In the workplace, one person’s sweet-smelling perfume is another’s migraine

According to WebMD, more than 2 million people are afflicted by perfume-caused allergies. When you’re wearing too much scent, others in close proximity to you can experience migraines, nausea, and dizziness. Not only that, a strong perfume can trigger serious asthma attacks. So with all the potential side effects perfume can cause others, why do some people insist on drenching themselves in scent?

I have a friend and industry colleague who is very smart — except when it comes to laying on the scent. I’ve never asked him, but he may own stock in a cologne company because it’s evident that he bathes in his cologne. It’s hard to do business with him until the end of the day.

We’ve all come across this at least once or twice. Someone wearing heavy scent comes into your space, at the movies, in an elevator, in church, or at a store, and everyone is left struggling for a breath of fresh air. Even after airing out the room, you may be left with the remains of that scent all day long.

Someone wearing too much perfume can ruin an experience for everyone else. The reason I’m on this soapbox is that I recently had some experiences that “took my breath away” out in public, and in my own store, where a customer came in totally doused in scent. When the customer left, we got out the big fans to blow out the lingering, overpowering smell.



Wearing too much perfume in the workplace can be bad, too. There have even been lawsuits filed against heavy perfume wearers. According to an article in eHow, “Even if heavy perfume use does not cause serious health effects in the workplace, it can negatively affect the work environment and possibly even jeopardize the job of the offender. Too much perfume can distract people from their work, impact the way coworkers or supervisors view the fragrance wearer, and turn away customers.”

A word to the wise: Not everyone will like your choice of scents. When people can sense that you are in a space long before you are seen, it’s not a good thing. Many companies now ask workers to use no fragrance, or only a little. For the benefit of all those sufferers within smelling range, please remember, everything is good … in moderation.