If you’re like me and suffer from chronic sinus problems and seasonal allergies (…and for me, it’s all of the seasons—not just the spring) or have sensitive skin, you know that finding a signature scent that doesn’t cause a rash or make you feel straight-up sick can feel downright impossible. We’ve all been there: when you walk past someone who is wearing an obscene amount of perfume, the lingering whiff that follows their every move is utterly unbearable. And while this type of “encounter” can be obnoxious for anyone to deal with (especially if there’s a repeat offender at your office) it can actually make some people physically sick.
According to one study, nearly 30 percent who were polled reported sensitivity to fragrances. Many popular perfumes and colognes are chock full of harsh and allergy-irritating chemicals that can actually function as neurotoxins when absorbed through the skin’s pores. And sure, while this isn’t exactly healthy for anyone, it’s even more troubling for those who suffer from chronic allergies and sensitive skin.
Allergic reactions to fragrances are actually classified as “irritants,” rather than “allergens” (allergens would indicate the release of histamine inside the body). Fragrances can not only cause external skin rashes and hives, but they can also trigger a histamine-release response as well. A histamine-response basically usually comes in the form of a sneeze attack, incessant sniffles and downright feeling awful, as a means of our body attempting to attack the perceived threat. Some of the most common signs of an allergy to perfume include sneezing, headaches, difficulty breathing, stuffy or runny nose, while often times topical symptoms like redness, bumps, and rashes can form as a result.
If you do have this sensitivity to fragrance, opting for a formula free of common allergy-triggers like phthalates, parabens and sulfates will help reduce the risk of getting a rash or sparking an allergy flare-up. Fortunately, there are now plenty of clean and all-natural fragrances available. Here are some of my personal favorite perfumes that smell amazing, but won’t make you feel sick or itchy.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
STYLECASTER’s mantra is ‘Style To The People’— and our mission is to be an accessible, inclusive, ahead-of-the-trend destination for millennial and Gen Z women who want to live with style and substance. Our fashion, beauty and lifestyle coverage is equal parts informative and inspiring, and at once aspirational yet attainable. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.
1. CLEAN Eau de Parfum Spray
This warm, cotton-scented perfume is free of common allergy-inducing irritants, including sulfate, propylene glycol, dyes, talc, and mineral oil.
2. Lavanila Pure Vanilla The Healthy Fragrance
This sweet and musky vanilla fragrance is infused with notes of pure Madagascar vanilla and creamy tonka bean and is infused with skin-loving vitamins. The animal-friendly formula also doesn’t contain unnatural and allergy-triggering additives.
3. Mixologie Assured Roller Perfume
This TSA-friendly roller bar perfume exudes a seductive scent featuring notes of patchouli, sandalwood, amber, musk, and vetiver. This alcohol and the irritant-free formula is also super long-lasting without smelling overpowering.
4. KORRES Vanilla Freesia Lychee Eau de Toilette
This natural scent comes together with notes of rich vanilla and sweet lychee. It’s formulated without PCM Compounds, Nitro Musks, or Phthalates, making it safe for those with fragrance sensitivities and allergies.
5. Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Spray Perfume
This non-toxic and all-natural scent is formulated with essential oils and is infused with rich notes of coconut, vanilla, and vetiver. The paraben-free and non-toxic formula is also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.