FEB 27, 2018 10:33 AM PST

The Source of That 'Old Person Smell'

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

It's not unusual to notice that old people can have a certain odor about them. Sometimes called greasy, sometimes grassy, it can linger in the homes of the elderly. It seems that smell is caused by a particular chemical that is made when skin cells start making more fatty acids, which get broken down into a chemical called nonenal. That process, explained in depth in the video, begins to happen around age 40.

The reasons why we make more of those fatty acids is not known, however. Some scientists are even skeptical that this is the definitive cause for the smell.

That hasn't stopped one cosmetics company, however. The Shiseido Group made a fragrance specifically to target nonenal.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
DEC 30, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2019
How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Operate, From Start to Finish
It’s no mystery by now that SpaceX is working hard to earn the right to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commerci...
JAN 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 12, 2020
This is Why You Shouldn't Mess With Beached Whales
When large whales die, one of two things can happen: 1) their bodies can sink to the bottom of the ocean and go on to support smaller life forms; or 2) the...
JAN 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 16, 2020
High-speed 3D Printer to Revolutionize Manufacturing
Two significant hurdles in front of the fast expansion of three-dimensional (3D) printers are speed and scale.  In a recently published study, a team...
JAN 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 21, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX Blew Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in Mid-Air
SpaceX completed a substantial milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program this week, an undertaking that involved one of the commercial space compa...
FEB 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 03, 2020
Watch a Polar Bear Mom Scare Off a Bully So Her Cubs Can Eat
Polar bears realize that food can be scarce at times, and that’s a problem considering just how much they like to eat. In many cases, they find food ...
FEB 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 18, 2020
Will We Ever Solve the Universe's 'Dark Matter' Mystery?
If you were to take a step back from the Milky Way and attempt to observe our universe, you’d see a plethora of bright and colorful sectors made up o...
Loading Comments...