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... a woman i work with is only in her mid to late 50's but has the old person smell... she lives in in her old Mum's house and dresses like an old woman ... "WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT OLD PEOPLE SMELL OF?
This distinctive odor of elderly persons results from the accumulation of omega-7 fatty acids in the sebum glands of the skin ... these fatty acids become palmitoleic acid on the skin, but only in persons aged 40 and older.
Over time, this fatty acid is broken down by bacteria inhabiting the skin or by lipid peroxides (which are present in larger quantities in older people), producing a substance called nonenal that "has an unpleasant and greasy odor with a grassy nuance*." A common smell closely approximating this odor is that of old books.
...and why do old ladies have purple hair ?
The ability to see blue decreases with age due to the development of cataracts, so an older woman perceives her uncolored hair to have a yellow-tinge, and the blue rinse brings the color back to a perceived normal color in their eyes.