The Over 60 Old People Smell.

If you have it, how to get rid of it.

John Iovine


Photo by Author

What is old people smell?

Glad you asked. First of all, it's a real thing. It’s a characteristic odor of older people. By older, I mean starting around 60 years plus. But it can occur as early as 40 years old. As we age our metabolism changes, our skin gets thinner. Our older skin has a weaker anti-oxidant capability which causes an increase in the breakdown of the skin’s natural oils into an aldehyde called 2-nonenal.

It is the nonenal compound that is responsible for the musty odor of elderly people. This smell is most noticeable in large congregations of the elderly like those found in nursing homes and other elder care facilities.

Not Always Unpleasant

Granted not everyone wants to smell musty, most dislike it, but a few like the smell. It may evoke childhood memories of visiting parents and grandparents.

In Japan old people smell is referred to as kareishu.

Interestingly some young women may be attracted to the musty smell of older men. It appears biologically reaching an older age shows beneficial genetics. In this case, that musty smell from a male can signal good genes.




John Iovine

Science writer, thinker, self-experimenter, focusing on personal development and health —