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Girl power, sweaty science style

Mid Brain muses:

The latest issue of of the Flavour and Fragrance Journal reveals that women are better than men when it comes to sniffing out body odor. According to researchers at the Monell institute, it’s tougher to block a woman’s sensitivity to body odor than it is for men. How do scientists know this? By sniffing vials of underarm sweat collected in the laboratory from volunteers, of course!

Sweaty sniffing

The researchers had both men and women rate the strength of underarm orders to get a Body Odor baseline. BO was rated equally strong by both sexes. Then they added different fragrances to the underarm extractions to mimic the effect of deodorants. For men, 19 of the 32 scents did a good job of covering up the body odor. In other words, it was pretty easy to fool men’s sense of smell. The women, on the other hand, were only fooled by 2 of the 32 fragrances. You go girl!

Also intriguing was the fact that women reacted differently to male and female body odors. Males scents were harder to block than female odors. Less then 20% of the fragrances could block male odors while over 50% decreased intensity of female underarm odor. So not only are women better able to detect quantitative differences in body odor, but they’re able to detect qualitative differences as well. (Hmmm, I wonder if they tested the odor of boob sweat.)

What does this mean?

The researchers theorize that women’s sense of smell has evolved to help us pick a mate by extracting biologically relevant information from sweat. According to the head researcher, “Taken together, our studies indicate that human sweat conveys information that is of particular importance to females. This may explain why it is so difficult to block women’s perception of sweat odors.” Does this means that Axe Body Spray is wasting their money on those silly ad campaigns?

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Forget what all those online dating services tell you, when it comes to choosing a mate, the nose knows!

What do YOU think? Are you sensitive to body odors? Does it bug you when a guy (or gal) skimps on the deodorant? Leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

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