I am an extremely even-keeled person who almost never experiences anxiety on a conscious level. Instead, I get a variety of delightful somatic symptoms: eczema, chest pain, back pain. (Before anyone gets worried, I have seen doctors for all of these issues! No medical causes for any of ’em.) I have become an unwilling master of choosing perfumes that will not worsen (and might even soothe) the pain. A disclaimer: all of this is 100% unscientific. I am not a medical professional. In fact, I am whatever the opposite of a medical professional is. I am a medical unprofessional. Perfume is not an appropriate substitute for medical care. It is, however, probably an improvement on self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, or Gossip Girl marathons. Unless we’re talking seasons 1 and 2 only. Hey, remember that time when Serena had brain cells? Those were the days.
If you have legit migraines, the internet informs me that you will probably want to go without fragrance altogether. Even if you’re dealing with merely a garden-variety headache, headaches are notorious for increasing one’s sensitivity to smells, so a light fragrance is in order here. Not necessarily a “fresh” or “clean” perfume, but simply something quiet. I usually go for the delicate violet scent of Guerlain Après l’Ondée, one of the Marc Jacobs Splashes (preferably Rain, Cucumber, or Gardenia), or the herbal vanilla of Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee.
Back pain is really rough. It’s commonly associated with depression, although it’s hard to say whether the depression causes the back pain or you become depressed because your frigging back hurts all the time. Whether your back pain is simply physical or also has an emotional component, I find that warm, sweet, comforting perfumes are the most effective at helping me get through a day of bad back pain. These include the sophisticated caramel scent of Prada Candy, the soft, creamy Kenzo Amour Le Parfum (which is woodier than the original Kenzo Amour), or the delectable incensey vanilla Kate Walsh Boyfriend.
Eczema, a “common skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes”, is probably the most frustrating condition a perfume lover could have. Perfumes contain a great deal of alcohol, which dries out the skin, exacerbating the eczema. There are a few ways to get around this issue. Solid perfumes, such as those sold by Lush or Crazylibellule and the Poppies, actually moisturize the skin. Some perfume brands offer alcohol-free or alcohol-minimal versions of their fragrances; for example, Chanel has bath oils in No. 5, Coco, and Coco Mademoiselle, and Tom Ford has an excellent Black Orchid Finishing Spray.
Do you ever use perfume to combat pain? Tell us how in the comments!