Every single one of us has a body odour and even when you think you don’t smell, you actually do have a scent unique to you. Researchers that study volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have long known that every person has a distinct odour (odourprints) which are as distinct as fingerprints which is why dogs can track fugitives on the run and why perfumes can smell slightly different on you than it does on every other person.
Your odourprint can say a lot about your health and relationships and here are some of effects that your body odour can indicate.
Attraction To Mosquitoes
If you find yourself getting a little more attention from mosquitoes, chances are your odourprint is responsible. A study conducted on fraternal and identical twins, concluded that the genes that make up a person’s specific body odour could be responsible for attracting mosquito bites.
The researchers had 74 volunteers stick their hands in a Y-shaped tube, while their fraternal or identical twin stuck their hand in another hole. The researchers then released mosquitoes at the end of the tube and recorded which twin the insect proffered to bite.
While Identical twins were bitten equally, the mosquitoes tend to bit fraternal twins that shared fewer genes disproportionately, with one suffering more bites than the other.
While mosquitoes would surely bite anyone, it is estimated that 20% of people are especially attractive to the insect. Scientists are working to identify and understand the genes that help emit scents that mosquitoes are attracted to in order to help develop repellants.
Finding A Love Connection
Researchers have come to the conclusion after extensive studies in both animals and humans that you are likely more attracted to romantic partners that have a body odour different from your own.
One of the studies asked women to rate the smell of T-shirts their male partners had worn for 2 consecutive days according to the smells they found more attractive. It was discovered that the women rated T-shirts that had a body odour that had a different chemical from their own.
While body odour may contribute to attraction, it isn’t the only factor responsible, especially since we humans tend to have one of the least-sensitive noses of all animals.
Stress Can Cause Your Body Odour To Tattle
And by tattle, we don’t mean the sweat stains that appear on your clothes after a stressful day but about a subtle change in your body odour. When you’re stressed a lot of the time, your body odour changes in ways people might not be able to detect, but a dog will definitely be able to.
Animals with sensitive noses such as dogs can literally smell stress caused by fear resulting from work, friends or family. Stress doesn’t however change the intrinsic body odour but adds a personal scent which animals can detect.
It Can Make You New Friends Or Lose Old Ones
There’s definitely a chance that you’d lose some friends if you go to work smelling like you’ve not had a bath in a week, but there’s also a chance that you can also lose friends if you always smell like sunshine as your body odour could either chase them away or attract them to you.
Some researchers in Poland tested the theory that smell indicates personality, by asking 30 men and 30 women to wear the same white cotton T-shirts for 3 consecutive nights, and also having 100 men and 100 women smell a shirt before describing the personality of the person who wore it.
They then asked Volunteers to accurately guess if the T-shirt belonged to someone extroverted, dominant, or neurotic. They found no correlation between scent and agreeableness, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. This meant that people could pick out certain personality traits based only on smell.
Your Odour Says A Lot About Your Health
While diseases don’t necessarily add to your odourprint, it adds to it once you fall sick. Animals just like gum and produce odours that are indicative of disease but scientists don’t yet know the exact mechanism through which disease affects scent.
In a study published in European Urology, a dog trained to recognise the smell of prostate cancer correctly identified 30 of 33 prostate cancer patients from the smell of their urine. And even humans can sometimes recognize when a person is sick based on their noses
But despite the fact that diseases like cancer and diabetes are known to change a person’s smell, it hasn’t helped much with diagnosis. It is hoped that odourprints will help in diagnosis of diseases in the future.