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Have you ever walked into a huge department store on the ground floor? Usually you enter through the perfume department. If you’re “lucky” they’ll be standing there ready to spray you with samples of their wares as you walk in. You can’t help but notice how strong the smells are as you walk through, no matter what you are wearing yourself because you’re coming in from outside and walking into a big blast of the smells. 

If you stay in that section of the department store for a few minutes, the strength of the smell will seem to dissipate, but it hasn’t, its just that you got used to it after a while. Try for yourself, when the smell seems to have gone away, step outside again for a few minutes, and then come in again, see what it smells like. It will be just as strong as the first time you walked in. Perfumes aren’t just smells, they are chemicals in our atmosphere, which can be irritants to some people’s respiratory systems.

For a person who is sensitive to perfume, this sort of thing can be dangerous. Renee is a client of mine who has asthma. When she walks into a place where there is a lot of perfume, she can have an asthma attack. One time, an ambulance had to get her when she was in a bathroom with some young women who were dousing themselves with perfume. You’ve probably noticed signs out there that say don’t wear perfumes in gyms, large public areas, and doctors offices. Its because this problem is becoming more and more common.

In our ever more toxic environment, people wonder why perfumes would cause someone to feel ill. They are intended for pleasure. If you think about all the chemicals in our environment, each of them with a component that gets released into the atmosphere, some of them with a scent, you will notice that there are increasing amounts of them. Our bodies can only take so much exposure to chemicals. Some people are more sensitive to the smells than others, usually those are the people who already have problems with their respiratory system in the form of either allergies or asthma. 

An interesting thing is, that some people who seem to douse themselves with perfume, actually can’t smell themselves. They have the opposite problem which I think is generated from the same thing. Overload of chemicals in their system, made them lose their sense of smell, or become desensitized to them. 


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