Am I Sensitive to My Perfume?

Read time 4 minutes

This blog is another opportunity to feel grateful and thank you dear Universe: You continue to bless me with recovery and overall health.  

Love for my signature fragrances made it a disciplinary ritual to wear them before stepping out and it just felt so right and relaxed. My attention never dwelled deeper on their notes, tones, etc. instead what mattered was the make, the longevity of the aromatic compounds, its mood-lifting quality, and the experience it evoked. Evolutionarily speaking an animal’s sense of smell is its critical survival tool and even for us this sense plays a crucial role in proving its importance from time to time.

We are aware of the ill effects of inhaling harmful substances from the environment such as pollution, exhaust fumes, paint, glues, etc. but how many of us including myself ever thought twice before using our sweet-smelling colognes and perfumes? Do they have harmful chemicals that might be toxic and lead to health problems?

I was scared after coming face to face with this reality. Yes!! It’s not a hidden fact anymore that perfumes carry a number of chemicals (listed and unlisted on the label) and this is not something I want to continue spraying on my body and more so after knowing that my perfume is toxic to the Nervous System. The precaution even got more relevant post getting diagnosed with a rare disease, Isaacs’ Syndrome (a neuromuscular disorder), and subsequently with chronic conditions like Lyme disease, Glaucoma, and Membranous Glomerulonephritis.

It’s a weekend, a getaway for some window shopping, and a day allocated to get my hands on some favoured brands. Do I have the knowledge and am I supposed to know about everything under the sun? or Do I have enough patience to research the chemicals used while buying my perfume? Isn’t it unfortunate that perfume manufacturers are legally not bound to list all their ingredients on the product label?

Until recently even I was unaware that my perfume was typically a chemical mixture when breathed in or came in contact with my skin it caused hidden harmful effects on my neurological state.

I got down studying the subject a little deeper with the following findings:

Our nervous system gets affected when fragrances along with the chemical used enter our body through the skin and permeate the olfactory before reaching our lungs and eventually finding their way to the limbic section of the brain. That’s how the chemicals start to cause all sorts of neurological changes in our blood pressure, mood instability, stress levels, etc. Many causes and symptoms are still unknown. The effect is subtle, and we might not even recognize or get to the root cause of the concern until too much damage is already done due to altering of the brain’s biochemistry.

Studies reveal the presence of toxic chemicals like Acetaldehyde, Musk Ketone, Methylene Chloride, Styrene, Benzaldehyde, Phthalates, Benzyl Acetate, etc present in most perfumes and many of these chemicals are known to cause serious health issues related to the Nervous system, Respiratory, Sinus, Eye & Skin irritation, disturbance in Blood pressure, etc.

Why is it a No-No for My Rare Condition? 

There were various clinical evaluations done which included tests like EEG (which is used to record electrical activity in the brain. It is often prescribed by a neurologist to evaluate the risk of seizures, brain tumor, inflammation of the brain, uncontrolled movements, etc. EEG studies state that fragrances can affect brain and cognitive activities) and EMG (is used to access the health of the motor neurons that control muscles and nerve cells). Doctors’ post confirming my diagnosis was of the opinion that anything that has the magnitude to affect the central nervous system and any potential link to the neurodegenerative disorder should be strictly thrown out of the window. I was constantly complaining of excess fatigue, dizziness, headaches, occasional breathing issues, and fasciculations, and after a thorough evaluation of my symptoms and the support systems my Ayurvedic doctors concluded on a list of dos and don’ts among which not using a perfume or any chemical-based fragrance was a mention.

My Key Takeaways:

I had no option except to let go of my favourite perfume which was a mix of chemicals and shift my preference to using a natural perfume that is plant-based and promises not to use harsh chemicals. 

  • Switched to Organic fragrances made with certified ingredients.
  • Use Perfumes once in a while as too much use could be an overwhelming experience!
  • Not wearing the same perfume every day
  • It’s better to research a bit as ‘Natural’ does not essentially mean ‘Secured.’

The idea of this blog is not to discourage but instead to create awareness and make us careful while purchasing and using our perfumes which might be harmful if used too often or for a prolonged period. Switching to safer brands that promise to use health safety parameters is the way forward.


The views expressed above in this article are the author’s own and do not represent any kind of medical advice.


Why Perfumes Are Toxic: The Hidden Danger of Perfumes 2023 (

Why Go Fragrance Free? – Invisible Disabilities® Association

How Fragrances Affect Your Nervous System – Energy Matters LLC – Rose Boghos

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