Have ever gotten bleach or liquid chlorine on your hand or fingers and noticed that the smell would not go away for several days?
Yeah, me too.
I thought the smell was chloramine. I thought that the chlorine reacted with ammonia that was on my skin from sweat and it produced a chloramine and that was what I smelled. I was wrong. First of all, there is way more chlorine than ammonia so it would have destroyed the ammonia, not made a chloramine. Second, I thought washing my hands with soap and water would remove it. It didn't. It must be something else.
What we have all been smelling is L-pyrroline. L-pyrroline is formed from the amino acid L-proline when the keratin protein found in the stratum corneum layers of the skin is exposed to free chlorine or other halogens.
How much L-pyrroline is formed varies from person to person but the mechanism is the same. The degradation of skin protein is believed to begin with the rapid chlorination of a protein of an amide protein bond when the skin is exposed to chlorine. If this N-chlorination occurs adjacent to the amino acid L-proline, the ensuing protein fragmentation results in the formation of L-pyrroline. Once the N-chlorination has occurred, the formation of the odor on the skin will continue for several days.
So far I have not found anything that will remove the smell except time. If any of you have found something that will remove the smell, I would sure like to learn about it.
Another one of life's mysteries solved or at least explained. FYI Y'all.