Rosy Cheeks Really Are More Charming

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Overly ruddy, flushed skin is typically considered undesirable-just ask anyone with rosacea how they feel about being frequently red in the face. However, just the right amount of rosiness may make you more attractive to those around you.

Scientists at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews Perception Lab have determined that we judge people’s health-and therefore, their biological attractiveness-by the red undertones of their skin. To come to this conclusion, the researchers first measured how skin color varies with oxygen in the blood. They then asked participants to alter the color of faces in computer images to make them seem their healthiest. The participants overwhelmingly chose undertones associated with oxygen-rich blood.

“Our evaluators all thought that bright red blood with lots of oxygen looked healthier than darker, slightly bluer blood with lower oxygen levels,” said professor and lab head Dave Perrett. “So it’s not just the amount of blood that’s important; it’s the type of blood that determines healthy looks.”

Changing the color of your blood may seem impossible, but there is something you can do about it, according to researcher Ian Stephens.

“Since your attractiveness relies upon how healthy you look, you might be able to make yourself more attractive by being kind to your heart and lungs in doing more exercise or quitting smoking.”

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