Smells Like Teen … Sandalwood?

Smells Like Teen … Sandalwood?

Few dad and mom would describe the smells emanating from their adolescent kids as redolent of sandalwood. But one of many distinct parts of teenage physique odor is a compound that evokes that heat, woody perfume, in keeping with a small new examine, which in contrast the scents of adolescents to these of infants and toddlers.

Unfortunately, that’s nearly the place the excellent news ended for youngsters (and their dad and mom). Although there have been many similarities between the chemical substances wafting from teenagers and tots, the variations tended to favor the youthful kids, whose physique odor samples had greater ranges of a compound with a flowery perfume. Adolescents, however, produced a compound that smelled like sweat and urine and had greater ranges of drugs described as smelling tacky, musty and “goatlike.”

The authors of the examine, which was printed within the journal Communications Chemistry on Thursday, wouldn’t go as far as to say that the outcomes proved that adolescents smelled worse than infants. But the variations they documented “could contribute to a much less nice physique odor of youngsters,” stated Diana Owsienko, who carried out the examine as a part of her doctoral analysis on the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg in Germany. (She is now a researcher at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.)

Body odor is a posh mix of airborne chemical substances, lots of that are produced when sweat and sebum, an oily substance sometimes secreted via hair follicles, are damaged down by pores and skin microbes or react with different compounds within the air. The variations in scent between younger kids and teenagers in all probability stem from puberty-driven adjustments in sweat and sebum manufacturing, the researchers stated.

The examine was based mostly on samples from 18 younger kids, who have been age 3 or youthful, and 18 adolescents who had gone via puberty. To acquire the physique odor samples, the scientists sewed small cotton patches into the armpits of T-shirts and physique fits, which the kids and teenagers wore in a single day. (Participants have been requested to chorus from utilizing scented hygiene merchandise and consuming particularly aromatic meals, reminiscent of onions and garlic, for 48 hours beforehand.)

In the lab, the scientists extracted and analyzed the chemical compounds that had permeated the patches, pooling collectively samples from a number of kids in the identical age group.

Odor samples from younger kids contained a lot of the similar chemical elements because the samples from youngsters, the researchers discovered.

But there have been two compounds, each steroids, that have been current solely within the adolescent samples. Sweat glands that don’t turn out to be lively till puberty secrete precursors to those compounds, which pores and skin microbes convert into the steroids in query.

Characterizing scents is difficult. “There is not any world consensus on how you can describe odors,” stated Helene Loos, who’s an aroma and odor researcher on the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg and an writer of the brand new paper.

Odor consultants on the college had beforehand developed a regular vocabulary for characterizing the smells of various compounds, with an preliminary deal with meals aromas. “We now additionally prolonged this taste language to substances occurring in physique odors,” Dr. Loos stated.

Careful whiffs of the adolescents’ steroids revealed that one of many compounds smelled of sandalwood and musk. The different additionally had musk-like qualities, with the unlucky additions of sweat- and urinelike aromas.

The teenagers additionally had greater ranges of compounds known as carboxylic acids. They included the musty, tacky and goatlike substances — in addition to some with much less offensive aromas, variously described as earthy, fruity or waxlike.

Carboxylic acids are contained in sebum, which additionally contains different compounds that may be transformed into carboxylic acids by microbes or numerous chemical processes. Sebum manufacturing will increase throughout puberty.

The researchers theorize that, together, the 2 musky steroids plus the upper ranges of carboxylic acids could clarify why the physique odor of adolescents might be off-putting to some folks.

“I feel it’s troublesome to find out that one odor is all the time nice for everybody and to say one other odor is all the time disagreeable for each particular person,” Ms. Owsienko stated. “So that is an assumption from our facet.”



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