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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Scent

At this time of year, the stores are filled with beautiful scented candles reminiscent of pumpkin pie, crackling fires and cozy sweaters just brought in fresh from the line.

When did it become offensive for our homes to smell like, well, our homes? What horrible odor are we trying to mask by burning scented candles, plugging in a little oil filled dispenser into an outlet, or spraying cans of scent throughout our home? We can't all have wet dogs or have been filleting fish.

As well, I think at this present time, most of us bath on a regular basis. We all have access to deodorant and antiperspirant. It is doubtful that many of us stink. However, there are isles filled with perfume, cologne, body spray, the dreaded Axe for men. Why are we masking our own inoffensive scent?

When you launder your clothes, you are cleaning them of any dirt or nasty smells that may have accumulated on them. Why then, do you need to add more scent to your freshly washed clothing in the form of dryer sheets, liquid detergent, or softener? Isn't being clean and free from noxious smells enough?

I wouldn't have been writing these words twenty-five years ago. I enjoyed wearing perfume. I had a selection of day time and evening scents. I burned scented candles. I even enjoyed little glass dishes of potpourri and I burned incense. I didn't know it might cause someone problems.

But then my body, or should I say my respiratory system, turned on me. I often deal with sinus issues and had a cough that literally did not go away for two and a half years which was so severe I would tear the cartilage between my ribs from coughing so hard. I had allergy tests, breathing tests, saw an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor... but the bottom line turned out that I am incredibly scent sensitive. Just being in the same room as someone who is wearing scent gives me immediate nose and throat effects.

Yesterday I was doing my usual weekend grocery shopping. I ended up in an isle with a gentleman who, I swear, went swimming in cologne prior to coming to buy his groceries. Even after he left to go down another isle, the smell lingered in the air. As I continued with my shopping, I was essentially following him and dying in the process. My nose started to fill up and irritate down the back of my throat which led to coughing and further congestion.



I have asked my coworkers to refrain from wearing scent. Most comply, some do not. I was trying to find a dress to wear to a wedding this December (again!) and was in a department store. The dress area was next to the cosmetics and fragrances. It was unbearable. Someone must have sprayed something to entice people to come and make a purchase, or perhaps a customer was trying a new perfume. I literally used my long hair as a filter, breathing through it so I could continue looking at the clothes (no, I didn't find a dress).

About a week ago, as I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work in the morning, the DJ was talking about a recent study that said that wearing Axe makes a man more desirable to a woman. For those of you who do not know, Axe is a brand of body spray, deodorants, shampoos, etc. for men, and more specifically young men or teenagers. It is strong. Overpowering, even. I cringed when I heard that. Just what we need. Even more men who will coat themselves in scent in the age old quest to attract a mate.

I wanted to be able to pull this man in the grocery store aside and let him know he was trying too hard. Or perhaps he had lost his sense of smell and did not realize there was a cloud of scent surrounding him everywhere he went. I wanted to say, "A little dab'll do you!" Better yet, just smell fresh and clean. That's a good thing, being fresh and clean.

I don't think we will ever go back to an unscented world. Nature is full of beautiful scents with some of my favourites being lilacs, peonies, lime, and that camping smell of earth, pine, and wood smoke. Concerning the unnatural, human manufactured scents, it's big money. If you convince people that their homes, cars, hair, babies, dogs, clothing, and bodies require additional sweetening up, the consumer possibilities are endless!

However, I often feel that we, or our future generations, will discover that all of these chemical scents are messing with us somehow. If I cough and hack and get a sinus headache because someone has lit a "Harvest Kitchen" candle, surely there are others who suffer similarly. I make a point of purchasing unscented products like laundry detergent. I wash my floors with a little dish soap, hot water and vinegar. Growing up, houses were "aired out". You would open the windows on opposite sides of the house and let a good breeze freshen things up. I still do, and like to sleep in a bedroom that has had a good dose of fresh air flowing through it.

What about you? Are any of you scent sensitive?

18 comments:

  1. I've been reading articles about how toxic these scent products are. I too am highly allergic to scents. There is one aisle in the grocery stores (WalMart especially, no offence intended) where I do not venture.
    When I feel my house needs a little change of scent, I bake!

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    1. Yes, when my cough was so bad, I couldn't walk down the detergent isles. I envy people that aren't affected! -Jenn

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  2. Don't get me started on scents! Not only do they make me sick I believe they are dangerous, maybe even deadly. Recent studies have shown that scented candles alter out DNA. They are just chemicals made to smell "nice". Same goes for all the cleaners. We have nothing scented in our home with the exception of homemade soap made by a friend and fellow allergy sufferer. Her soap are the only soaps I can use without breakup out in eczema.
    I do have essential oils that I can use. They are lovely.

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    1. I'm glad you've found a soap that works for you. Yup, I think there are a bunch of us out there can't handle all these products.

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  3. Candles, incense, soaps and scented hand creams don't bother me, but Axe is the worst stuff on the planet. The next worst stuff is whatever men's cologne is pumped through the vents at stores like Abercrombie and Express. It's pretty horrific.

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    1. I have thankfully not experienced the stores you mentioned, (remember, I live "in the middle of nowhere"). There must be someone who likes it, or they wouldn't keep doing it.

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  4. Oh- That Axe is AWFUL. However, after this last bout with sinus stuff I have NO sense of smell...and I mean NONE. I cannot smell a single thing...which kind of bums me out because I have always loved the fresh clean scent of line dried sheets and Ivory soap....oh well....

    The older gentleman probably has lost some of his sense of smell..and when you wear something for a long time you can often no longer smell it as you once did. Poor guy-doesn't even realize he is offensive to others.

    Hope you have a scent-free wonderful week- xo Diana

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    1. I am genuinely sad for you, not being able to smell anything. I really hope that comes back for you! The man didn't seem particularly old to me, maybe a wee bit older than me. I didn't say anything to him, because it really is each person's own prerogative to wear scent if they want. I hope you have a good weekend, and a fun Hallowe'en!

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  5. I have never liked artificial scents and I don't like the idea of masking offensive smells with something sweet and sickly. Nowadays I don't even wear my beloved Chanel. The best smells are nature's own.

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  6. I don't mind mild scents but some people wear so much that I get a headache. Somebody at a retail store once told me that you know you're wearing the right scent (or even right amount) when you personally can't smell it. That means that it blends nicely with your own body odour and other people receive a mild, attractive scent off of you. Something like that. It's hard to explain in a quick comment.

    Either way, strong, artificial odours give me a headache. I don't mind burning a candle now and then, but I prefer to open windows and bring in natural smells from the outside. And I find this Febreze style of covering up odours disgusting. If your house (or something in your house) smells that horrible, wash it! Or toss it out. Don't cover it up with a spray full of chemicals.

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  7. I feel that scents if used in moderation can be pleasant. My wife uses a hint of Nantucket and I find it very pleasant and sexy. Scented products for men I have no use for; but I am more of an outdoors man and not vain. Different strokes....
    the Ol'Buzzard
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  8. I'm with you. Although your reaction sounds far more severe than mine, I had to ditch perfumes and scents years ago as a matter of survival. I have to make sure I will have a quick exit route from the detergent aisle at the grocery store or I end up with a headache that lasts the rest of the day.
    I must admit that there are things around the farm that smell unpleasant, particularly in the spring when "fertilizer" is spread on the fields. But, quite honestly I would rather smell that than some colognes.

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  9. I like perfume, but I cannot wear to work, we are a scent free environment at our physio clinic & now I wear only at home. I & Mr Man thankfully do not have any nasal issues but we are certainly made to feel that unless we use this or that laundry product we are offending in some way. I use white vinegar in my rinse cycle when washing clothes & dishes, so I am not coating everything with that overly priced scented product. Fact & research have proven what draws us to our mates is scent/chemical, maybe that is why so many marriages break up, they were false in their scent or covered up their true scent with perfumes ... just a thought.

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  10. My daughter is scent sensitive. She now works at a big company and the company policy is no perfume or cologne at the office as there are too many sensitive people. Great post.

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    1. Hi Cheri and thanks for visiting my blog. That's a very considerate thing that the company has decided to do!

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  11. Thank you for this post. Because I'm like you -- there are a few scents I can handle (mostly fresh, like fresh lavender or citrus) but most I can't with my breathing issues. I can't even walk on the sidewalk in front of the Yankee candle store by my house. I try to let people know but more often if I get candles for a gift I regift them. Use unscented or faux. Too bad, because they are so pretty but... I hope this post brings awareness to others.

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  12. I live in the mountains and even when it is cold and snowing I sleep with my window open and a fan on - i love fresh air. I agree about many things you mentioned but for me up here where I live - is a certain type of wood and I don't know what kind - but when people burn it in their fireplaces I get a horrible headache. Also when a candle is blown out and the waxy burnt smell is strong - ugh. Other than that not too many scents bother me. Nice blog u have.

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  13. I'm scent sensitive too, but mostly the headier ones from night blooming Jasmine and oriental lilies, heavy musk based perfumes too. Many times when riding the bus I've done the whole trip with a hanky to my nose to filter my air against heavy perfumes on the women or against the long-term unwashed bodies and clothing of some people, also the foul reek of clothing permeated with cigarette smoke over long periods of time. All of these bring me migraines or coughing fits.

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