General Question

rosedog's avatar

What causes 'old man' smell?

Asked by rosedog (225points) September 14th, 2007
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

hossman's avatar

And people think I ask uncomfortable questions. Ewww, now I have the heebie jeebies.

klaas4's avatar

What do you mean with old man: a grandpa or old man living out on the street? I personally think my grandfather doesn’t smell bad…

jrpowell's avatar

My grandpa (R.I.P.) always smelled of Old Spice.. I miss it.

TruMobius's avatar

Dust….and disuse.

Dust is made up of mostly human skin anyways, so years and years of all this human skin builds up rots and such and you have the old woman/man smell.

joli's avatar

I hate to say it but it is decay. Elderly people who have no caregivers, or lazy ones, tend to not have their fragile dry skin cleansed properly nor provided proper diets with supplements. The skin gets crusty and flakes, but stays put even though it is not living per say. Dead decaying cells. I’ve worked with a lot of old people. Clothing tends to be taken from the closet to wear then put back in for the next time so it is full of dead tissues as well. The body stops sweating to retain what little moisture it can so there’s no inner cleansing either.

Poser's avatar

A combination of Brylcreem and Werther’s hard candy.

Seriously, though, as people age, their skin produces a larger amount of a chemical called noneal, which is what you smell.

gailcalled's avatar

My mother is 92 and smells just fine. Of course, she has all her marbles, showers, shampoos, uses lubricating cream, does her laundry and changes her clothes on schedule. Her male friends in her residential community have aged skin and sun damage, but they smell just fine also They are lucky, of course, to have the resources to live in a managed community w. housekeeping, communal dining and socializing and ancillary medical services.

And I think that the elderly who get sloppy are not lazy but depleted and exhausted.

My grandpa, an immigrant from Lithuania who lived into his nineties, always smelled like salami, pickles, cigars and schnaaps. I loved that smell.

ava's avatar

I know it sounds gross, but I think the answer to your question is urine. A lot of the elderly have bladder control problems…they may have to wear diapers which retain the smell. I think it is a combination of what people said above and urine smell.

joli's avatar

I mean’t the caregivers are lazy, Gail, not the elderly! I would be the last person to say that. I read somewhere that if you want to know what it’s like to be old, put pebbles in your shoes and wipe vaseline on your glasses.

wolfman's avatar

Depends !!!! :-)

mlw32785's avatar

you know i never really thought about this before. good question. i think it’s just age after a while.

supermum's avatar

It is nothing to do with personal hygiene. Some comments here are very derogatory and obviously opionionated.

gailcalled's avatar

@mlw32785: Most of the elderly practice good hygiene and do not smell. Many young people who sweat and don’t bathe have a very unlovely aroma. Can we make generalities? I don’t think so. The question is ridiculous and bigoted.

PacificRimjob's avatar

It is the toxic leftovers from multiple medications exiting via the skins pores.


gailcalled's avatar


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