Shiseido says our bodies produce a very distinct odor when we feel the effects of stress.

The human body is full of all kinds of bacteria, fluids, and gases resulting in a virtual wonderland of odors and emissions. And it’s the job of fragrance producers like Japan’s Shiseido to hunt down and isolate these smells so that they may deal with them accordingly.

Shiseido is the company that made headlines a few years ago by successfully isolating the smell people tend to develop as they age and attributing it to the chemical 2-nonenal. They even formalized the term “old-age smell” (kareishu) in Japanese.

Now they’re at it again with the revelation of “stress smell” (sutoresushu), which as the name suggests is an odor that people emit when they experience tense situations.

So, when you go on stage to deliver a speech to hundreds or take your college entrance exams, what is that special smell emitting from your very skin?

According to Shiseido it’s a substance they dubbed ST Thiodimethane which is made up of two different compounds. First, is allyl mercaptan is an organic compound containing sulfur which can be found in garlic. Second, is dimethyl trisulfide, another organosulfur compound associated with a number of scents from cooked onion to stale beer.

Dimethyl trisulfide is also one of the key compounds used by the dead horse arum lily. This fascinating plant faithfully mimics the anus of a dead animal both in appearance and smell in order to attract flies which aid in its pollination.

Looking back on those job interviews I didn’t get, I guess it really had less to do with my “lack of experience” and more because I actually smelled faintly like a dead horse’s butt stuffed with garlic. Thanks Shiseido!

Others were also fascinated by the news online:

“Yeah I know a few people who smell like that.”
“Hmm, I smell like garlic all the time but I’m pretty relaxed.”
“When I was a child I always thought I smelled different when I was bullied. Maybe this was it?”
“I was more comfortable not knowing this.”
“They’ll probably just make something to erase the stress smell when really we need something to erase the stress.”

Indeed, Shiseido says they are planning to use this newfound knowledge to improve their line of personal care products from deodorants to soaps for use in unusually tense situations. However, considering they promised a shampoo that would cure baldness this year and have yet to deliver, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

…Actually, I will hold my breath because – you know, dead horse anus.

Source: NTV News 24, Otakomu
Top Image: Pakutaso
Insert images: PR Times, Wikipedia/Ingemar Johansson