People who don’t wash yet do not smell

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by exchemist, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I thought this was interesting: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...mell-meet-the-people-who-have-stopped-washing

    It seems to revolve around ammonia-metabolising skin bacteria (which oxidise it to nitrate, apparently).

    I must admit, though, that I have some trouble believing these people have no body odour. I had always understood body odour was a natural scent with an originally biological function.

    Does anyone here know any more about this?
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    In my experience (biological stations, camping and trekking, etc) the use of deoderant - not just washing - sets a person up for a period of stench if it isn't continued. That includes deoderant soaps, etc.

    People do have natural oder, but it's nothing like the withdrawal effect from quitting regular deoderant imho.

    And clean soap - no antibacterial stuff, no oder suppressants - is not that cheap or easy for everyone to find. So people get hooked. Like the nose sprays for clearing sinuses - easy to start, hard to quit.
     
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Everyone has body odor. Your particular skin flora is what determines your odor, which in turn is affected by what you secrete - and that has to do both with diet and genetics. (Sweat itself has no odor.) Using antiperspirants and deodorants changes that odor by killing off some bacteria and reducing total sweating, so it's likely that someone who has never used deodorant products is going to have an inherently different smell than someone who uses them, then goes off them for a few days.
     
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  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    I have a story to tell about body odour, not washing or showering etc.

    Many years ago I was a farm labourer for about a year. The farm was located in a part of the country where snow, frosts. and generally cold winds were common during winter. Since the accomodation was a shearer's quarters. and since shearers didn't use them except during summer the shower blocks were uncovered, no roof.

    So personal hygiene was a bit of a problem. I personally gave up the idea. I noticed that I and my coworker didn't really smell that bad after a while.
    I've since found out that regular washing actually means you disturb the balance of populations of bacteria living on your skin; if you stop washing you will stink, but temporarily. After a month or two the populations stabilise and you only smell a bit musty (or a bit rustic, perhaps).

    Anyway, there were plenty of other smelly things around--horses, dead lambs etc. By comparison I was a bunch of roses.
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    That seems to fit with the article. I was intrigued by the experience of the guy who had trouble repopulating his skin with ammonia-metabolising bacteria: apparently he did stink until he managed to find a source of them.
     
  9. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Surprises me that anyone would use deodorants in the first place. Soap does as well ,I always assumed.(and a little odour seems no harm anyway so long as it does not broadcast inconsideration).

    Those underarm deodorants seem particularly dicey.
     

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