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Why Do We Smell Different as We Get Older?

Why Do We Smell Different as We Get Older?

by Ashley Cummings

My nose is my superpower. Seriously. When I was pregnant, I could smell a clove of garlic in the crisper with the refrigerator door closed from the other room. It was gross. Still, I’m not too fond of the smell of garlic and forbid my husband from eating it (I know, rude).

I can also smell the various distinct human smells–the delightful newborn smell, the strong smell of a high school basketball team (who can’t?), and the sweet smell of my grandparents.

My husband can’t smell any of these smells (well, maybe the basketball team), but it turns out I’m not crazy. My nose is on the money.

There is a plethora of scientific research that shows people have different odors as they undergo regular physiological, hormonal, and chemical changes throughout the various phases of life.

This post will address the top reasons why people smell differently as they get older, and what to do about it.

Chemicals Break Down with Hormonal Changes as Humans Age

While it’s true that some types of body odor are the result of poor hygiene, this isn’t always the case.

Changes in body odor are also often the direct result of hormonal changes and the body breaking down chemical compounds.

For context, let’s start with puberty. Everyone is familiar with the tween/teenager smell (we’ve all been there). When kids hit puberty, their body goes through a series of hormonal changes. Hormonal changes activate the apocrine sweat glands, and kids start to experience increased sweat and underarm body odor.

These chemical reactions are bound to raise a stink no matter how often a kid bathes. Instead, it has everything to do with hormones. Kids going through a normal pubescent phase will start to smell and need deodorant. All this said, showering regularly will help!

Humans experience other significant hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, for example. These hormonal changes cause various chemical reactions that lead to an increase in sweat, which results in body odor changes and an increased need for deodorant.

As people age, our bodies continue to change, experience different hormonal fluctuations, and break down different chemical compounds.

Older people will start to break down omega-7 unsaturated fatty acids. The result is 2-nonenal, a chemical compound with a distinct smell. So far, research shows that 2-nonenal only exists in people over the age of 40, and the levels seem to increase with age. This is one of the reasons older people have a distinct type of body odor.

It’s normal for people of all ages to smell differently. Anyone undergoing significant physiological changes like this will also need a deodorant that addresses the actual cause of odor.

The Bacteria on Your Skin Change with Age

Just as the compounds in your body change with time, so do the bacteria that live on your skin. These bacterial changes also affect, you guessed it, body odor.

Interestingly enough, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and IBM created a machine-learning tool that can guess your age within four years, based on the microbe populations that live on your skin.

But, you don’t need machine learning to understand that people of different ages smell differently. All you need is a nose and an understanding that the bacteria on the skin break down the naturally-secreted molecules that live in sweat. Since bacteria and hormones change as you age, so does the way you smell. And, your nose might soon be whispering..."more deodorant."

Lessened Mobility Can Affect Hygiene

Yes, hormonal changes and bacteria contribute to natural body odor, but hygiene does too. If you’ve ever gone camping for a week with no way to wash your body, you’ll know what I mean.

When you don’t practice healthy hygiene habits, sweat mixes with bacteria and causes an unpleasant smell. If you take the time to wash your body regularly, you smell better.

But, here’s the thing.

Good hygiene takes work and requires mobility. To shower every few days, wash and dry your hair at least once a week, wash your hands adequately, and scrub all those 2,000 parts, you have to be able to move well.

Unfortunately, as people begin to age, sometimes it’s more challenging to get around. When it’s hard to get up and move, following a regular hygiene regimen can be challenging, painful, and even risky.

When hygiene practices are poor, body odor increases.

Incontinence and Use of Medication Can Cause Odor

As people age, the structure of the aging bladder and urethra undergo physiological change, which causes the bladder to weaken. This can cause the elderly to develop urinary incontinence (a urine leak that is beyond your control).

Adult diapers can catch urine before it leaks onto underwear and clothing, but adult diapers also trap sweat, bacteria, urine, and other body fluids, increasing body odor.

Additionally, older people that take multiple medications may experience other distinct and pungent smells in their urine, depending on the medication. If incontinence is already an issue and it’s mixed with multiple medications, older people may see an increase in odor between their legs.

Are You or Someone You Know Experiencing any of These Issues? Lume is Here to Help.

Lume Deodorant for Underarms & Private Parts is a natural, skin-safe deodorant that curbs the odor-causing bacteria on our bodies. It was developed by Dr. Shannon Klingman to help inhibit bacteria from eating fluids on our body and producing odor.

Since Lume addresses the root cause of body odor (bacteria), you can use it on ANY place on your body that smells funky. Yes, this means your armpits, private parts, under skin folds, and even your feet.

All you have to do is bathe with a natural, mild soap, dry off really well, and rub a small amount of Lume Deodorant onto your skin like a lotion wherever you may need it. After that, you will experience odor control odor for up to 72 hours. This includes odor caused by hormonal or bacterial changes, incontinence, adult diapers, and medications… basically every kind of body odor!

Keep Lume Deodorant Wipes on hand for the times you find yourself needing a quick freshening up between bathing. There are many deodorant wipes on the market that claim to control odor but end up just being another wet wipe. Lume Deodorant Wipes, on the other hand, contain all the same groundbreaking active ingredients as Lume Deodorant that give you lasting odor protection wherever–and whenever–you need it.

If you, or someone you love, are losing confidence over body odor issues due to aging, Lume is the perfect remedy.

With Lume, we can gracefully conquer all the new smells that life throws at us, at any age!

Take a look at Lume's shop and see how easy–and effective–hygiene really can be.

Ashley Cummings

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