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What Color is a "Healthy Glow?"

Research shows that people are attracted to skin tones enhanced by healthy choices
Healthy Youthful lookResearchers have found that the color of a person's skin affects how healthy and therefore attractive they appear, and that diet may be critical to achieving the most desirable complexion.

Using specialist computer software, a total of 54 Caucasian participants of both sexes were asked to manipulate the skin color of male and female Caucasian faces to make them look as healthy as possible. They chose to increase the rosiness, yellowness and brightness of the skin.

Skin that is slightly flushed with blood and full of oxygen suggests a strong heart and lungs, supporting the study's findings that rosier skin appeared healthy. Smokers and people with diabetes or heart disease have fewer blood vessels in their skin, and so skin would appear less rosy.

The preference for more golden or 'yellow-toned' skin as healthier might be explained by the 'carotenoid pigments' that we get from the fruit and vegetables in our diet.These plant pigments are powerful antioxidants that soak up dangerous compounds produced when the body combats disease. They are also important for our immune and reproductive systems and may help prevent cancer.
They are the same dietary pigments that brightly colored birds and fish use to show off their healthiness and attract mates, and the researchers think that similar biological mechanisms may be at work in humans.

Researcher Ian Stephen says that while many believe that sun tanning is the best way to improve the color of your skin "our research suggests that living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet might actually be better."

Melanin, the pigment that causes the tan color when skin is exposed to the sun makes the skin darker and more yellow, but participants in the study chose to make skin lighter and more yellow to make it look healthier.    Other research has recently found that toning produced by sun tanning beds comes with significant health risks.

"This discovery is very exciting and has given us a promising lead into cues to health," said Professor David Perrett, head of the Perception Lab at the University of St. Andrews, where the research took place. Seasonal vegetables
 "What we eat and not just how much we eat appears to be important for a healthy appearance. The only natural way in which we can make our skin lighter and more yellow is to eat a more healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables."