A new study recently published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology sheds new light on the importance of skin color as a determiner of facial attractiveness. It also shows that carotenoid coloration has the upper hand over melanisation when it comes to the rules of attraction.
What puts colour in your face?
Skin colouration can arise as a result of two distinct processes, explain the team leading the research: through tanning (melanisation) or the assimilation of fruit and vegetables (carotenoid ingestion).
While it is known that red and yellow pigments found in bright fruit and vegetables increase skin yellowness, previous studies have shown that carotenoid colouration is a more important factor in healthy appearance than melanin colouration, says the research team, which has published other work on the link between vegetable consumption and skin tone.
Putting some colour in your face
In the first two studies, two separate groups of 60 participants were shown 27 base faces, specifically created for the purpose of testing. Through colour manipulation, the skin area of these composite faces was altered alongside the axis of carotenoid or melanin-associated derma colours.
High and low pigment versions of each face were shown in pairs …
This interesting research breaks new ground as it is the first to show strong evidence for the importance of skin coloration in attractiveness judgments. What’s more, it clearly exposes the importance of carotene coloration as a cue to current health and attractiveness, [a fact that] may be pivotal in mate choices. So, if eating too many carrots has worried you so far, it’s time to think again. Turning orange may not be that bad, after all.
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