Collection: What is Nonenal or Aging Odor?

Aging Odor, sometimes called “old people smell”, is a troublesome type of body odor, caused by a substance called Nonenal, that cannot be eliminated by conventional soaps. It can start as early as age 40.

How can you recognize nonenal?

Nonenal odor has an unpleasant grassy or greasy odor. It is often hard to detect on oneself, but will linger on fabric such as shirt collars and pillow cases. Nonenal odor often persists in confined environments, such as nursing homes, and hence is sometimes referred to as “old people’s smell”. While familiar to physicians in Japan, nonenal remains little known in the U.S. The Japanese have an open and healthy attitude towards aging odor, which they refer to as “kareishu”.

When does nonenal production start?

Usually around age 40, when the skin’s antioxidant defenses start to weaken.

How is nonenal different from regular body odor?

There are two distinctly different sources of Body Odor:

  • Sweat (apocrine and eccrine) glands which secrete “sweat”, comprised of water and organic substances that provide a fertile environment for bacterial growth. Bacterial breakdown of sweat compounds results in traditional body odor. Since sweat is water based, this type of body odor is easily removed with soap and water.
  • Sebaceous glands which produce lipids (fatty acids) which “oxidize” with oxygen in the air, and are transformed into an organic compound, Nonenal, which produces its own unique body odor. As our skin’s anti-oxident defenses naturally decrease with age, Nonenal formation–and resulting odor–may increase. Unlike sweat, lipid acids are not water soluble, and therefore remain on the skin despite intense scrubbing. This also explains why Nonenal persists in even the cleanest environments.

Does nonenal affect men and women differently?

Many women experience changes in body odor during menopause. This can be a combination of both increased sweat-based odor, as well as Nonenal-based odor, which can result in confusion and frustration when the odor cannot be easily eliminated. Hot flashes and night sweat during menopause cause excessive perspiration and increased fatty acids, resulting in Nonenal.

Swedish study showed that middle aged men often have the worst body odor amongst all age groups. This could be due to higher testosterone ratios in men and related Nonenal production.

Stress can exacerbate the production of Nonenal in both women and men.

How does persimmon extract eliminate nonenal?

Persimmon Extract (or tannin), a potent antiseptic loaded with vitamins, has been used by the Japanese for its naturally purifying and deodorizing benefits. It naturally dissolves Nonenal.

The clinical study on the left demonstrates how soaps with Persimmon Extract eliminates 97% of Nonenal instantly compared to conventional soaps.

In addition, the powerful anti-oxidant properties of purified Japanese Green Tea extends the effectiveness of the Persimmon Extract to provide all day freshness and deodorant protection.

Mirai’s superior body care products with Japanese Persimmon Extract eliminate Nonenal and other troublesome body odors instantly:
Purifying Body Wash
Purifying & Deodorizing Body Wipes
Purifying & Deodorizing Body Bar

What is the science behind nonenal?

Nonenal was identified in 2001 by the Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido, as the main source of aging body odor. Further studies are documented in the April 2001 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology: “2-Nonenal, Newly Found in Human Body Odor Tends to Increase with Aging”.

How Nonenal is Formed

  1. During menopause, as estrogen levels decrease, male hormone ratios are increased, resulting in more lipid acid (fatty acid) production in the sebaceous gland.
  2. At the same time, as skin matures, its natural antioxidant protection decreases.
  3. Palmitoleic acid in lipid acid therefore is oxidized.
  4. This results in the production of an unsaturated aldehyde, Nonenal.


Lipid Peroxidation Generates Body Odor, Journal of Biological Chemistry
Odor Associated with Aging, Anti-Aging Magazine
Download PDF: “Odor Associated with Aging” from Anti-Aging Medicine