I Can’t Smell It Anymore! What’s The Difference Between Anosmia And Olfactive Fatigue?

We’ve all been there: sharing an elevator or park bench with the sweetest little grandma you ever did see, all done up in her pearls and curls, and completely drowning in Shalimar — her signature perfume since Eisenhower was in office.

Maybe she’s making a statement, about luxury or pride or beauty. Maybe she just loves bergamot and vanilla THAT MUCH. But probably she just doesn’t know her scent is so … intense.

You can relate! You’ve been warming bar after bar of Sunkissed Citrus for years. It’s your go-to, your favorite Scentsy fragrance. But lately, no matter how many cubes of wax you add to your Warmer, it just doesn’t fill your space or lift your spirits like it used to — you KNOW it’s not as strong as it used to be.

Are you and grandma anosmic or just suffering from good old olfactive fatigue?

Before you try to self-diagnose — or worse, throw out all your favorite Scentsy Bars! — take a look at the differences below, straight from the fragrance experts:


More permanent condition.
Commonly used in the medical world to describe an inability to detect a certain odor — usually linked to an injury, disease or genetic defect.
In the fragrance industry, we also use anosmia to describe losing the ability to detect a certain scent due to lengthy overexposure.
Our grandma above is suffering from anosmia — 50 years spent spritzing the same perfume can inhibit your ability to smell it. She wears too much because her nose can’t detect it anymore! The same is true of your Sunkissed Citrus love/obsession.

Olfactive fatigue

More temporary condition.
This term suggests that after a brief period of time, anyone can simply “cleanse their palate” and once again perceive a fragrance after a period of overexposure.
Remove the odor for a short amount of time, and your ability to smell it returns.
Example: You need to take out the garbage. It’s stinking up the house. After a while, though, it doesn’t smell so bad and you forget to take it out before you leave for work. When you come home the stench hits you like a brick wall. You’ve just experienced olfactive fatigue!

It’s actually quite cool. In both cases (unless anosmia is a long-term medical condition), the body actually filters out certain fragrances as a defense mechanism — primarily so we can continue to detect malodors (which can serve as a warning) such as spoiled food or smoke from a fire. The nose saves!

Now that you know the problem, let’s talk about how to fix it. Olfactive fatigue = no big deal. It’s normal, and it happens to us all from time to time.

Anosmia can be more permanent, but it doesn’t have to last forever. Try removing Sunkissed Citrus (or whatever fragrance you can’t seem to smell anymore) from your Warmer rotation for a few months. Also avoid any other fragrances that are heavy on the citrus, or other common notes. With any luck, you’ll be enjoying your favorite fragrance — in moderation — again soon!

We offer a ton of fragrance variety at Scentsy to combat anosmia and olfactive fatigue. If you want to avoid feeling like you can’t smell your favorites, branch out! Your Consultant can help recommend new fragrances based on the scents you love.

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