Woman's face covered in red blotches after opening air freshener

A woman's face was left covered in bright red blotches after she opened an air freshener and it splashed on her lip. Josie Aldridge, a 60-year-old animal charity worker, bought the flower-scented perfume to make her car smell nice while on holiday in Cornwall.

She removed the “stopper” with her teeth but got some of the liquid on her lip. Josie then woke up the next morning with five bright, red blots on her face and realised that the air freshener liquid had damaged her skin.

She was diagnosed with contact dermatitis and given steroid tablets. The bottle warns users against getting the liquid in contact with skin and says you should remove the stopper using a pair of scissors.

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However, Josie said she didn't see this at the time and it should warn the opener to wear gloves. Although she blames herself for not properly reading the instructions, she said the warnings weren't clear enough.

Josie, from Hillingdon, London, said: "It should say that you have to wear gloves. It's quite strong stuff. I am at fault because I used my teeth and didn’t wash it off with water.

"But in my defence I didn't have scissors or water in the car. It should say on the box that you should wear gloves. It should also emphasise that it can do significant damage.

"If someone saw the damage that this had done, they might think more carefully about wearing gloves. I’m not demanding compensation because I realise it’s my fault but if they were to emphasise it more, I would probably have taken more notice of it myself."

Josie was on holiday in Cornwall with her friend, Mandy, when the incident occurred. She had bought the flower-scented "SPRY" air freshener from a garden centre to make her car smell nice.

She said: "I used my teeth to remove the stopper. I got some on my mouth and I had a strong taste of fragrance on my lips." After two days Josie noticed bright red marks appear on her face.

"It took me a week before the penny dropped," she said. "At first I thought I was allergic to the pillow case. I didn't know what else it could be.

"I hadn't eaten anything weird." Eventually it dawned on Josie that the air freshener was the reason for her skin issue.

On April 2 her GP diagnosed her with contact dermatitis - an itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance - and prescribed her steroid tablets. She said her skin is clearing up but there are still "patches of redness".

She added: "Hopefully it's not going to scar and will disappear in a week or two." Josie said her friends were "quite horrified" but they were able to see the funny side.

In response, Spry scents stated: "She opened the bottle with her teeth and it's a car perfume."