The Scent of Youth

The HCO Phenomenon

How a new cosmetic brand “Mirai” is embracing nature to deal with aging odor, a phenomenon everybody knows but nobody talks about.

Image of article: The HCO Phenomenon
Copyright: Mirai Clinical

Adolescent looks the longest possible

Organic lifestyle also obliges to talk about issues which are not normally talked about. However, improving your lifestyle is first of all about being aware about what we are and being honest to ourselves. Anti-aging products have always been an economic success. We, women as well as men, try to conserve our adolescent looks the longest possible. It is a balancing act to age gracefully and to do as much as we can to stay young. And, as in so many other cases, the answer to this balancing act is given my nature. This article provides an example about a phenomenon which everybody is aware of, which is not talked about, which is a direct consequence of aging and which is literally solved by one mother nature’s fruit.

Aging Odor

It is common knowledge that an unpleasant odor is frequently noticed in nursing homes or simply when we meet our grandparents. Even if they use a lot of perfume there is a particular smell which older people may have in common. This odor, sometimes referred to as "aging odor", has been incorrectly attributed to improper facilities cleaning, or incontinence and other ailments of the patients. The problem has been particularly substantial in Japan, which has a culture of cleanliness as well as disproportionately ageing population.

The “HCO” Problem

In order to describe the roots of the problem we need to take advantage of basic biology and chemical classes. Researchers in Japan discovered that, contrary to popular belief, human perspiration has two components secreted by two distinct glands, both feeding into pores on our skin. Sweat glands secrete "sweat", comprised of water and minerals, while sebaceous glands secrete lipid acids. "Perspiration", mainly is the combination of the two substances, and it is not synonymous with "sweat".

Why do old people smell and what nature can do!

The minerals and water from our sweat are a fertile environment for bacterial growth, which is the source of traditional body odor. Separately, the lipid acids we secrete "oxidize" with oxygen in the air, and transform into a different compound, which produces its own odor. The researchers who discovered the phenomenon found that the stale smelling compound is "Nonenal".

Our skin produces more lipid acids and hence nonenal as we age. By approximately age 40 our nonenal odor is readily detectable by normal people's sense of smell. Then, as we pass mid-life hormone change, nonenal production skyrockets. This hormone change odor ("HCO"), not facilities or personal hygiene, is the cause of "aging smell". Since bacterial odor emanates from dried sweat, which is water based, it is easily removed by bathing with soap and water. However, lipid acids and nonenal are not water soluble, and remain despite intense scrubbing. This explains why HCO persists in even the cleanest environments inhabited by older people.

The Solution

Japanese researchers found that the substance dissolves when exposed to the natural tannic acid contained in the Japanese persimmon fruit. In the same way that lemon juice is often used to counteract fish odor, Japanese persimmon extract can be used to counteract HCO. 

Mirai Clinical, a company which intends to bring awareness about and the antidote to aging odor in the US and around the world, carried the research further, developing its proprietary blend of Japanese persimmon extract and green tea, which is the basis of Mirai Clinical's HCO product range. Persimmon based personal hygiene products are now used by one third of Japan's almost 130 million people. It is a good example of how progress in research, open-mindedness, societal trends and the embrace of nature can come up with such a product. 

08.06.2014 · 11:28 · Author: Sven Christopher Wagner · Category: Cosmetics/Wellness
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