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Reasons to Be ‘Fragrance Free’ in Public Places

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

There are so many reasons to consider being ‘fragrance free’ in public places.

For one, people like me born with asthma and allergies can experience a severe reaction from the combined smells/chemicals of a room/building filled with folx wearing fragrance. A milder reaction for me means getting a headache/migraine and a more severe reaction, results in me having an asthma attack.

This has been an issue for me since I was a little girl and certain life circumstances have made my condition much worse.

The first being stress; I’m a Black, small-fat, girl/woman in America—a lot of stress has come with just those identities over the years.

Second, as a child, I was made to spend large amounts of time in toxic environments (especially in foster care) and in smoking environments. When I was a child, most adults didn’t listen to me when I told them that their cigarette/reefer smoke bothered me.

Plus, you might end up getting popped for not staying in a child’s place.

Third, at what was our family church for decades, in the last building we worshipped in, there was a plethora of toxic chemicals in that building. I literally got sick almost every time I went to church. And since I was a people pleaser without firm boundaries, I was at church all the time. I believe that years after leaving that ministry, the primary source of toxicity was located and remedied.

I left that church because I needed to breathe but after leaving, I realized that my brain was also full of toxic thoughts. While in recovery for disordered eating caused by Diet Culture, I began to learn about patriarchy through Body Trust ® & during my Yoga Teacher Training at the Sola School of Contemplative Arts. Thus began my path of ‘unlearning’ to detoxify my spirit, mind and body.

Besides me, there are a lot of people who are fragrance/scent sensitive who may not say anything… they just suffer in silence. Some may not even realize that they are having a reaction.

You might be one of those people.

If you notice that after being at a gathering full of people wearing fragrances, you return home with a headache, you just might be reacting from fragrances... or, that brown juice you drank. LOL!

Also, infants and children may be sensitive in this way and not yet able to understand or express their pain or discomfort to the adults in their lives. This makes me think of my own children which is why I’m randomly inserting a child pic of my daughter.

ID: My daughter, a beautiful little black girl dressed in a light colored jumper with a white top. She has a really big smile showing her teeth and standing in front of her grandmothers coffee table.
My Daughter, Aléa Lorén as a Young Child.

In addition, there are many conditions/treatments that being scent-sensitive is a side effect of, like folks going through chemotherapy, taking certain medications, having asthma/respiratory conditions/allergies and so much more.

If you know someone with this condition, ‘not wearing fragrance’ is a kind, loving and considerate gesture that will show them that you love them. Mmhmm… Just by going fragrance free.

Personally, I love fragrance but it does NOT love me back.

Finally, I think it is perfectly fine to wear colognes and such but I think it’s best to do so in small or private settings. And then, only after first checking to make sure that your peeps are cool with you rockin’ your smell-goods.

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