How to Say ‘It’s OK to Not Wear Cologne’

How can people convey to others that it’s OK to not wear cologne? A friend of mine does this very well.

Depending on the setting, she will say something like, “This is going to sound strange, but I want to compliment you on not wearing a lot of cologne or fragrance. I have a terrible allergy to fragrances and sometimes it is really hard for me to find people who I can sit next to without developing a headache.”


The chemicals in fragrances are designed to be perceived by our noses and cause emotional responses — hopefully positive but not for everyone. Some chemically intolerant individuals get angry, irritable, sleepy, or even confused.

The blog Now Smell This published a list of names for new perfumes and colognes. Some are spot on such as Heidi Klum’s “Surprise” and Gucci’s “Guilty.” This is not to mention “Japanese Cherry Blossom,” the perfume involved in a pending disability lawsuit.


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Dr. Claudia Miller
Department of Family & Community Medicine
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive (222 MCS)
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900



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