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.

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