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Mums, Perfume and Eczema

You know I have eczema, right? Well I do control it very well and for the most part, I have pretty good skin. However, for anyone with eczema, sometimes things happen that are out of your control and it can set off a little eczema flare-up; here’s a little story for you about perfume.


A few months ago I went to the cinema with my husband.  I sat down and immediately realised that the woman to my left was wearing a lot of perfume. I really dislike perfume (ever since my sense of smell went into overdrive when I was pregnant 10 years ago). But as well as disliking it, I have to avoid for eczema reasons. Crammed into the cinema seat next to Mrs Perfume, there wasn’t a great deal I could do. I suppose if I wasn’t English, I would have just asked to move. But hey ho. I tried not to think about it whilst I watched the film. As the evening wore on, the left side of my face started to tingle, then itch. By the next morning I had a full-on eczema occurrence on my left cheek. It took me about 6 weeks to get it under control.

Bottle on blue background

Purple Perfume Bottle

So to recap – just sitting in the vicinity of (not touching) some perfume for two hours gave me 6 weeks of eczema on my face. Now imagine you have eczema and you wear perfume, think about what you are doing to your skin every day ….. but worse still (and some of you are going to hate me for this) imagine you are a small child with eczema and your mum wears perfume. And you have no idea that is making your skin sore, and your mum doesn’t know either, but every day, she is aggravating your eczema just by being near you, and cuddling you, reading to you on the sofa, sitting in the car with you.


When mums ask me for eczema advice, I try to give as much information as possible about washing powders (avoid perfumed ones), diet, allergy testing, supplements etc. and I now always refer to my eczema book. But I do find it really hard to tell mums to their faces that the perfume I can smell on them is probably making their child’s eczema worse; that’s a hard thing to say and a hard thing to hear, if you are the mum. I did mention it to a woman once, she was in her car, and wound the window down to ask me something, and the perfume smell was overwhelming. Her child was sat in his car seat in the back scratching away at his sore skin.  She wasn’t happy with me and I have no idea if she took my advice.  I didn’t hear from her again.


I know it’s lovely to wear perfume, it makes you feel good. But in actual fact once your nose has been smelling the same smell for 20 minutes, it stops sending the message to your brain so the chances are, after 20 minutes of putting your perfume on, you won’t be able to smell it anyway. However, the affects it might be having on skin will continue for the entire day.


The same can be said for household perfume products/air fresheners, they are no friend to skin, and is some cases can be bad for our overall health – but that’s a whole different blog I’ll write another day!


So mums, hate me if you want, but if your child has eczema, I’m really sorry but in my opinion, this is something you need to think about. Can you avoid wearing perfume whilst with your kids and save it for special occasions? Or is there another solution you can think of? I won’t say any of this to your face, but I hope you read this and think about your own perfume and beauty product habits when you are in close contact with your child’s skin. You don’t have to take my word for it, I’m only writing about my own run-ins with perfume. But you could always Google “perfume and eczema” and try to understand a bit more about it. I found this article quite interesting: , here’s a quote from it:

“You may also need to ask your friends, spouse or partner, and co-workers to avoid wearing or using heavily-fragranced products around you to prevent your allergy symptoms.”


I’ll leave it with you.


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