April 8, 2009

Women more sensitive to body odor

It is a lot more difficult to mask underarm odor from women's noses than men's noses, U.S. researchers said.

The study, published online in the Flavour and Fragrance Journal, found underarm odors sniffed alone smelled equally strong to men and women. But while only two of 32 scents successfully blocked underarm odor from women's noses, 19 fragrances reduced the strength of underarm odor for men.

Lead author Charles J. Wysocki at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, an independent non-profit basic research institute in Philadelphia, said earlier studies find men and women didn't differ in smelling abilities when it came to non-body odors.

Wysocki said that it is quite difficult to block a woman's awareness of body odor, in contrast, it seems rather easy to do so in men.

Taken together, our studies indicate that human sweat conveys information that is of particular importance to females, Wysocki said in a statement.

This may be, the researchers speculate, biologically relevant information used to choose a mate.