Body Odour & Hygiene Habits

MrRING

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Do Old Men Smell?
By: Calvin Sims

Behold, the Fragrant Japanese Man!

SAKA, Japan -- Daijiro Karasawa, a 49-year-old auditor, never gave the matter much thought until he witnessed a small drama on the bullet train.

Karasawa saw two college women laughing and holding their noses as a businessman, about his age, walked down the aisle looking for a seat. A few days later, a defensive Karasawa bought a designer cologne that he now rubs on his wrists and behind his ears before his frequent trips between Osaka and Tokyo.

"I am a very clean person, and in my mind I know that I don't smell," Karasawa said. "But I'm wearing fragrance for the first time in my life, to eliminate any chance that I might offend someone."

Karasawa volunteered the information after a reporter asked him to translate a newspaper ad for a line of cosmetics boasting a secret ingredient that supposedly reduces a body odor that afflicts older people. The experience of Karasawa is like that of many other men in this hyper-hygienic nation.

The trend started after Japan's largest cosmetics maker, Shiseido, discovered a substance that causes body odor in people over 40, and particularly middle-aged men. That discovery has led to a whole range of lucrative products. For Shiseido, the product introduction, which it says is not limited in appeal to men over 40, was one of the most successful in its history.

Shoji Nakamura, the Shiseido perfumer who discovered the offending agent, called noneal, said, "Our data shows that older women and men produce the same amount but that we smell more odor coming from men, because they tend to be less hygienic."

In September, Shiseido introduced a line of shampoos, lotions and deodorants to curb the breakdown of the fatty acid in skin that causes noneal. Noneal, described as having a "greasy, grassy odor," is rarely found in the body odor of people in their 20s and 30s, the researchers say, but increases in volume and strength with aging.

Shiseido said that sales of the new product line, called Care Garden, had been more than five times its initial target. "It's mainly salary men in their 50s who are buying it," said Kyoko Asakura, manager for Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a discount drugstore in the Ginza, Tokyo's premier shopping district. "Many of them come into the store and shyly ask for the product that takes away old man's smell."

Like Americans, Japanese are happy to make consumer products companies rich by spending money on every sort of nostrum to bolster one's social appeal. Everywhere one looks in Japan, for instance, in magazines, newspapers and store windows and on billboards and television, there are advertisements for products that rid the body of odor.

Elizabeth Arden is marketing the Lip Lip Hooray line of lipsticks that contains citric acid, which the company says neutralizes the sulfuric compounds that can cause halitosis. The SSK Corp. has a line of T-shirts that contain deodorant fibers that it says eliminates odors when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Not everyone thinks Japan's preoccupation is healthy. Koichiro Fujita, a professor of immunology at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, said that while the Japanese have long been attentive to personal hygiene, they have become "slaves to smell," snarled by the barrage of advertising by deodorant producers.

"The marketers have brainwashed people to be afraid of their own smell, which is supposed to be something natural, something that as a living creature is a way of asserting I am here," Fujita said. "Our country is suffering from super cleanliness syndrome, and it's so extreme that even elementary school children are afraid they will be teased or bullied."

Fujita said that too much cleanliness actually reduced the body's ability to fight infections and that some bacteria was valuable. His book, "Cleanliness Is a Sickness," has sold 30,000 copies.

But Harueko Kato, a sociologist at Tokyo Women's Christian University, sees nothing to complain about.

"Before these products were created, the norm for Japanese men was to wear that awful smelling hair tonic," and that was the extent of their grooming, she said. "Today, whether it's in the office, subway trains, or at home, Japanese men want to be liked, so they are trying to improve their image, and I think it's great."
 

liveinabin

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I was stood in the shower this morning and I thought about a part of an item on Tudor Monastery Farm last week. As part of that program they talked about personal hygiene. They said that to have a bath was unusual as the water just wasn't clean and people didn't think that they would get clean from it. They thought that it would get into their pores and make them ill. So they just wiped themselves over with a dry cloth. To clean their hair they combed it twice a day.

So this got me thinking. Things that smell bad are bad for us; off food, faeces and stagnant water for example. People who don't wash often smell bad to us too, but is this a modern sensibility? I remember when it was standard to have a bath once a week, on bath night. Now most people have a shower every day. The idea of underarm deodorant is a fairly new one, as is the concept of BO. Have our modern ways of life changed our idea of what smells bad?

It is often said that people from Japan find that people from the west smell of off milk. I can confirm that this is true. After just two weeks visiting Japan I noticed that people when I got back smelt of off milk.

I guess what I'm saying is that to our modern nostrils people in Tudor times would smell dreadful, but would they smell just fine to people living then? Would we think that they smell bad because to us unwashed means unhealthy?
 

Mythopoeika

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I seem to recall we may have discussed this on another thread a while ago.

Yes, I would say that in the past, people just got used to the smell and learned to screen it out.
These days, as most people wash frequently, it's a lot easier to notice someone who hasn't washed - because they may be the one person in a room radiating a natural human smell. If everybody in a room hadn't washed, nobody would notice.

Before civilisation, it's possible that humans did not wash - ever. Think of the stink!
 

JamesWhitehead

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The poor were expected to be "shitten" in Medieval times but I seem to recall there were bath-houses or stews. At times of plague, they were shut down. As with today's massage parlours, the main attraction was probably not the advertised service.

I'm off out but the reference is probably in a book called The Medieval Underworld. :)
 

Urvogel

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I think Myth is right, it's just that you get used to the smell.

People who smoke for instance don't realise how vile it smells because they're used to it, but when they give up they often can't stand the smell of smoke anymore. It's the same with people who work in industries where they're exposed to strong smells, your nose becomes inured to it.

If the population has a whole didn't wash I imagine people didn't notice because everybody smelt like that. But in modern times where the vast majority wash regularly, when someone doesn't it stands out more.
 

RyoHazuki

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This is purely my own speculation, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone who lived in a relatively unpolluted environment didn't actually suffer the same kind of BO that we're familiar with.
 

liveinabin

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An interesting point.
I wonder if their diet would have made a difference too?
 

Analogue Boy

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It must have been a problem for them.
The first mention of the Pomander appears in the 13th century.

Wiki>

A pomander, from French pomme d'ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to modify bad smells.[1] The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or belt, or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume.

The term “pomander” can be for the actual scented material itself or for the container that contains the scented material.[2][3][4] The container could have been made of gold or silver. Pomander can be a bag containing fragrant herbs. Pomanders were an early form of aromatherapy.
There's even a recipe from Nostradamus on how to make one!!!!

Michel de Nostredame had a similar method and formula using about the same ingredients as above. His method for making aromatic balls:

The very first step was to make "rose tablets" by gathering a pound of roses without the flower heads, and seven ounces of ground benzoin. You were to put the roses soaking in deer musk water for a night. Then remove those roses afterwards and thoroughly squeeze out the water. Then grind them with the benzoin. And when grinding, put it with a quarter of ambergris and another of civet musk. After they were ground, you make tablets and put each one between two rose petals. Then you dry the tablets away from the sun.

The next major step was to take two ounces of the purest labdanum, an ounce each of Styrax calamites and benzoin, half an ounce of the previously made "rose tablets", one ounce of violet powder, and half a dram each ambergris and musk.

Next step Nostradmus says is to grind it all into a powder. Then knead it together with the rose-mixture mentioned just above for an hour and you will have an aromatic ball of the most supreme perfume, and the longest-lasting that can be made anywhere in the world.
Nostradamus' recipe is a long way away from the Lynx effect (or was it?) but the carrying of pomanders shows that in medieval times, they were very conscious of smells and sought to mask them.
 

Mythopoeika

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This may be why many people in the Middle East wear such a lot of strong-smelling perfume. They sweat a lot in the heat, and clean water for bathing in isn't particularly available - it's usually reserved for drinking.
 

rynner2

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liveinabin1 said:
An interesting point.
I wonder if their diet would have made a difference too?
Almost certainly. My skin smells of garlic if I've eaten something particularly garlicious.

And I've noticed the smell of my urine often reflects what I've recently eaten too.
 

ChrisBoardman

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I remember once somebody wrote a question to a magazine, "why does my urine smell of sugar puffs?"

Strangely, I have smelt this myself at times.
 

Heckler

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ChrisBoardman said:
I remember once somebody wrote a question to a magazine, "why does my urine smell of sugar puffs?"

Strangely, I have smelt this myself at times.
More importantly why does sugar puffs smell of peoples' urine?
 

ramonmercado

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Heckler20 said:
ChrisBoardman said:
I remember once somebody wrote a question to a magazine, "why does my urine smell of sugar puffs?"

Strangely, I have smelt this myself at times.

Pisstachio nuts in them?
 

Mythopoeika

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ChrisBoardman said:
I remember once somebody wrote a question to a magazine, "why does my urine smell of sugar puffs?"

Strangely, I have smelt this myself at times.
Sounds like it could be excess sugar in your urine. Just guessing, probably happens after you've been on the lagers?
 

Gwenar

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I saw this article linked through io9.com - Teacher Informs Parents About Their Stinky Kids, Parents Freak Out

The teacher sent this notice:

PLEASE READ [double-underlined, FOR EMPHASIS]

Several children in Pre-K ages 3-4 are coming to school (sometimes daily) with soiled, stained, or dirty clothes. Some give off unpleasant smells and some appear unclean and unkept.

Parents please take care of this matter. It is a health and safety concern. It also makes it difficult for me to be close to them or even want to touch them.

Enough said

Please sign and return so I know you've read this…
Then, in the comments, many people were recommending daily baths for children that age. Which, ok, fine - we didn't do that when we were young. Personally, I thought it was bad for their skin.

The real point is that daily bathing won't help with the fact that children that age are bundles of snot, feces, urine, spilled milk and whatever they've managed to sit in or wipe on themselves in the last few seconds.

Have modern noses become so sensitive that they can't stomach the scent of toddlers?[/quote]
 

Mythopoeika

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I think that some people have indeed forgotten that young children do very quickly become dirty and in some cases turn up at school in that condition. It's normal.
I remember rolling about in piles of leaves with other kids on the walk to school when I was very young, during autumn time. Before the day had started, I'd be filthy!
 

Cherrybomb

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I've thought about this in the past, as I work with someone who often smells badly of BO. Would I have even noticed it if I was working with him, say, 100 years ago?

Also, I remember as a kid we only had one bath a week, on Sunday night, ready for the week of school ahead. I was shocked to hear school pals talking about having a shower each morning! It seemed like a real waste of sleep time to the 8 year old me. :lol:
 

RyoHazuki

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I know a primary school teacher who actually sprays the more 'fragrant' children in her class with Febreeze. Probably saves the parents money on detergent, too.
 

liveinabin

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I work with very young, 4 - 5 year old, children in an area with some serious deprivation. I can honestly say that I have never had a child in my class who smelt bad. The might have mucky clothes on, but as said above, some children can leave home pristine and arrive at school looking a mess.

Those approaching their teenage years at the top of the school create a dreadful stink. Not on their own, but a collective fug left in the room after them.
 

Mythopoeika

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liveinabin1 said:
Those approaching their teenage years at the top of the school create a dreadful stink. Not on their own, but a collective fug left in the room after them.
Mostly hormones, I think.
I remember when I trained 16-18 year olds back in the 80s, there was one lad who smelt particularly bad. When he'd left a room, you'd know he'd been there earlier.
He stank the whole training centre out on a few occasions, with a smell like a stale burger.
He never looked filthy, although he was quite spotty and greasy.
Boss had a quiet word with him about it, and he finally explained that he was on a course of testosterone because he wasn't 'developing'.
 

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An acquaintance of mine once had a summer job on a crew repairing hiking trails in the Appalachian mountains – removing fallen trees, repairing erosion. They backpacked for 3 weeks at a time, food and mail were brought in to them every few days on horseback. It was hot and humid. As they had to carry everything on their backs they brought few changes of clothes. They could bathe in a sense in the occasional stream – soap being prohibited - but mostly they just reeked. They got quite used to themselves. But when normal hikers passed by they smelled very strongly and unpleasantly of soap, laundry detergent, and various chemical residues.
 

Gwenar

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IamSundog said:
An acquaintance of mine once had a summer job on a crew repairing hiking trails in the Appalachian mountains – removing fallen trees, repairing erosion. They backpacked for 3 weeks at a time, food and mail were brought in to them every few days on horseback. It was hot and humid. As they had to carry everything on their backs they brought few changes of clothes. They could bathe in a sense in the occasional stream – soap being prohibited - but mostly they just reeked. They got quite used to themselves. But when normal hikers passed by they smelled very strongly and unpleasantly of soap, laundry detergent, and various chemical residues.
Yes! I didn't wear deodorant when I was in High School. It sounds gross, but I didn't need it. As proof, I was asked out all the time and as quiet as I was, was literally never without people wanting to hang out with me. I found it bewildering, and now I believe it was pheromones. I smelled like a human teenage girl.

But I hated, just hated, getting on the bus morning. It smelled so strongly of hairspray, soap, deodorant and perfume. It was sickening.
 

rjmrjmrjm

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I feel sorry for the italian train conductor who had to enter our compartment when we went Inter-Railing. Six nineteen year old lads who had been camping, sleeping on trains and living off beer and cheap food for weeks couldn't have been very pleasant.
 

Urvogel

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jimv1 said:
It must have been a problem for them.
The first mention of the Pomander appears in the 13th century.
Maybe people carried them around just because they liked the smell, rather than covering up an existing bad one? The smell of citrus/lavender/rose etc is bound to smell nicer than just the regular air, maybe drowning out bad smells was just an added bonus.

Gwenar said:
Have modern noses become so sensitive that they can't stomach the scent of toddlers?
As horrible as it sounds you can always tell if someone has young children. The parents have a certain...musk about them. Same with houses really, even if a house has been cleaned from top to toe you can always tell if children live there. It's like it's seeped into the walls. The smell that is, not the children. If children are seeping into your walls you have whole lot worse of a problem...
 

AsamiYamazaki

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I assumed pomanders were more to overpower the smell of poo etc. bearing in mind it all got chucked into the street. And to ward off miasma maybe. Not because they smelled nice. I think people had more to worry about than carrying mobile pot pourri.

When I was at first school we had a couple of very stinky children in our class - they'd always get called fleabags. I wonder if teachers nowadays make a point of cleanliness to help reduce cases of bullying. If a child is very neglected or there are serious problems at home, then I imagine hygiene and smell could be a big problem.

I've never noticed houses with young children smelling.
 

Gwenar

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I also thought medieval pomanders were plague preventatives. You know, because plague is carried on currents of evil air or miasma. Then I started reading the Father Athelston mystery series and the author describes people using them to ward off the smell of open, street level sewers. I don't know how carefully he researched them.

As far as parents being more careful with hygiene today, I think it's a mixed bag. We have so many households with both parents working, and some just get tired of the daily argument. You can lead your children to water, but you can't make them use soap and toothpaste.
 

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I've never noticed houses with young children smelling.
Me either, unless there's a diaper pail that needs attending to.

On the other hand, I now have several teenage boys in the house and often several teammates staying over, and getting back to Call of Duty consistently takes priority over putting their sports gear in the laundry hamper.
 

Urvogel

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IamSundog said:
I've never noticed houses with young children smelling.
Me either, unless there's a diaper pail that needs attending to.
I don't mean a stinky smell, more that it's a smell of children. I dunno how to describe it, but it's a certain scent or musk.

I'm now starting to worry that I'm sounding like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Band Bang :shock: "Children, I smell children..."
 

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Urvogel said:
...I'm now starting to worry that I'm sounding like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Band Bang :shock: "Children, I smell children..."
I always put mustard on them - covers a multitude of sins.
 

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World’s Dirtiest Man: 80-Year-Old Iranian Man Hasn’t Bathed in 60 Years

80-year-old Haji believes that “cleanliness brings him sickness.” That’s why he hasn’t bathed at all in the past 60 years. He lives in isolation in Dejgah village, in the Southern Iranian province of Fars.

Haji hates contact with water. Even the suggestion of a bath makes him very angry. And all these years of escaping bath time have taken their toll – Haji is almost the color of earth. He has managed to completely blend in with his surroundings. In fact, it’s easy to mistake him for a rock statue if he sits very still.

It’s not just bathing that Haji dislikes. His disgust for fresh food and clean drinking water is unmistakable. Instead, he prefers his favorite meal of rotten porcupine meat. He drinks 5 liters of water a day for health purposes, but only from a large rusty oil can. He likes to fill his smoking pipe with animal feces instead of tobacco. To trim his hair he doesn’t use clippers; he just burns it off over an open flame. An old war helmet keeps his head warm during the winter.

Haji doesn’t really have a house – the earth is his home. He lives in a hole in the ground, much like a grave, to keep him grounded and in touch with the reality of life. Sometimes he sleeps in an open brick shack that the villagers constructed for him out of pity. Locally, he is known as Amou Haji. ‘Amou’ is the Farsi term of endearment for a kind old man.

Makes you think about what’s really important in life, doesn’t it?
http://www.odditycentral.com/news/world ... years.html
 
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