Oh dear. This is the first time this question has come up, but it is not one that is unfamiliar from a chemistry standpoint. It has to do with individual physiology.
Metal has no smell. When metal comes into contact with skin, it catalyzes reactions among the organic molecules that coat our bodies. When skin oils are exposed to iron and copper, they produce unpleasant smelling aldehydes and ketones.
For example, touching iron can produce the ketone 1-octen-3-one, which has a metallic, musty odor. The most common example is when you hold coins in your hand. The coins have no inherent smell. When we touch them, the metals immediately react with our skin to produce a new odor. Touch copper or steel in particular and the aromatic compounds (aldehydes and ketones) instantly appear when skin oils react with the metals.
Personal products, including cosmetics, contain metallic compounds for a variety of benefits, including color and UV protection. The source is of no consequence; the result is the same.
If you detect a metallic aroma on your skin, it is your personal chemistry at work. Just as everyone has a unique body odor (cue the bloodhounds…), so also do individuals create subtly distinctive metallic smells when they touch coins, or other materials that may contain a metallic component. Some folks barely react at all, while others develop more intense reactions that are discernible.
The good news is that rarely is it detected by anyone else unless in very close proximity. Alas, your nose is as close to you as it can get and becomes a personal metal detector. Your skin chemistry, combined with a sensitive nose, is bringing this to the fore.
And once something is noticed, you become even more attuned to noticing it in the future. Your sense of smell is the most powerful of your senses when it comes to memories, so it is doing what it does.
Body odors, as well as sensitivity to odors in general, change with age and circumstances. Hormonal changes are the most common; any woman who has ever been pregnant understands a heightened sensitivity to smells. Chemotherapy patients experience intense sensitivity to even minimal fragrance. (We stock unscented soap particularly for cancer patients.)
As we age, hormones change and thus the interaction of skin oils with external substances also changes. Antibiotics, diet, surgery, vitamin deficiencies, colds, infections, and medications are some other sources of altered physiological patterns.
Combat metals with acid. Internally, focus on acidic foods and sour flavors (citrus juices, lemons, coffee, and vinegar). Drink lots of water. You may have a vitamin deficiency, so add supplements to your diet, particularly B vitamins.
Externally, the simplest solution just might be a matter of altering the pH of your skin. Use pH balanced shampoos and conditioners. (The more foam, the more likely a product contains alkaline detergents.)
In particular, products with alpha hydroxyl acids prevent dehydration and promote a healthy acid mantle. It is for this very reason that the Abbey utilizes alpha hydroxyl acids in many of its formulations, but especially its cleansers and toners. Your skin will be happy, you will be happy, and your nose will be happy.
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