Babies smell good, teenagers smell like goats, but this is all normal, science reveals

Babies smell good, teenagers smell like goats, but this is all normal, science reveals

A teenager who doesn’t smell like roses is not surprising, according to a recent study. Indeed, our dear middle and high school students would, despite themselves, produce chemical compounds close to the scent of goat’s cheese or cheese.

The smell of a baby’s skull makes you melt, the smell of your teenager wrinkles their nose? Rest assured, everything is normal here, according to the conclusions of a new study published in Communications Chemistrycarried out on the body odors and sweat of children and adolescents.

New substances appear in sweat during adolescence

The University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Central Europe set out to decipher this odorous mystery and conducted a study based on samples of 18 young children aged 3 or younger and 18 adolescents who had reached puberty.

To collect body odor samples, scientists sewed small pieces of cotton into the armpits of T-shirts and overalls that children and adolescents wore at night (without applying scented hygiene products and without eating onion or garlic, 48 hours in advance.)

In the laboratory, scientists extracted and analyzed the chemical compounds that had impregnated the patches, pooling samples from several children of the same age group.

With what differences? There are few of them, but they are significant: the odor samples from young children contained mostly the same chemical ingredients as the samples from adolescents. But two compounds, both steroids, were present only in the adolescent samples.

Why smell… like goat?

It then remained to characterize what the different compounds found evoked, which is quite delicate. “There is no global consensus on how to describe odors”said Helene Loos, aroma and odor researcher and author of the new paper.

However, the university’s odor experts had previously developed a standard vocabulary to characterize the odors of different compounds, with an initial emphasis on food aromas. So, careful puffs of the teens’ steroids revealed that one of the compounds smelled like sandalwood and musk, the second would have a mixture of aromas similar to those of sweat and urine.

Finally, the teens also had higher levels of compounds called carboxylic acids, found in sebum, and related to the smell of moldy, cheesy, goat-like substances, according to the researchers. Young children were spared this unpleasant smell and would have a more “flowery” smell.

Rest assured, however, this adolescent scent would only be temporary. However, don’t hesitate to let him read the article if yours is reluctant to showers and deodorants! This could make him decide to maintain good hygiene.