Attractive as an apricot

Everyone wants to be attractive and since Coco Chanel popularised tanning in the 1920s there has been an idea that tanned skin is beautiful skin. Of course, we now know that tanning also does immense damage to skin so many find themselves on the horns of a dilemma; to tan and be deemed beautiful or not to tan and risk failing to please the eye. Now, some of that angst can be put to rest because new research shows that these days a good tan is regarded as less attractive than what eating a few carrots does to your skin.

The inspiration for the research was that just as a tan imparts a glow to the skin, so do carotenoid pigments from foods like apricots, carrots, mangoes, oranges, and spinach. So they decided to investigate whether that vegetable glow would be rated as attractive as the glow of a tan.

The new study involved three separate experiments. First the researchers had people look at images of faces that had been digitally created to illustrate the glow that comes from high levels of carotenoid intake from fruit and vegetables. They were asked to compare the vegetable glowing face to a low-carotenoid face and decide which was more attractive. They found that 86 per cent of people rated the high carotenoid faces as more attractive.

In the second experiment people were asked to compare faces with high melanin pigmentation (a tan) to those with low melanin pigmentation and this time 78.5 per cent rated the high melanin pigmentation as attractive.

So we established that colour is regarded as attractive but which more attractive; vegetables or tan? The obvious thing to do ask people to compare the high melanin faces and the high carotenoid faces and the results were…(drum roll)…that 75.9 per cent of people rated the high carotenoid pigmented faces as more attractive.

So there you have it…you can forget about having to damage your DNA in the sun because an apricot beats a tan every time.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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