In this tropical weather, perfumes are such necessities especially when we consider how even the lightest of walks might just end up in us fanning ourselves to avoid those unsightly pit stains and foul-smelling stench. I will admit, I practise the habit of carrying a small little vial of perfume to reapply each time I return to the office even after a short walk outdoors. It is so convenient and it makes the office a much more habitable environment to be in.

But have you ever had a colleague walked by with a distinctive scent that piques all your senses? Your first thought would be something along the lines of “I want to smell exactly like that as well”. What follows after is the poking and quizzing of your colleague, but when we actually dress ourselves in that same perfume, it just doesn’t smell the same. Why is that so?

What scientists have discovered is that upon application of a perfume, the fragrance is not the only scent our nose picks up. Since each individual has a unique natural aroma, the perfume that we spritz on ourselves interact with it and it could either sweeten, mask or turn it into a stinging stench.


What Influences Your Body’s Natural Aroma?

First let us talk about body odour, that starts when bacteria begins to breed within the moist and sweaty regions of our body. The common suspects are our armpits and our pubic areas but contrary to fact, it is not the bacteria that smell — that putrid odour is what happens when the bacteria reacts with the proteins in our sweat and turns that into acid.

Our body has two types of sweat glands and some knowledge of that would enable you to know what causes that stench. Eccrine glands are the ones found all over our skin and they force sweat onto the topmost surface of our skin to help our body cool down as the sweat evaporates. But since the sweat formed by eccrine glands have a higher salt content, the bacteria have a harder time breaking down the protein and it doesn’t generate that strong a smell. Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are only established at certain parts of our body like our armpits and the area surrounding our pubic parts. The fundamental difference between the sweat between the two glands is that sweat from the apocrine glands have a much higher protein content and when the bacteria interact and breaks that down, a foul scent wafts through the air.

Have you ever wondered why some people have a much stronger body odour while some don’t? That is all down to factors like being overweight, eating spicy food, stress and even genetics. On that same train of thought, that unique body aroma that we all own runs on that same logic. Even when we don’t sweat, that aroma originates from similar factors like our hormones, our diet, medication and even day-to-day habits like smoking or sipping tea. That is why more companies are now going down the line of creating unique scents that cater to one’s skin type and aroma.


How Do You Choose The Right Perfume?

Nothing beats going down to a perfumier since you would either be able to find a scent that perfectly balances with your personal scent or have the perfumier craft a constructed blend of scents that would harmonise and enhance the aroma of your skin. The point here is not to mask the aroma of the skin but to bring out and let your body’s natural fragrance own the stage. Whether you have dry or oily skin, there will be something for you that would help you smell like a peach.

If you have oily skin, you are in luck since the natural oils that your body manufactures allows the perfume to last longer. Those natural oils are what the fragrance oils can hang onto and that enables it to project the scent better. Since your skin is able to hold onto scents for much longer, perfumiers often suggest floral or citrus notes as they would not be overbearing to the senses. What you should avoid would be perfumes with a dark and musky scent since the intensity would be much stronger.

In contrast, those with drier skin would find their perfume wearing off faster in a matter of hours due to the lack of oil on the skin. Thus, the lighter and floral notes would often dissipate faster and this is why those with drier skin would certainly benefit from stronger perfumes that have musky and woody undertones. Due to the intensity and potency of heavier perfumes, the scent would last much longer.


How Should You Apply Perfume?

If you are one of those who enjoys adding a light spritz of perfume on the insides of your wrists before rubbing them together, stop that habit right now! That only alters the scent since the rubbing generates heat and causes the notes to evaporate faster. The same goes for those who spritz their perfume on skin that is exposed to sunlight. Since perfume contains alcohol, our perfume-coated skin are much more sensitive to sunlight and would increase the probability of getting sunburn. What comes after is the wrinkles, ugly pigmentation and even skin cancer *gasps*! What you should do instead is to spray them onto the skin beneath your clothes for the scent to linger and for you to smell at your very best. Who knew that where we spritz our perfume matters?