Young People Think Old People Smell Better, Study Finds
The older we get the better we smell, that was the discovery of a research project published on Wednesday by a team of researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
The group had 41 young people ages 20 to 30 smell body-odor samples collected from 41 donors in age groups that included “young” (20-30 years old), “middle-age” (45-55) and “old-age” (75-95). Samples were collected by affixing pads to the underarms of T-shirts which donors wore every night for five nights. Researchers then ensured that additional scents from soap, detergent, cologne and other substances that could interfere with the test were not present. Researchers then combined four samples from each age group inside jars to avoid one persons scene from swaying opinion.
After smelling each sample participants were then asked to rate each scent based on intensity and pleasantness.
It turns out the young sniffers were able to tell apart the age groups based on scene and they found older people’s armpits to be distinctive in smell but not “unpleasant” or “intense.’ Testers were not however able to tell male from female scents which they found unpleasant overall in middle and young age groups.
According to the study which is published in PLoS One, a persons skin biology and chemistry changes as they age which could explain the way their skin smells as they get older. Researchers point out that in animal studies they have found that different animals discern the age of their species based on scent.
The study finds:
“[I]n everyday life ,the old age odor is experienced in the context of an old individual being present.” And “It is likely that the body odors originating from the old individuals would have been rated as more negative if participants were aware of their true origin.”