Scent & Body Image Perception

Having an unhealthy perception of your body image can lead to a host of mental disorders, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, low self esteem, substance abuse and suicide.

Unfortunately, the incidence of negative body image is extremely high especially among women and girls. About half of 13-year old girls said they were unhappy with their bodies. This percentage increased to almost 80% by the time they reached age 17. Among adult women, more than half are dissatisfied with their bodies, including those at a healthy weight. To make matters worse, using social media for as little as half an hour per day can make young women feel even worse about themselves.

Scent-Body Image Connection

Just as certain fragrances can influence how we perceive the size of a room, scent can have a positive or negative effect on how we evaluate our weight and body size.

According to a new study, the scent of lemon can make people feel better about their bodies, lighter and thinner. In the first part of the study, participants sat down in front of a computer. When exposed to different fragrances, they were asked to associate them with thinner or thicker silhouettes, more rounded or spiky shapes, different pitched sounds and temperatures. This revealed subconscious associations related to specific scents.

Then, participants smelled different ambient fragrances and were asked to adjust a body avatar to match their body size. People who smelled lemon scent saw themselves as thinner; when exposed to vanilla, they saw themselves as heavier.

This finding has a number of applications. It can result in therapies for people with body perception disorders, including wearable devices that can improve self esteem. For example, if you or someone in your family has body image issues, try diffusing a lemon fragrance at home. This research also has interesting implications for businesses and facilities that cater to girls and women in particular.

Can lemon scent or lemon blend scents make female shoppers feel more confident when trying on clothes? Since some of the symptoms of body image issues include avoiding mirrors and dressing rooms, there is a good chance that it will. An ambient lemon scent will support customers’ mental health and increase sales in your store. Win-win!

Try the following fragrances from our fragrance library or make your own lemony custom scent: