Since early times we have used perfume as the most intimate apparel to enhance our appeal. It clothes our skin with an invisible aura of fragrance providing it with a signature of personality and mood. Ideal fragrances are those which are a perfectly tailored match to our skin. This paper describes the methodological aspects of Givaudan-Roure’s proprietary skin odor value technology and shows how it is used by perfumers in designing “haut couture” fragrances.
Successful fragrance designers understand that skin is not just the outer layer of our body, but also a highly complex substrate. It is made up of two layers—the dermis and the epidermis. The dermal layer is the outer layer which gives skin its elasticity and appearance, and protects us against physical damage. The epidermal layer is composed of four sub-layers—the stratum corneum, the granular sub-layer, the spinous sub-layer and the basal sub-layer—and it protects us against harmful substances.
The skin substrate is further complicated by having glands embedded in it. Skin has around three million sweat glands divided into two types: the eccrine glands which cool the body by secreting an electrolytic fluid, and the apocrine glands which secrete a viscid fluid. The skin also has sebaceous glands which produce a thick oily liquid. Skin can, therefore, vary in terms of its porosity, pH and lipid level. In addition, it can differ in smoothness and temperature. It is not surprising, therefore, that a perfume which smells wonderful on a friend sometimes does not smell good on you. This difference is based upon complex fragrance-skin interactions.