding words)

    I don't think I fit these description but the doctor has said it was migraine, I think it is multiple chemical sensitivity as if I put these products on my skin I will also get rashes, eczema and asthma. Because I live a health lifestyle and avoid things I know to cause problems my asthma rarely affects me these days and I don't carry and inhaler.


    Also, if you're ok with it, it'd be great if you could give me your age and gender. But that's entirely optional.

    I'm 35 years old and female.

    Thanks for helping me out with this. I'll make sure I release the results here. Thanks for (hopefully) contributing to the progress of Science[/QUOTE]

    Please let me know the results!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    this would be a really interesting study for someone to undertake! Not sure if this member is active anymore as the post is old. Anyone who has joined up to basenotes for the purpose of commenting on this thread - your input wouldn't be valid anyway, because it is contaminating the population sample.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    I had 'sick headaches' (sinus-like headaches that would make me nauseous/vomit) at age 10-12, but rarely get them now....until an obnoxious child of mine spray cheap, crappy perfume that triggers it! My sister has intense migraines constantly, and is on various medications, and my son also had them for a time while he going through adolescence.
    2) I was absolutely fine and my daughter sprayed 'iu by Coty' and I had an instantaneous throbbing headache (which promoted me to research smells & headaches!)
    3) Certain Vanilla scents by Bath, Body Works also trigger. And the Godawful IU by Coty!
    4) Hard to say: I did feel nauseous and the intense pounding headache was, literally, instantaneous. The moment I smelt it, I had headache and nausea within seconds and left the room immediately. But first I cursed her out! So that would be a severe, pulsating, nauseating headache without aura.
    [/COLOR]
    51 and female (of course!)

  16. #16
    Basenotes Plus
    senore01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    NEW YORK CITY
    Posts
    3,856
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    The only fragrance that actually started to give me a headache was when I over sprayed Narcisco Rodriguez for Him. But, it was my fault for I should have been lighter on the trigger.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    I got headache at any more perfumes or deodorants that are being sprayed around me. I got a major headache when I was 13. That was when my friend sprayed himself for like 5sec and I was standing beside him. BAM. I could barely walk its like I was blacking out every few seconds. Worse come to worse we have to take the stair to go to the lab. I have to take one step at a time and sit down everytime. Eventually we reached the lab and I could barely remember anything. I all know was that I got major headache and had trouble freaking climbing the stairs. I cant even recall my friends who helped me. Its like one second ago you where facing the steps and next seconds you were sitting on a chair... I still get headaches now which is why I try to stay as far as possible from anyone but even the slightest gives me headache.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    I only get headaches if I have overapplied.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    I get headaches induced from scented candles, polo cologne, potpourri, acorn scents displayed during holiday, and any strong perfume or cologne. These scents inhibit my daily activity. I cannot go into candle stores without leaving with a headache. I can identify what co-workers by name that come within a certain radius of me by the overwhelming scent, which induces an immediate headache.
    I am a female age 45.
    I have been diagnosed with migraines-sensitivity to light, numbness on one side of body, vomiting, and fainted.
    Last edited by pamw; 22nd November 2012 at 04:29 AM.

  20. #20

    Cool Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    1) I've suffered from migraines since I was in my early 20's. Various neurologists have tried different combinations of medications but the side-effects have been so bad that I've had to titrate off of them and just stick to avoiding my triggers whenever possible. Unfortunately, that is not a very realistic plan and I wind up with as many as 15 migraine days every month.
    2) I've always been sensitive to strong odors--it seems to be a genetic thing since my relatives react the same way. Within seconds of smelling a trigger scent like car exhaust, cigarette smoke, gasoline, or too-sweet/strong/cloying perfume, I start to feel ill. If I don't remove the scent (or run away fast enough) I'll get a horrible migraine. I've always been sensitive like that, but once I started getting migraines, the result was worse--instead of just feeling a bit ill for a moment, I'd get a horrible migraine that could knock me out for a week. I can handle some scents without having a reaction--I can wear Bvlgari au the Vert regularly without any problems.
    3) The one perfume that is guaranteed to give me a migraine is Angel by Thierry Mugler. Any strong floral like lily or lavender also makes me ill.
    4) I get migraine with aura and it knocks me out--I can't find a dark, quiet room fast enough. The migraines can be extremely painful, but sometimes the other symptoms (nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to all forms of stimulation) are worse than the pain.

  21. #21
    Overcome By Fumes
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    3,258

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Warning: cynical rant ahead.

    Yeah, it doesn't look like Genge is coming back to release the results of this study. He has shown no sign of being on this site since almost two years ago. I'm skeptical of anyone ever coming up with a definitive migraine scent trigger list, as it is obvious from the entries above that everyone is different and some people seem to have many scent triggers, others very few, and some cannot consistently identify any trigger. The ones who can identify triggers for the most part all identify different ones. I suppose if one wants to publish a study, it may be important to strictly classify a headache as a migraine or not by using a set of criteria such as that of the IHS, but I would defy any headache specialist in the world to identify any scent-triggered episodic headache as being anything but a migraine, no matter what the other features may be.

    So what have we learned? Migraines can be triggered by scents (and many other stimuli). If you are prone to migraines, and you identify a scent (or anything else to which you are exposed) as a trigger, you may be able to avoid some migraines by avoiding the trigger thereto. Avoiding exposure to things which may be triggers for other people may or may not have any benefit to you. There may be a benefit to being aware of patterns to your own headaches but knowing other people's headache patterns and triggers has no bearing on your ability to control your headaches.

    Best wishes for complete remission from migraines so you can enjoy (or despise) any fragrance, pain-free!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    I have allergy induced asthma which is mostly caused by Scents. These scents will also give me a big headache & make my throat burn. Anything with Rose scents, gardenias, amonia & alcohol bases. Well, the list goes on. Certain scents don't bother me such as Vanilla musk. Recently a co-worker brought in Cucumber/melon lotion and oh does it trigger a reaction in me. My sinuses start to drain, my throat feels like tonsilitis and my head pounds. Help.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    So sorry - how annoying for you.
    I used to suffer terribly from 'hay fever' (allergic rhinitis) due to problems with naturally occurring allergens in the atmosphere, which is a common problem in this country.
    Do you have issues with these too?

    Mine was helped by anti-histamines, sunglasses & local honey.

    Fortunately, scent has never been an issue for me.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    oh yes, 'hayfever' is terrible. I live in a rural community surrounded by farms & fields. Anti-histamines will work for awhile and then I get immune to them and have to try a different "brand".

  25. #25
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    McLean, NYC, & Bķzios
    Posts
    78,316

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Quote Originally Posted by lpp View Post
    Fortunately, scent has never been an issue for me.
    Same here.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    For those being bothered by allergies this information might be interesting: Aluminiumhydroxid is used in scientific research as an allergy trigger (animal-testing). Aluminiumhydroxid is also standardly added to vaccines.
    Feel free to draw a conclusion.

  27. #27
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Fracas and Deneuve give me big headaches. Too bad since I like them both.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Perfume and headache, making science

    Jovan Musk reformulated gives a huge headache and I also hear voices

Similar Threads

  1. Perfume Science: Proof of Relaxation
    By SculptureOfSoul in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 13th December 2010, 02:52 PM
  2. Article: The Science of Scent at Harrods Perfume Diaries
    By Nick Gilbert in forum Article Comments
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 15th October 2010, 08:44 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •