Ever eaten too much garlic, then smelled it wafting through your pores hours later? Imagine then, imbibing a concoction that produces the scent of aromatic flowers, herbs, or spices, much like perfume does. A new company out of Amsterdam is developing a “digestible scented capsule” that turns your epidermis into an atomizer. “Swallowable Parfum,” according to founders Lucy McRae and Sheref Mansy, uses the body’s natural processes to excrete fragrance molecules through the skin through perspiration, leaving tiny droplets of scent that are unique to the individual’s physical and emotional state. Although still in its salad days—and pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, of course—the technology could revolutionize the fragrance industry by personalizing scents based on your body chemistry.
SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY
“In a status-driven world where we are free to make our own choices, have access to infinite knowledge and information, and where anything is seemingly possible, we constantly seek out new ways to communicate our uniqueness and express individuality,” says McRae, an Australian artist who spent four years working as a “body architect” at Philips Design.
Once the capsule is ingested, the body’s fat-metabolizing enzymes break apart the lipids to release the fragrance molecules embedded within.
Together with Mansy, a synthetic biologist, McRae developed an edible capsule comprising synthesized lipid molecules that mimic the structure of fat molecules naturally found in the body. Once the capsule is ingested, the body’s fat-metabolizing enzymes break apart the lipids to release the fragrance molecules locked within. “Subsequently, the liberated fragrant molecules are excreted through the skin’s surface during perspiration,” McRae adds. The aroma’s potency depends on your body’s temperature, stress levels, or even state of sexual arousal.
As with anything we consume, health concerns abound. Is it safe? Will the molecules remain trapped in your body if you’re the non-sweaty types? Will undigested lipids be metabolized along with everything else? The capsule, says McRae, is part of her ongoing exploration into redefining the role of skin. We’ll await the results with bated breaths.