Fashion magazines can be hazardous to your health

The advertisements in fashion magazines have long been accused of harming women, lowering their self esteem by creating unrealistic expectations that lead to self-image problems and self-destructive behaviors like bulimia and anorexia. I don’t know about the validity of those claims, but my cousin recently encountered one serious and bizarre danger between the pages of a fashion magazine that required medical attention.

This is my cousin Heather in all her usual gorgeousness:

Heather Cushing

Now here’s a picture of Heather after flipping through the December issue of Elle Magazine:

Alien, Thierry Mugler

Yes, that’s really the same person and no, there was no photo editing in this picture.

What you’re seeing is an extreme allergic reaction caused by a sprayable perfume sample of a fragrance called (no joke) Alien, by Thierry Mugler. On the Sephora website it is described as “Radiant and mysterious, the elixir of absolute femininity.” That’s funny, last time I checked, embracing one’s feminity didn’t involve acquiring contact dermititis with severe edema of the upper eyelids — symptoms that appeared within 20 minutes of Heather’s contact with the ad.

“I played with the thing trying to open it and must’ve gotten it on my hands. Then because the smell bothered me so much it made my eyes itch and I rubbed them with my soiled fingers,” Heather told me in an email. Luckily, she works at a hospital and was able to take Benadryl within five minutes of the onset of symptoms and a PA there gave her a shot of prednisone when it got worse. “I couldn’t see that whole first night and could only open my right eye a slit the next 24 hours. After continued Benadryl use every 4 hours, I had a full recovery after 4 1/2 days.”

She still doesn’t know what specific ingredient in the perfume caused the reaction, but she’s going to tell me when she figures it out (right??). In the mean while, I am going to steer clear of Alien. Probably fashion magazines in general, for good measure.

14 thoughts on “Fashion magazines can be hazardous to your health

  1. Susan

    With all due respect, your cousin acted very stupidly. Even a child knows better than to rub her eyes and nose with unclean hands. She might also have averted a severe reaction by immediately running lots of fresh water over her face and thoroughly scrubbing her hands. This is common knowledge for any kind of chemical interaction or irritant.

    It is very unfair to criticize the manufacturer for a reaction to an “all natural” product that has been misused. “All natural” doesn’t mean the user doesn’t have a responsibility to use common sense. Butter, beef, vinegar–these are all “all natural” products but common sense dictates not to use them on our eyes. Pets and flowers are “all natural” but a lot of people are allergic to them. A little common sense goes a long way.

    1. Arikia Post author

      With all due respect, who the hell said anything about the claim of the product being “all-natural” having anything to do with this?

      Please READ the post and give my cousin, and the HOSPITAL she works at a little more credit than to think seeking a prednisone shot was the FIRST attempt to halt her symptoms. Regardless, seeing as how her symptoms lasted for over FOUR days, I doubt water would have done anything substantial. You should also look up what an allergic reaction is, since you seem to be confused.

      I think it is absolutely fair to criticize the manufacturer of ANY product that doesn’t conduct thorough testing on products that could potentially harm people in this fashion or any other.

    2. Derick

      Hey there Susan, You’re a dumbass. Maybe you should do some research before blabbing out “stupidly”. I hope you discover something you’re severely allergic to when you incidentally brush your face off, or for that matter get bit by a rabid opossum.

  2. momkat

    Susan, ginormous comprehension fail for you. The word natural doesn’t appear anywhere in this post, and besides it would be irrelevant. The point is that there are lots of us in the world today who can’t tolerate many of the constituents of perfumes and colognes, and making them as pervasive as they are Is the fault of the maufacturer/marketer.

  3. Nakarti

    Holy crap!
    Also, being sensitive(thankfully not severely allergic) to many perfumes and colognes, I agree that insufficient research and pervasive(sometimes invasive) advertising is a fault of the makers and marketers, respectively.

    Yes, it is dumb to rub your eyes if something you’ve been holding is irritating them, but it is not unreasonable to expect a magazine to not cause anaphylactic(sp?) trauma.

  4. Pingback: The Perfume Heretic » Alien

  5. Miguel

    I wear that fragrance, it’s my favorite Mugler perfume. It’s unfortunate that she had an allergic reaction but it’s no reason to blemish the reputation of the brand or that of the product. It pleases millions of women (yes, millions), receives fantastic critical aclaim from the fashion and fragrance community, and the fact that one person happened to scratch her eyes with soiled hands after sniffing the ad does not mean the product is any less reputable. Your post is pure libel and defamation.

  6. Justin K

    Mm-kay.. …something that you angry, cross eyed trolls may not know because Trump is now president now and its the year 2017. Kind of a hum-dinger, wouldn’t you say?
    Yoda (Heather) would have never had that bad of a reaction even if she went to Macy’s and maced herself if the face with Alien, by Thierry Mugler. Alien, by Thierry Mugler’s sample (which contains alcohol) is do to chemical retardation and degradation from alcohol that broke down the plastic thermoform packaging.

    heres a list of what types of plastics “do what” under chemical reactions:

    Poly(ethylene terephthalate), PET or PETE – PET is not very soluble in ethanol or isopropanol, but prolonged exposure may cause crazing or stiffening due to dissolution of plasticizers.
    High Density polyethylene, HDPE – HDPE is resistant to most things.
    Poly(vinyl chloride), PVC – PVC is not very soluble in ethanol or isopropanol, but prolonged exposure may cause crazing or stiffening.
    Low Density polyethylene, LDPE – LDPE is resistant to most things.
    Polypropylene, PP – PP is resistant to most things.
    Polystyrene PS – PS is not very soluble in ethanol or isopropanol, but prolonged exposure may cause crazing or stiffening.
    This stands for “other”, but the most common is polycarbonate, which is not very soluble in ethanol or isopropanol, but prolonged exposure may cause crazing or stiffening.

    Conclusion: Alien, by Thierry Mugler samples are no longer being dispensed in these nifty “new sample packages” because they either get swished and break, or they made a boo boo with picking the wrong thermoform plastic to package the sample in. This is what made Heather turn into Yoda on meth.

    Moral: Trolls will be trolls.
    wash your hands
    Blame it on packaging
    Its Trumps fault

    Wendel out (etc)


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