"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Babies smell good, teenagers stink

March 22, 2024 – Have you ever wondered how your sweet-smelling baby become a smelly teenager? Scientists in Germany can have found a solution: says a small study Published in Communication chemistry.

The scientists sewed small cotton patches into the armpits of T-shirts worn by 18 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, and bodysuits worn by as many toddlers under 3 years old. The people within the study wore the garments overnight and were told to not eat fragrant foods like garlic or onions.

The patches were taken to a laboratory and analyzed using chromatography-mass spectrometry, gas chromatography-olfactometry, and the great old human nose.

Researchers found that the teenagers were exuding two steroid compounds while the little ones weren't because that they had entered puberty and their sweat glands had began working.

These compounds have been described as smelling like cheese, urine, sandalwood, and an animal generally considered smelly: goats.

In comparison, toddlers smelled wonderful – like flowers, soap and violets.

Scientists theorized that changing body odor has a purpose. Parents need to stay near a good-smelling baby, which they'll often recognize by smell. But parents will probably want to create distance from an adolescent who's craving for more independence and doesn't exactly smell good.

“Have you ever held a baby in your arms and noticed a pleasant smell, followed by the urge to hold him even tighter and cuddle him even more? Or, on the contrary, I entered a teenager's room and smelled a rather unpleasant odor and decided to give him the privacy that teenagers usually want?” the scientists wrote in a press release. “Body odors change as children develop and influence interpersonal communication with their parents.”