On Social Graces:
Q: A woman I work with tends to go overboard when applying perfume. Some days I can hardly breathe, much less work. How can I ask her to use less without offending her?
A: Make the problem about you rather than her. Say, “Nancy, I’ve recently become very sensitive to certain scents. While I think your perfume is lovely, it’s bothering my sinuses. Would you help me by wearing less?” If she isn’t willing to change, you’ll have to go to a manager or to human resources and ask for help.