London: Have you ever wondered why it often becomes difficult to buy perfume for others? This is because your choice of fragrance is influenced by your own body odour, says a new study.
Researchers have claimed that rather than using perfumes and aftershave to mask the smells produced by their bodies, people select fragrances to enhance their own natural scent, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
They have found that when people choose their own perfume and it is mixed with their own body odour, the resulting smell is rated as being more pleasant and attractive by others than when a perfume is imposed upon individuals.
Dr Jan Havlicek, an anthropologist at Charles University in Prague, who led the study, said: "Perfumes have been used by people for thousands of years and the prevailing view has been that this was to mask our natural body odour to make us smell more attractive.
"In fact, what we have found is there is a strong individual interaction between perfume and body odour. People choose fragrances to complement their own odour. It is probably why buying perfume as a gift is so difficult and why they end up lying in the bathroom not being used."
For their study, the researchers asked 12 volunteers to spray a perfume they had chosen themselves into one of their armpits and another perfume that had been randomly chosen for them into the other before swabs were taken.
The subjects were then rated by a panel of 21 women. The researchers found that the women consistently found the smells more attractive and pleasant when the fragrance was one the volunteer had chosen themselves.
Professor Tim Jacob, an expert on smell at Cardiff University, added: "Our own personal body odour is determined by our immune system. Indeed we tend to be attracted to the smell of people who have different immune systems to ourselves and we don`t like the smell of those who have a different immune system.
"This makes sense from a biological point of view as it has obvious advantages for our children who would inherit a combination of both immune systems.
"There is statistical correlation that shows there is a link between our immunotype and our fragrance preference. It seems that you chose the perfume that reflects your immune system."