Perfume Gives You a Headache? Here’s What to Do!

Do people often complain that your perfume gives them a headache? Or, perhaps you are the one on the receiving end getting a headache due to other people’s perfume? Regardless of the situation, getting a headache due to a perfume is something that is totally avoidable!

To avoid headache from perfume, identify the perfume that gives you a headache and avoid using it. You can use natural oils as a personal fragrance. If you are sensitive to the perfume of others around you, carry an effective neutralizer and over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen.

Ensure that you make yourself aware of the correct usage, side effects, and precautions that you need to take before consuming ibuprofen.

This article will teach you more about what to do if you have fragrance-related headaches, including how to manage symptoms, deal with the presence of such scents in a close environment, and get rid of perfume headaches. Finally, you will discover the two fragrances that do not cause headaches.

So, let’s get started!

Can Certain Perfumes Give You a Headache?

It might be a bizarre feeling to have a severe migraine triggered by something that is having no apparent effect on others around you. This can cause doubts, and some people even wonder whether their headaches are caused by perfumes in the first place. 

Certain perfumes can give you a headache if you are sensitive to their chemical contents. Such headaches are known as Olfactory Migraines and can be triggered by a variety of fragrances depending on the individual.

So, if you’re experiencing migraine-like symptoms in the presence of a new scent, you should trust your gut feeling and remove yourself from that environment.

For the most part, perfumes have a broad tendency to give headaches if used in a high enough concentration. This happens due to sensory overload and is quite different from the rarer scent-specific migraines one experiences when prone to olfactory migraines.

What Chemical in Perfume Causes Headache?

Since the difference between doze-intensity headaches and scent-specific migraines is that of being allergic to certain chemicals, let’s look at what chemicals are responsible for that annoying perfume headache.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) present in perfumes are known to cause headaches. Some of the most common VOCs used in perfume are limonene, beta-pinene, and ethanol. On average, a perfume contains about 17 VOCs in it.

Furthermore, a research conducted by Carol Potera et al identified that scented products emit a bouquet of VOCs! They tested products that contain fragrances (including perfumes), and noticed that each product emitted 1 to 8 toxic chemicals. Additionally, 44% of the products tested generated at least 1 carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants!

The results obviously sent shockwaves globally and raised questions about the safety and use of fragrances.

What is interesting is that the Consumer Product Safety Commission currently doesn’t require the perfume manufacturers to disclose any ingredients used in making the perfumes! The reason often cited by manufacturers is that the chemical formulation of perfumes should be considered a trade secret.

That said, getting a headache from perfume is not very common. A report on Fragrance Inhalation and Adverse Health Effects concluded that “adverse health effects ranging from headaches to asthma attacks and skin sensitization are uncommon and further epidemiological investigations are necessary to draw any causation relationship.”

To be clear, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a headache from perfume usage. The report just states that it is uncommon and the cause needs further investigation.

Thus, identifying the exact chemical in a perfume that causes a headache is rather difficult as perfumes often contain multiple chemicals that can be considered as potential sources. Not knowing what chemicals are used in a perfume makes the job even more difficult.

Even though it may be difficult to identify the exact chemical in a perfume, isolating the perfume itself that causes the headache can save you a ton of trouble! This can be achieved by a trial and error method of making a note of the specific perfume that you are wearing every time you get a headache. Over time, you may be able to isolate the said perfume.

But sometimes, it isn’t even your own perfume that’s the problem but a fragrance that someone else is wearing, perhaps on an elevator or in the bus or any other closed environment.

Knowing the best practices of getting rid of a perfume migraine comes in handy.

How to Get Rid of Perfume Headaches?

Perfume headaches can occur because of two reasons, and the way you should treat your perfume headache varies accordingly. The following is a general way to deal with such migraines regardless of whether it is triggered by perfume intensity or fragrance contents.

To get rid of perfume headaches, you should get away from the source of the scent, be it another person or a closed space. If you’re wearing said perfume, a quick shower can fix the problem. Consuming an over-the-counter headache medication like ibuprofen can also help if nothing else works.

Whenever you feel like such a headache is about to get severe, try to get into an open-air environment. This works exceptionally well if your headache is being triggered due to the perfume intensity.

In some instances, said headaches could linger, which is why it is essential to know which perfumes can trigger you and avoid them in advance. As mentioned above, most harsh-VOC-containing perfumes can cause such issues.

Tips to Prevent Headache Caused by Perfume Usage

If you love your perfume, but it also causes you minor headaches, you may not want to part ways with it. Below are some tips to avoid getting perfume headaches ranging from moderation to elimination and substitution.

Going with the lowest-impact change is advisable, so you don’t end up overcorrecting. Olfactory migraines vary drastically from person to person, and the intensity of preventive measures you need to take depends on that.

1. Moderation

If your perfume causes headaches only some of the time, chances are your reaction is intensity-driven, and simply using less of the perfume you wear can protect you from such migraines.

Usually, this issue can happen when you switch bottles. Some perfumes have a stronger smell than others, and keeping the number of pumps consistent from a lighter perfume when switching to a stronger one can inadvertently amp up the intensity. 

Try filling a mini atomizer bottle with one-quarter water and the rest with your perfume. If there’s any difference in the intensity of headaches, you may adjust the dilution until you don’t have headaches.

2. Elimination

Going perfume-free can be a great solution if you don’t get along with fragrances, and almost any perfume you pick gives you a headache.

It is strange for me to say this as a perfume and a lifestyle blogger, but your interests are senior to the blog’s theme. If all perfumes give you migraines, simply opt for a fragrant body lotion like French Lavender Honey Lotion by Bath and Body Works, which has a nice unisex smell.

3. Substitution

If your headache isn’t because of your perfume’s intensity, then it is likely because of certain VOCs in your perfume. Opting for harsh-VOC-free fragrances is a straightforward solution that you can try.

Please go forward with this step only if moderation doesn’t work and you don’t want to lather yourself in body lotion to smell good.

2 Perfumes that Won’t Cause a Headache

As mentioned above, substitution can be a very straightforward solution if you’re allergic to harsh VOCs or other chemicals. Simply identifying the chemical and getting a fragrance free of it can help.

Here are two perfumes least likely to cause a headache.

Mixologie – ASSURED (natural) Roll-on

This is a line of roll-on fragrance oils that cater to women. Flavor profiles vary from summer scents to winter fragrances, which accommodations for all seasons and occasions. Click the link in the product title above to view different options available for purchase.

Caldera + Lab The Good Multi-Functional Serum

Positioned as a face serum, this body oil is a rub-able fragrant product that masks body odor effectively while relaxing your appearance and reducing environmental stress. The calming effect of this serum is quite the opposite of the red hot headaches caused by a strong scent, making it a great alternative regardless of the variety of olfactory migraine you experience.

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