Scent-related headaches: What you need to know. - Dayas Essence

Scent-related headaches: What you need to know.

You know that smell you love? The one that makes you feel like you’re in a spring garden or on a tropical beach? Well, for some people, that very smell may also trigger an intense headache.

One in three people suffer from headaches when exposed to scents. It’s nothing to be ashamed of—we’re all unique in how we react to our environment, and that includes scents.

So if you’re one of those people who get headaches when they smell certain aromas, or trying a new scented wax melt or use a new perfume, you’re not alone!

You may have heard that aroma-sensitivity is related to blood vessels dilating and swelling in the brain, which could trigger a headache. But what does that mean? Well, it means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to fragrances—each person has their own unique triggers and sensitivities when it comes to using home fragrance products like wax melts (and even sprays).

It’s important to remember that everyone is different! One Rhuby Rose or Avobath scent from one maker may cause you a migraine but the same scent with another maker may cause zero effect on you.

Every fragrance oil is made up uniquely, which is why CLPs are never identical—it’s the chemicals in a scent that can sometimes cause sensitivities, Its worth noting and reading the CLP to find out, narrow it down to see if you can spot any ingredients that you could be sensitive to, for example, (These chemicals can be named differently, but these are the widely common names found in alot of scented wax melts and candles and any other fragrant product):

Citral – Citrus scent

Limonene – Citrus scent

Linalool – Floral scent

Geraniol – Rose and citrus scent

Eugenol – Cinnamon, clove scent

Finding what chemical triggers a headache, is like finding a needle in a haystack. Because the culprit could be 2 chemicals together, or even all chemicals together which is causing an adverse reaction you just don't know, because everyone is different. The only solution really offer, is not to use that fragrance again. The CLP only covers the chemicals that trigger a hazard not all of them chemicals I listed could cause headaches. So whatevers causing the headache might not be listed on the clp, safety data sheets can be given if asked.

Test fragrances that contains these chemicals write a diary of your reactions, by finding out the chemicals from the CLP, you can avoid them scents when you’ve experimented.

We want to reassure you, that we have taken every precaution to ensure the safety of our customers, and only use fragrances that contain the least possible sensitizers, some of our scents do contain a small number of sensitizers as this is the makeup of the oil to produce the scent, you will find this with other companies (CLP & safety data sheet information is available upon request.)


Many factors play a part in triggering a headache, such as stress, lack of sleep, worry, focusing your eyes on screens such as laptops for long period of times, hunger, not drinking enough; so have a break from the headache-triggering aromas and try again in a few days.

You can also use less of the wax melt too, you never know the same scent may not trigger you after having a break from melting that scent and dealt with other issues that’s in your life.

If your head is still throbbing after a few weeks, then it might be that you’re sensitised to one of the ingredients in your wax melts, avoid that particular scented wax melt, try something else, remember one scent from one maker isn’t necessary the exact same with another so you can still enjoy that lovely aroma just without the headache, like with anything its trial and error.

We’ve all heard the saying: “it’s not what you see, it’s what you smell.”

This is true. It really is. Our sense of smell is tied to our survival—the odours we detect can alert us to danger, or even just make us feel better when we’re feeling low.

I know that scents help me when I’m feeling stressed out, the scent of lavender makes me relax, and the scent of panache reminds me of my mum. But did you know that some scents can actually cause pain? This is called Osmophobia.

We know that migraine headaches are caused by changes in blood flow in the brain—and it turns out that some areas of the brain that process scent and odours are also areas that are involved in migraine headaches and pain perception!

Researchers continue to look for answers regarding why smells may make migraines worse for some sufferers, and doesn’t effect other people.

But research remains inconclusive.

A range of smells have been found to be problematic for some migraine sufferers such as:

  • Soaps, including laundry detergent, hand soap, and dish soap
  • Bath products like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair sprays, and cosmetics
  • Household cleaning products
  • Perfumes
  • Air fresheners, scented wax products, deodorizers, and room sprays

If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. And if you don’t have them… well, it’s probably because you’re lucky.

What is a migraine to those who’s never experienced one before…

A migraine is a type of headache that can cause intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound or smells. Migraines may happen only occasionally or strike multiple times a month. Some people are unable to perform regular daily activities when having a migraine.

Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down. Some people also experience sensory warning symptoms, including blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms of migraines include difficulty speaking or temporary vision loss or blindness.

Migraines can be triggered by many things—light and sound too.

It turns out that migraine sufferers are more sensitive to things in their environment because they’re prone to migraines with certain lights or if a storm is brewing. When this happens, your brain is more sensitive to stimuli and therefore more likely to trigger a migraine. That’s why for me (and probably for many people who get migraines), I get migraines if I’m focused on my computer screen or TV.

I know what you’re thinking. “How can the weather cause me to get a migraine? It’s just something I have, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” High humidity, rising temperatures and storms causes me to have a migraine, why is this? This is because of pressure changes in the atmosphere. Pressure changes affect how blood vessels expand and contract in our bodies, which triggers chemical and electrical changes in the brain that irritate nerves and lead to headaches.

When these conditions are present, people with migraines are more likely to experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light or sound, great isn’t it!!! NOT…

Light sensitivity is also common among migraine sufferers because bright lights can trigger a migraine headache or aura (warning sign), I too suffer from this as well.

The most common triggers include flashing or flickering lights like those found on TVs or computer monitors; fluorescent lights; halogen lights; incandescent bulbs; sunlight reflecting; and even looking at bright reflections on shiny surfaces, it’s best not to stare directly into these kinds of light sources if you’re prone to migraines since they’ll intensify your symptoms faster than other types of light sources would do on their own.”

So, do wax melts cause headaches? The answer is not necessarily, However, they can.

The reason for this is that all fragrant products rely on strong scents to carry their smells around your room or home, and the fragrance is made up of various chemicals in the product. If you’re sensitive to certain fragrances i.e perfumes, cleaning products, then certain wax melt fragrances will probably cause headaches as well.

One in three people suffer from headache when exposed to scents. Scientists think that odours might cause the blood vessels to dilate and swell, stimulating the area of the brain that is associated with headaches.

While some people are perfectly able to enjoy their scented wax melts without experiencing any ill effects whatsoever, there are many others who find that perfumes and aftershaves, and certain smells give them headaches—we all have unique scent receptors whereas you may have sensitivities to certain scents other people may have no reaction at all; it’s how we’re all unique from one another!

If you have a fragrance sensitivity, you might feel like you’re at the mercy of your nose.

But there are some things you can do!

The best way to prevent scent-related headaches is to reduce the amount of scents you use as much as possible, but what if you absolutely have to be around strong scents? The best thing to do with using wax melts is to half the amount you use or use a quarter, do so in a well-ventilated area, so that you can reduce your exposure as much as possible.

If all else fails and the headache comes, treat the symptom like you would any other headache. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and migraine relief medications, can help alleviate headache symptoms, rest, stay hydrated, eat and get out in the fresh air as much as possible.

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