We understand that trying to fight aging is an uphill battle. Almost every factor is against our will to remain youthful, and yet that doesn’t seem to stop us from trying. Our most recent investigation? Body odor. Does it get worse with age? Asking for um, a friend.
Just like the rest of our bodies—which are made of millions of cells, constantly shifting, dying, replenishing, restoring, and subtly changing—the chemical makeup of our musk, if you will, changes. These changes in chemical composition are totally normal and not to be worried about.
This age-related shift in odor can begin to occur as early as our 40s, and it’s got basically nothing to do with the products we use. It’s not powdery perfumes and deodorants, and it’s certainly not from lack of showering. So just what might it be?
First, think of that newborn baby smell. Mmmm, we can almost conjure it. That sweet, soft noggin with wispy hairs gives off a clean, slightly sweet, oh-so-pure and innocent smell. But an 8-year-old fresh in from the playground? Not so much. A 16-year-old boy? Forget about it. By young adulthood, we’ve hopefully nailed down proper hygiene so that our body odor is not an affront that strangers have to deal with in order to be close to us. So if it’s not hygiene…
Studies indicate it may be the presence of a compound called 2-nonenal. This compound is born of the oxidative degradation of omega 7 unsaturated fatty acids, which are a byproduct of consuming oily fish, olive oil, macadamia, sea buckthorn, and dairy, just to name a few. That certainly doesn’t mean we should stop eating these healthy fats—they are crucial for many of our bodies’ functions, including the skin and brain.
We can always (and should always) apply the moderation mantra to everything we eat, even healthy foods like these beneficial fats, but there isn’t really a one-stop solution to this. Essentially, our bodies’ chemical makeup shifts as we get older, and that’s OK. In many cases, we become less pungent (you know, that oniony smell) as we get older, our natural odors becoming more sweet and earthy.
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