There is a simple way to up your "appearance factor" without resorting to cosmetic surgery or facial exercises (which are not especially helpful). The secret? Eat more fruits and vegetables so you have a healthy "glow."
A healthy hue
It has always been a mystery: What makes one person more attractive than another? The long-held belief that women are more attracted to men with "manly" features, such as a prominent jaw or high muscle mass, has been at least partially debunked in recent decades. For instance, a study published in PLOS One in 2010 looking at Caucasian men in northern England found that female undergraduate students from the University of Bristol preferred men with yellow and red coloring that suggested a strong, healthy immune system.
Meanwhile, in other research, participants found people with yellow, warmer skin tones more attractive than people with other tones, regardless of facial features. Those with rosy, or red-toned skin, also scored high in attractiveness.
While those studies looked at Caucasians, researchers believe that the results hold true for other ethnicities, as well. One of the lead authors of a study published in the December 2009 issue of International Journal of Primatology, Ian Stephen, stated that his past research found that black South Africans "tend to judge rosier faces as healthier."
He and his colleagues' study in 2009 looked at a sample of 51 color-calibrated Caucasian face photographs. In that study, they found that participants' rated yellow and red hue tones highest for the "perceived health of human faces."
They said their study "reveals a role of overall skin color in the appearance of health in human faces, separate from information provided by skin texture or color distribution."
How do you achieve a healthy hue?
Your skin color changes based on your food choices, and as it turns out, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables gives your skin a yellow or red tint. Scientists believe it is the carotenoids in the fruits and vegetables that help keep our skin healthy, because of the foods' high antioxidant levels, which help improve the immune system and may increase blood flow and give skin its healthy hue.
While adding any amount of fruits and vegetables to your current diet is probably a good idea, researchers in Scotland found that eating between three and five servings of fruits and vegetables each day brought about positive changes in skin coloring within weeks. A study published in Nutrients backs up this research, finding that these results might help sway people in adopting healthy lifestyles that are rich in fruits and vegetables.
Attractiveness Based Partly on Skin Color: Live Science
Does Masculinity Matter? The Contribution of Masculine Face Shape to Male Attractiveness in Humans: PLOS One
Facial Skin Coloration Affects Perceived Health of Human Faces: International Journal of Primatology
Fruit, Vegetable and Dietary Carotenoid Intakes Explain Variation in Skin-Color in Young Caucasian Women: A Cross-Sectional Study: Nutrients
You Are What You Eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Beneficial Skin-Color Changes: PLOS One
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of Idiot's Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot's Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love and Essential Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.