Smooth Skin Color is Perceived as More Attractive and Younger

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A and B are cropped photos taken from the left cheek of two females.

Try this little quiz: How old is the person pictured in A? How old is the person pictured in B? The answers are below.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology looked at the perception of age, attractiveness, health and youth. They took cropped photos, like the ones above, from 170 girls and women and asked 353 participants to estimate the age and rate the attractiveness, health, and youthfulness of the person photographed.

They found that the more homogeneous (or uniform) the color of the skin, the more people rated it as attractive, healthy, and youthful. To a surprising extent, participants were able to tell how old a person is just based on how smooth the color is on their cheek. The smoother or more uniform the color, the more attractive and younger the person appeared to be. The more spotted, as from sun damage, the older and less attractive the person was perceived to be.

The Answers:

A – Real age = 53 years, estimated age by study participants = 49 years.

B – Real age = 13 years, estimated age by study participants = 21 years.

How did you do? More importantly, how uniform is the color on your cheeks?

Photo credit and study from: Color homogeneity and visual perception of age, health, and attractiveness of female facial skin Paul J. Matts , Bernhard Fink , Karl Grammer , Maria Burquest. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology- 2007 December Vol. 57, Issue 6, Pages 977-984