Body Odor Changes as We Age
There are several reasons why the retirement home smells different from the high school gym:
- Body chemistry changes over time. The characteristic scent associated with the elderly is the same, regardless of a person's ethnicity or culture. Scientists have figured out what's happening. As people age, fatty acid production in the skin increases while antioxidant production decreases. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are oxidized, sometimes increasing the amount of a chemical called 2-nonenal. Nonenal is an unsaturated aldehyde known for its grassy, greasy scent. Some researchers did not detect 2-nonenal, but did find higher levels of the stinky organics nonanal, dimethylsulfone, and benzothiazole in the body odor of older subjects.