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Medical Mythbuster: Do Older People Really Smell Different?

Ever notice that when you walk into an elderly person’s home that things just smell a little bit differently? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, many cultures have noticed this phenomenon. The Japanese even have a word for it – kareishuu. Scientists believe the reason older people smell different is that our body odor changes as we age. This happens because of the activity of various skin glands and how the substances they release interact with the bacteria on our skin.

There have even been scientific studies on how elderly people smell different. An interesting aspect of these studies is that most people say they find the body odor of the elderly to be less objectionable than that of younger people. Keep in mind that everyone goes through several age-dependent changes affecting how we smell during our lifetime. So it’s not just the elderly that smell a bit different – we all do!

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