Here’s Why You Can’t Smell Your Own Body

Sometimes, it's for the best, really

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There are times when you can be thankful you can’t smell yourself. After a run, after a weekend of Netflix in bed, after you mistakenly walked through the fragrance department of your local department store — none of these are good times to be able to sniff yourself out. But have you ever wondered why you can’t smell your own body?

According to the journal Science (by way of Nature), “The human nose can distinguish at least 1 trillion different odours, a resolution orders of magnitude beyond the previous estimate of just 10,000 scents.” But your own body isn’t one of them.

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Why is that? It’s simple. We’re tired of our own scent. Olfactory fatigue is a real thing, and prevents us from smelling ourselves.

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Reader’s Digest reports that we filter out these types of overly-familiar smells to make room for new, more important smells that could potentially save us from danger, like natural gas leaks or fire.

If you really do want to know what you smell like at any given moment, it’s been suggested that you smell your shirt or other clothing item that’s been touching your skin all day. Rubbing your scalp and then smelling your hands is another trick. Or, to make it even easier, albeit more awkward, ask whomever is standing next to you whether or not you need to hop in the shower.

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