Handling the Holiday Scents with Sensitive Skin

Over the river and through the woods can be a lot of stress if grandmother’s perfume or scented household products cause allergies and skin problems. We’ve had problems handling the holiday scents with sensitive skin. Here’s how we handled it, with care, to keep from causing our loved ones too much work – and to keep everyone’s skin under control. I’ve included some gift ideas that help to bring a bit of joy into the holiday and also spread goodwill to the host or hostess.

Send a note

The first few years, we established the fact that our baby girl had sensitive skin. It came as no surprise when she arrived for visits. Any overnight visits were planned in advance. Caring family members were happy to do anything to make it easier for her. The problem was, they didn’t understand how easy it was to disturb her delicate system. Communication was an important tool to help let other’s know how to best handle certain issues. A phone call or even a card was an easy way to make a list of the ways we could all enjoy a less fussy visit for our girl.

Scent-free zone

Sprayed room scents

This one is really important for everyone, but with sensitive, allergy prone skin, it is a must. Ask your hostess to please refrain from using aerosol or other sprays while you are there.  Any scented plug-in type of room sanitizers should also be put away until you leave. The house will most likely smell good from the food that’s being prepared, so that is a bonus.

Gift idea: A potpourri that is made of natural scents, such as clove, cinnamon, hazelnut, or even vanilla is always a great gift idea for your host or hostess.

Candles or diffusers

I know they are popular these days, but if someone has an autoimmune illness or skin issues from atopic dermatitis, candles, or other diffused scents, they can create a sneezy, itchy season. Spending time in a small space can make a person miserable. Many people use these to create ambiance for a holiday gathering.

Gift idea: If they know ahead of time, an unscented candle in holiday colors, or in a color that suits your guests taste, is a welcome gift, and the glow will send warmth into the household.

Itch-free overnight stays


For an overnight stay, it may be easiest to just bring your own sheet set. That way you can be sure they were laundered in allergen and perfume free detergent and dryer sheets. Blankies or other items that will be next to the skin can also be bagged up and taken home when you’re leaving.

Gift idea: Your hostess gift, in this case, is that they have no laundry to do after your departure.

Don't fret

The holiday season is when meals, and love, are shared among family and friends. Asking your hostess for help in keeping the scents down makes perfect sense. If telling them over the phone, or in person feels awkward, write a little note and stick it inside a greeting card. Add your thanks for the invitation, and offer to help in any way possible to make your family holiday a happy, sneeze-free, and itchless zone for everyone. When asked nicely, most everyone is glad to help their guests feel comfortable while handling the holiday scents with sensitive skin.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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