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Fragrance Dilemma, Why Can’t We Smell Ourselves?

Fragrance Dilemma, Why Can’t We Smell Ourselves?

How many times have you sprayed your favourite perfume, and after you’ve left the house it’s as though it’s evaporated into thin air?


Annoying, right? Especially when that perfume costs £100.


You may or may not be happy to know that this phenomenon is your own brain tricking you. So sneaky.


Introducing…the olfactory adaptation. Or in common terms, nose blindness. 


Here’s how nose blindness works, when you’ve been exposed to a certain smell over time, your sense of smell becomes less sensitive to that particular odor. 


Think of your house smell…you can’t, can you? Only other people will be able to smell your house smell on you because you’re so used to it, that your olfactory receptors have diminished their perception.


Nose blindness is a natural process that helps prevent sensory overload and allows us to enjoy new smells. It's pretty cool if you ask me.


Here’s the exact mechanism of nose blindness:


Exposure to odour: encountering a new smell, your nose receptors detect the molecules and send signals to your brain which interprets the scent.


Initial sensitivity: it may first be perceived as intense, especially if it’s unfamiliar or potent. (Think new perfume)


Adaptation: with prolonged exposure to the same odour, your olfactory system adapts and begins to reduce its sensitivity to that particular smell. (That same new perfume losing its intensity)


Diminished perception: as the nose blindness sets in, you may notice that the scent becomes less noticeable, perhaps even undetectable. (Think of the smell of your living environment)


Recovery: olfactory adaptation is reversible; if you remove yourself from the odour source or are exposed to different scents or a period, your sensitivity to the original odo can return and you may notice it again. (Think of your ex's perfume, sorry…I know, but it’s the best example)


Have you ever noticed when you go to buy a new perfume, they always have coffee beans? It’s to offset nose blindness so you can continue smelling new fragrances without them all blending into one fragrance. Tried and tested.


Unfortunately, the time it takes for our brain to go through this process is different for everyone so there isn’t an exact time frame. It is said that it depends on the intensity of the composition and our emotional connection to the scent. 


So…


The bad news is, you won’t be able to smell it at the same intensity as when you first tried it. 


The good news is, that your perfume still smells as beautiful as ever.


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