Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Red In The Face? People Use The Color Of Your Skin To Judge How Healthy You Are

Date:
April 9, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
People use the color of your skin to judge how healthy you are. Scientists in the School of Psychology have shown that there is truth to the received wisdom that a "rosy" complexion denotes healthiness, whilst a "green" or "pale" color indicates illness.

Scientists have shown that there is truth to the received wisdom that a "rosy" complexion denotes healthiness.
Credit: iStockphoto/Klaas Lingbeek-Van Kranen

People use the color of your skin to judge how healthy you are, according to researchers at the University of St Andrews. 

Related Articles


Scientists in the School of Psychology have shown that there is truth to the received wisdom that a "rosy" complexion denotes healthiness, whilst a "green" or "pale" color indicates illness.

Lead researcher Ian Stephen worked with the University's Perception Lab to determine how face color is associated with healthy looks.

Several monkey species use redness in their faces or sexual skin to advertise their health status and to attract mates. The team was keen to discover whether similar mechanisms were at work in humans.

Ian Stephen said, "Parents and doctors know that when you get ill, you can end up looking pale. Our research goes further and shows that even young, healthy university students can benefit from a complexion reflecting more blood and more oxygen in the skin."

The team from the University of St Andrews first measured how skin color varies with the amount of blood and oxygen in the blood.

These measurements were used with computer graphics to allow research participants to change the color of the faces in the photographs to look as healthy as possible. The team found that, for all faces, participants added more oxygen rich blood color to improve the healthy appearance.

Stephen continued, "Our skin contains many tiny blood vessels that carry blood laden with oxygen to the skin cells, allowing them to "breathe", and allowing us to lose heat during exercise. People who are physically fit or have higher levels of sex hormones have more of these blood vessels and flush easier than people who are unhealthy, unfit, elderly or smokers. Physically fit people also have more oxygen in their blood than people who are unfit or have heart or lung illnesses."

Professor Dave Perrett, head of the Perception Lab commented, "Our evaluators all thought that bright red blood with lots of oxygen looked healthier than darker, slightly bluer blood with lower oxygen levels. It is remarkable is that people can see this subtle difference."

"This may explain why some people with very red faces do not look so healthy; the color of their blood may be wrong. So it's not just the amount of blood that's important; it's the type of blood that determines healthy looks".

The research shows that people use the color of the blood in your skin to judge how healthy you are.

"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," concluded Ian Stephen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stephen et al. Skin Blood Perfusion and Oxygenation Colour Affect Perceived Human Health. PLoS ONE, 2009; 4 (4): e5083 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005083

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Red In The Face? People Use The Color Of Your Skin To Judge How Healthy You Are." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090331201518.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, April 9). Red In The Face? People Use The Color Of Your Skin To Judge How Healthy You Are. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090331201518.htm
Public Library of Science. "Red In The Face? People Use The Color Of Your Skin To Judge How Healthy You Are." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090331201518.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins