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  1. #1

    Default Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    A few days ago I decided to test one of my sample scents from Aedes & had a really bad reaction to it!! I knew it was a strong one so I only used one dab on my left arm. In less than a minute I had red blotches starting to appear & my arm was itchy & swelling. Then the sneezing started & my sinuses closed up. When I began wheezing I knew it was big time for an antihistamine. Talk about a scrubber!!

    But seriously, I've used perfume for years & never had this happen to me before.

    Any ideas how I can figure out what note might have caused this?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Sorry to hear of your reaction. Finding out an allergen in a perfume (or an allergen in general) is very difficult because perfumes can contain hundreds of molecules. An allergologist can design a skin patch test with a couple dozen molecules to see if one can identify a family, but often, it is quite hard also for the allergologist.

    What was the offending perfume?

    Half joking: if the offending material was natural, IFRA will pay you so that they can ban yet another essence. If it was a patented synth on which one of the aromachemical companies makes $$$, you'd better be silent or they'll shut you up.

    cacio

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Sure don't want to go there with more bans! Actually, how much would they pay me??

    No need to out the offender, as it's very popular & I expected to love it. As they say "It's not you, it's me".
    Will pm you in case you have any ideas

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Genie that sounds a full on allergy, see your Dr, you may need an Epipen in case you inadvertently breathe in the offending molecule

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Just out of curiosity...are you allergic to latex?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alityke View Post
    Genie that sounds a full on allergy, see your Dr, you may need an Epipen in case you inadvertently breathe in the offending molecule
    That's a very good idea Alityke & I made an appointment to see the Dr. next week! I've had allergies for years but never such a fast, intense reaction. Don't want that to ever happen again, but at least I'd be prepared. My known allergies are mostly grasses, trees & weeds. (Could be the reason why I'm not fond of strong green notes) But also a few long named chemicals that are "widely used in perfumes & cosmetics". Of course, I'll never know where those lurk ahead of time!

    Sadly, the offending perfume is Portrait of a Lady. I'm still not sure what the offending component is but I strongly sense that it's patchouli. That was the only note I detected in the sample, as it overpowered everything else. Also, I was looking at some candles at the health food store today & got that sneezy feeling from the patch scented one.

    Possum-Pie, Never had a reaction to latex.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Wow, sorry to hear Genie Jeanie! Never tried that one but sorry that happened!
    "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Proverbs.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    This is really topical for me, as I'm currently undergoing patch tests for allergens. The allergist tested 67 substances in patches on my back, and next Monday I'll get a final reading. Some frag ingredients were among them. The interesting thing so far is that I'm not reacting badly to any actual fragrance chemicals. Nothing has come up on any of the test sites, although I won't get the final results until Monday.

    What this means, apparently, is that I'm not actually allergic to anything in frags, but some of the ingredients act as irritants for contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is every bit as annoying as a skin allergy, and produces an itchy rash with little red bumps which eventually turn into blisters. In my case, the offending substances also aggravate my dormant eczema. But it's really, really hard to figure out which actual ingredients cause the reactions, because there are more than 4,000 possible irritants out there!

    The frags which cause me the worst reactions are not the mainstream cheapies or brand scents, but the more expensive niche frags. I suspect this means that the substances to which I'm reacting are more likely to be natural, high quality ingredients. And Genie Jeanie and others, this could be happening to you!

    Of course, the obvious solution is to spray the perfume on to fabric instead of skin, which is what I do now with my treasured niche "baddies", but this does alter the character of the frag, making it more linear. I wish there was more information out there on possible frag irritants, so those of us who suffer could learn what to avoid. But then, would the offenders even be listed on the bottles? I doubt it.
    Last edited by redrose; 19th October 2012 at 09:33 AM. Reason: omitted key word

  9. #9

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    @Genie Jeanie sorry that happened to you! I had that same reaction a few years ago and then I began on the path of discovering more about triggers, the cause behind my allergies, what to do with my perfumes etc. A few years later I can wear and enjoy perfume on outer clothes and blotters and even work with perfume ingredients on a daily basis! So it is not a death sentence

    @red rose, good to hear you are getting tested. Did you find out what other allergies you have other than the perfume ingredients? I was just reading a paper on toxicology last week and found out that it is not the allergic outer reaction that is most distressing, but the sensitization. That occurs like a 'build up' reaction to many different factors and can happen later than the initial contact with the allergen. It is an immunological reaction and that can make symptoms much worse over time. That's why one would need special medication and an Epipen etc.

    The sensitization issue is what actually drives the RIFM, IFRA and EU to restrict certain materials, because of the avalanche effect. Especially if you have a genetic predisposition for eczema, asthma or other allergies. The upcoming legislation will lead to more transparency, including a law that dictates that many more natural extracts will need to be disclosed on the label of a fragrance containing them.
    Customized consultancy on perfume formulation, safety, training and marketing & olfactory research
    I also offer individual online personalised advice on perfume making to anyone eager to learn how to smell and design like a pro
    www.irinatudor.nl

    Social platform & research network on all things smelly, daily smelly science twitter feed @SomethingSmelly
    www.somethingsmelly.com


    The facts on IFRA restrictions & EU regulations

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Thank you, Irina - your comments are very helpful. I don't seem to be actually allergic to anything much so far except for PPD and related substances. Nothing in frags. But my skin is super-sensitive - Type One Fitzsomethingorother, which the derm called typical Celtic skin. I have rosacea and multiple eczema sites. So I will just have to take extra care and vet everything I put on my skin, including my frags. The buildup reaction has already happened with the PPD (when I used to colour my hair), and I know I can never go back to hairdyes now. Still waiting on test results re frags.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Quote Originally Posted by redrose View Post
    Thank you, Irina - your comments are very helpful. I don't seem to be actually allergic to anything much so far except for PPD and related substances. Nothing in frags. But my skin is super-sensitive - Type One Fitzsomethingorother, which the derm called typical Celtic skin. I have rosacea and multiple eczema sites. So I will just have to take extra care and vet everything I put on my skin, including my frags. The buildup reaction has already happened with the PPD (when I used to colour my hair), and I know I can never go back to hairdyes now. Still waiting on test results re frags.
    If you need any practical tips on enjoying frags while minimizing risks, please drop me a pm, I have worked out a whole system
    It is certainly possible to still keep the joy and happiness that lovely smells give in your life, even when being 'immunologically challenged'
    Customized consultancy on perfume formulation, safety, training and marketing & olfactory research
    I also offer individual online personalised advice on perfume making to anyone eager to learn how to smell and design like a pro
    www.irinatudor.nl

    Social platform & research network on all things smelly, daily smelly science twitter feed @SomethingSmelly
    www.somethingsmelly.com


    The facts on IFRA restrictions & EU regulations

  12. #12

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    Well, I see I'm not alone here! Not a happy club to be in though.

    redrose, Good luck with your skin test! That was one miserable experience for me. Five days of being taped up with irritating substances was torture. Most of the patches were related to pollens, trees, molds etc., but there were some cosmetic ingredients in the mix as well. I predictably reacted to almost all of the trees & pollens but to a couple of the cosmetic ingredients as well which was surprising to me. I'd never noticed a reaction to anything topical before. Let us know how it turns out, ok?

    Irina, You have some great info for those with sensitive skin!! Unfortunately, when I find something so irritating I have to eliminate it completely. The skin reaction was mild compared to the other symptoms it induced. Inhaling the perfume turned out to be the biggest problem & I think I was heading toward anaphylaxis. When your breathing is compromised it's quite a scary event! Thank goodness I had some strong antihistamines to take & obtaining that Epipen is a must for me.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    @Genie Jeanie, I remember the torture *hug*
    The most important thing is to get to know the triggers and one of the best practical advices I received and try to pass onto other sufferers is to avoid sprays. Dabbing (or using a roll on applicator) is a less invasive option. Obviously not on skin and only on the clothes that are least likely to touch skin (I personally like to apply on the seams of clothes, also handy for stainy frags). For a while I also wore a perfume locket, but then it turned out I'm also allergic to many metals so I can only wear very specific jewelry, which got too complicated so I gave up wearing jewelry all together.
    Last edited by Irina; 20th October 2012 at 09:45 AM.
    Customized consultancy on perfume formulation, safety, training and marketing & olfactory research
    I also offer individual online personalised advice on perfume making to anyone eager to learn how to smell and design like a pro
    www.irinatudor.nl

    Social platform & research network on all things smelly, daily smelly science twitter feed @SomethingSmelly
    www.somethingsmelly.com


    The facts on IFRA restrictions & EU regulations

  14. #14

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    I've had a couple bad reactions... eczema one time and a reaction that felt like strep throat another time.

    I still love frags but I'm wary of them, they are a minefield of synthetic chems that you may or may not be ok with. POL for one has a big dose of Iso E Super, which I avoid entirely as it causes the sensitization that was mentioned earlier. Frags are not worth it if they cause you chemical sensitization, which could lead to intolerance of many common chems you never had a problem with before.

    Over time I have sampled many frags and keep around several mainstream frags, but honestly I'm much more into 100% natural frags these days. It is true you may be allergic to natural ingredients too, but these generally don't lead to chemical sensitization, but I'm sure there's exception there too.

    It's nice if you have no problems at all like most people, but if you do I think there are some major issues with modern synthetic frags in general... and IMO it's not worth risking your health.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Wow - big allergic reaction!!

    My test results are in, and the good news is that I don't have any actual fragrance allergies. The bad news, though, is that I have irritant contact dermatitis. And there are more than 4,000 ingredients that could cause it, so they can't test for them all. I will have to wear the frags I know cause eczema or dermatitis only on fabric, and patch test every new sample or FB before spraying it liberally. Even frags I know and love, and am re-ordering, will need to be tested because of reformulations.

    In a way, I now - very reluctantly - sort of appreciate why IFRA is being so hyper-cautious. I guess their concern is really more that customers could sue perfumers if they get a bad reaction. But I still don't see why labeling couldn't take the place of an outright ban. It makes no sense to me to ban something which causes a reaction on a minority of people. Take peanuts - everyone probably knows someone with a nut allergy, but peanuts aren't banned, just signalled with a warning label. Frags should be labeled the same - and anyone with allergy problems to anything at all can simply patch test themselves.

    My own case is not life-threatening. Irritant contact dermatitis, annoying as it is, won't kill me, just makes life very unpleasant for a few days until the cetirizine and creams kick in! I blame my father. He's Irish, and apparently Celtic skin is the very worst for bad reactions. Too bad I inherited that, and not his gift of the gab!
    Last edited by redrose; 25th October 2012 at 10:11 AM. Reason: typo

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