Sensitivity to Smells? Fragrance Free Needed 5/5 (1)

Sensitivity to smells is a very common issue – and a serious one.

Fragrance free is what you need.

I went off today in a Facebook post about fragrances and my kids.

It doesn’t matter where you are – the smells and chemical fragrances are everywhere:

  • walk down the street
  • get in the car
  • down the hall
  • enter a bathroom
  • into a store
  • your kids
  • your boss
  • your coworker
  • your neighbor’s dryer vent

The FIRST letter in my free bonus chapter to you is ‘A’ for ‘AVOID’

Avoid is step one because if you don’t avoid chemicals, it is more work for your genes to clean up.

If your genes are tired, lacking nutrients or blocked, these chemicals will make your genes dirtier.

Dirty Genes = symptoms.

Chemicals + Genes = Symptoms

I don’t care that everyone wears fragrances.

I don’t care that most companies have fragrances in their products.

I don’t care that most people think fragrances are just – well – fragrances.

Fragrances are CHEMICALS.


Look. (source)

Fragrances are chemicals

Let’s look at just ONE of these chemicals, shall we?

Musk Xylene: 

  • Inhalation: Move victim to fresh air. Apply artificial respiration if victim is not breathing. Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult. Inhalation or contact with vapors, substance, or decomposition products may cause severe injury or death.
  • Handling: All chemicals should be considered hazardous. Avoid direct physical contact. Use appropriate, approved safety equipment. Untrained individuals should not handle this chemical or its container. Handling should occur in a chemical fume hood.

Let’s break down xylene a bit more – because this one is quite toxic and labs actually test for xylene exposure.

“Elimination of xylene is slower in individuals with a greater percentage of body fat. The primary effects of xylene exposure involve the nervous system by all routes of exposure, the respiratory tract by inhalation exposure.”

A bit more. . .

“At acute-duration inhalation concentrations as low as 50 ppm, xylenes produce irritant effects on the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes; impaired respiratory function; and mild central nervous system effects, including headache and dizziness. Increases in subjective reports of eye irritation, sore throat, and neurological effects (anxiety, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, and a sensation of intoxication) were noted following chronic-duration occupational exposure at 14 ppm. Irritation of the eye may occur from contact with xylene vapor or from direct contact with xylene liquid, in which case photophobia, redness of the conjunctiva, and partial loss of the conjunctival and corneal epithelia have been reported. Slight-to-moderate eye irritation has also been observed in rabbits following direct instillation with ≥23 mg/kg mixed xylenes. With increasing airborne xylene concentrations of 100– 400 ppm, other neurological effects reported in acutely exposed human subjects include retardation of response times and impairments in memory and body balance. Acute exposure to an estimated 10,000 ppm xylenes elicited tremors, mental confusion, and depressant effects (narcosis) on the central nervous system that caused at least one fatality due to respiratory failure. All of these effects are related to the lipophilic properties of xylenes, which interfere with the integrity of cell membranes and alter neuronal function. In addition to neurological and respiratory effects, an increase in the reporting of nausea was noted following controlled exposure to m-xylene at 50 ppm. Symptoms of nausea and vomiting have also been noted in workers exposed to xylene vapors.”(source)

Test for xylene exposures as xylene is everywhere – including many jobs, offices, homes and more.

Your zipcode can be really high in xylene which may be one reason why you’re sensitive to smells.

Here are the top 13 cities in the nation with highest xylene releases – due to the gas industry most likely:


Being sensitive to smells is reasonable.

The question is how to get others to be reasonable that you are sensitive to smells? 

How do you get your healthcare professional to help with this?

It’s not easy.

“A chart review of 2,922 histories taken by 137 third-year medical students showed that smoking status was documented in 91%, occupation in 70%, and specific occupational exposures in 8.4% of the total number of cases. Patients less than 40 years of age and women were significantly less likely than older patients or men to have their occupation and industry noted [Marshall et al. 2002; McCurdy et al. 1998].” (source)

The key tip that you need to know – and your healthcare professional:

“The single most important aspect of the approach to patients with potential occupational or environmental disease is to have a high index of suspicion and to follow through on that suspicion.” (source)

How to get your workplace environment with reduced fragrances or none at all

Talk with your employer that you are sensitive to smells and that it is affecting your work performance.

Provide this guide to your employer so they may review and take informed action on your behalf. (source)

According to the American Disability Act, fragrance-free is not necessarily required by law. Actions should be taken though to improve your surroundings, such as:

  • informing coworkers to reduce the use of fragrances
  • improve air circulation and filtration
  • choosing new cleaning chemicals
  • relocating printers or installing an exhaust system by them
  • moving you away from areas of high smells and fragrances
  • installing a window or positioning you by one

How to reduce sensitivity to smells

This is a complex topic and one that is an entire book in of itself.

The first step is to reduce exposure and avoid the most significant exposures.

I’ve detailed many exposures and provided resources in this article discussing how we’re so toxic from chemicals.

Here is a snap shot of common exposures:

  • car exhaust
  • smoking
  • new construction
  • remodeling materials
  • gas stove
  • gas ovens
  • water filtration
  • furniture choices
  • cleaners, soaps, detergents
  • personal care products

Yes, gas stoves and ovens are producing a ton of formaldehyde and chemicals. You need to get them out of your house.

Once you limit exposures to smells, now your genes can actually catch up and start reducing your toxic burden.

The best way to reduce body burden of chemicals is by sauna.

I’ve written an article on the benefits of sauna.

Which genes are associated with sensitivity to smells?

A number of them.

A big one is the GPX and GST pair of genes as they have to do with glutathione.

Watch the Facebook Live video discussing these two genes – GST and GPX.

Summary to reduce your sensitivity to smells:

  • Avoidance!
  • Education of your coworkers and family and friends
  • Sauna and sweat in general
  • Educate yourself in how to support your GST and GPX genes
  • Watch the Dirty Genes Course in full and put it to use in your daily life.
  • Supplement and clean your genes using liposomal glutathione – 1/2 tsp once to twice daily.
  • Aldehydes are a huge issue with chemicals. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is very effective at clearing brain fog and feeling sluggish due to aldehydes. Consider 1 capsule morning and afternoon. Side effects from Thiamine are rare.


Share your experiences below!

Are you sensitive to smells?

How do you cope?

How did you recover?

Please rate this

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Comments 16

  1. YES! Extremely sensitive to smells and chemicals! It started with a headache…then migraine…now I break out in an extreme blistering rash….sometimes over my entire body. It’s wretched. Dry brushing then sweating is definitely one of the most successful combos I’ve had to get it out! Thanks for speaking out about it. You’re the best!!

  2. Although this is a great start the ilness Multiple Chemical Sensitivity(MCS) aka Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance(TILT) is more complex. It is not a mere allergy or sensitivity. This is neurological and can be debilitating, chronic, life altering. The severity can change a persons quality of life to a minimal level. Dr. Anne Steinemann’s research focuses on toxins effecting large patient populations as well as the writing of Alison Johnson who has written extensively on how. This illness relates to Desert Storm Vets. Dr. Molot has written the book 12,000 Canaries. There is research that focuses on the comorbidity of MCS, CFS, Fibro and Desert Storm Illness. There is a lack of Primary Care Physicians education on Environmental Illnesses aling with nursing. The Fragrance industry is pervasive and there is a lack of concern with public health when everywhere you go the toxic air fresheners are in use. There needs to be a massive education campaign to not just the medical field but public schools, daycares, nursing homes, retail stores. And lastly this is an access barrier issue so it does fall under the ADA title III protections. Key concern is what entails a reasonable accomodation.

    1. Hi Sher,

      I read an article a few years ago – don’t have a link for it on-hand, but it stated that there was a study of the Desert Storm vets who suffered with weird symptoms when they returned home. They now believe that these vets were given CIPRO, to supposedly protect them from things they might have been exposed to over there – maybe dangerous chemicals even – and now they believe that the Gulf War Syndrome could actually have been a floxing from the CIPRO they took. So, yes there may have been many chemical exposures, but another culprit that led to the sensitivities could have been caused by damage done to their systems from CIPRO- floxin.

      I wish I could find the article, but when I saw that I had just learned about how many people were being floxed by these antibiotics, and it made perfect sense to think it could have actually been the, or at least, a leading cause of what they called, “Gulf War Syndrome.”

  3. I don’t know about chemicals, but I am extremely sensitive to all natural personal care products containing plants and herbs. I become severly fatigued and dizzy. What can cause this? Thanks.

    1. Post

      Most ‘all natural’ products are still containing chemicals and fragrances. It’s a sign that your liver and gallbladder are stuffed and cannot handle additional smells. I highly recommend the summary section at the bottom of the article.

  4. I’ve had MCS for 20 years, it can be debillitating.
    I find that Taurine helps somewhat for some reason.
    Currently looking for a job and stressed out because I know fragrances will be an issue.
    I just sent in an AncestryDNA test in the hopes of finding some answers and to supplement correctly, very surprised that the analysis mentioned on this website only takes 23andme data as I did a lot of research before ordering and Ancestry seems to provide more data than the current 23andme test.

    1. Post
      1. That’s frustrating since I researched both primarily for medical reasons and Ancestry beat out the current 23andme test everywhere I looked

        1. Post

          Steve –

          The current chip v5 is far from ideal – that’s true. But Ancestry is lacking more snps than 23andMe when looking at it via StrateGene.

          Most other reports are full of what I call ‘nonsense SNPs’ – have no clinical relevance at all. They just show they have a LOT OF SNPs – that is their marketing pitch. Well – so what when most are unknown impact or already known as no impact?

          I am making my own chip currently – it takes time to research quality snps and we have over 300 now. It will be available some time in 2018.

          Thank you

  5. Oh smells, fragrance! Really strong when i purchased Mrs Meyers liquid hand soap with olive oil, aloe, basil scent!

    I eat basil every day and it doesn’t smell like this! There’s something ‘bad’ in there(for me)

    Now I’ll make my own !

  6. I’d like to know about the relationship (if any, but I’m assuming) between xylene and any of these chemical groups: ethers, ethylenes, halogenated hydrocarbons. Many years ago, I was diagnosed (via muscle biopsy) by Dr. Beverly Britt for Malignant Hyperthermia and she warned me both verbally and in her printed booklet for patients about the environmental hazards of things like perfumes, cleaners, print toners, markers that contained smaller amounts of the same chemicals as those that causes MH reactions in operating rooms with certain individuals. (I have never had a OR reaction, just the more minor environmental ones which was the reason I saw Dr. Britt.) What I and my children find interesting is that our reaction to things like some cleaners, perfumes, permanent markers, construction resins, etc. are the symptoms of sudden muscle pain/stiffness and a sudden fever/flu-like feeling that calms down when we retreat to fresh air, drink water, and cool down. We also cannot handle environmental heat (e.g. heat exhaustion/heat stroke) so I am curious at how you came to the conclusion that saunas and sweating would be recommended, since in our case, such would worsen our reaction and health. On another sideline, I have recently added to my MCS, an electromagnetic sensitivity which burns the epithelial layers of my cornea (“recurrent corneal abrasion”) and the skin on my face if I am exposed to the manmade microwave radiation such as wireless technology/wifi but heals when I’m away from it for a number of days. One more comment, some “scents” are masked and we cannot smell them but we still react to them and discover afterwards that they also have triggering chemicals in them. I have heard that there is a difference between “unscented” and “fragrance-free” that reflects this point but isn’t overly clear to the general public.

    1. Post

      Taurine supports the bile production and bile is needed to help eliminate many compounds which are toxic. Liver health is very important and taurine plays a big role here.

      Liver Nutrients contains taurine along with a number of other key liver supportive supplements. Supporting the liver and avoiding chemicals are the top two ways to reduce sensitivity to smells.

  7. I became hyper-sensitive to the following products during my first pregnancy and became even more sensitive during my second pregnancy (experienced sickness to the point that I opted for a tubal ligation after birth because of the smell sensitivity trauma despite wanting more children): Fabric Softeners, cigarette smoke, new rugs/carpets, dryer sheets, cleaning products (other than seventh generation), all soaps/shampoos/toothpaste/deodorant (besides Toms of Maine and California Baby), my domestic water (I had it tested twice because I thought the chlorine was way too high). I would vomit immediately if I got anywhere close to any of these triggers. There are several more but those are the main ones that are everywhere. I begged for help. My OBGYN recommended essential oils and they just made it worse. I am left with a sensitive nose now but not nearly as bad. I think my pregnant body was protecting my babies from cancer causing chemicals. (sounds totally crazy to most). My son was born with a rare genetic condition (MCADD – Medium Chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency). I don’t know if it’s related to all of my pregnancy sickness or aversions but seems like it could have been. The genetics specialist that we see for him doesn’t really inquire about my history. I’m a totally sane person, I swear. No history of medical/mental problems, cancer, genetic issues, I take no medication, etc. People would tell me it was all in my head during my pregnancies.

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