Men who radiate good health are certainly perceived as more attractive. New research shows how skin with yellow and red pigments is perceived as more attractive in Caucasian males.

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Carotenoids are red and yellow plant pigments present in among other vegetable, Carrots.

A character trait that plays an important role in sexual attraction is to signal good health. One way to achieve this is to have a slightly more reddish skin tone and this can be achieved by eating fruits and vegetables containing carotenoids. Carotenoids are the substance that provides an orange color to carrots and the colors of many other fruits and vegetables and even some animals.

Research has shown that men with light skin with red and yellow pigments are more attractive. Other research has found that in several species of birds, fish, and reptiles – females are more attracted to their colorful male counterpart. It is argued that carotenoid-based coloration is an honest signal of health, and is possibly associated with the substance acting as an antioxidant.

In the new study, men were given supplements containing beta-carotene for a twelve year period which gradually changed their skin tone. The study participants consisted of 43 heterosexual Caucasian men with a mean age of 21 years and a placebo group that consisted of an additional 20 male participants.

Photographs were taken at the start of the week trial in order to document changes in the participant’s skin color. With another photograph taken at the end of the 12-week trial. Sixty-six heterosexual Caucasian female woman with a mean age of 33 were then tasked to look the photos and choose which male they considered more attractive.

Examples of color variation between pre- and post-supplementation. The top photographs show the Beta-carotene participant, The bottom photographs show the placebo participant. The left side is pre-supplementation and the right side is post-supplementation.
Credit: Yong Zhi Foo

The men who for twelve weeks had been eating beta-carotene had a 50 percent higher probability of being classified as attractive compared with those men who ate a placebo.

The scientists surveyed the study participants physical health, testing their overall level of oxidative stress, immune function, and semen quality to rule out any other factor impacting the participant’s health status.

They concluded that it isn’t really necessary to eat healthy to radiate good health and be perceived as more attractive since this was easily achieved by eating supplements. Although, eating a few more carrots certainly doesn’t hurt regardless if you are a man or a woman.

Yong Zhi Foo, author and postgraduate Animal Biology student at The University of Western Australia, says “Carotenoids are known to be responsible for the striking mating displays in many animal species. Our study is one of the first to causally demonstrate that carotenoids can affect attractiveness in humans as well. It also reaffirms the results of previous studies showing that what we eat can affect how we look”

Y. Z. Foo et al. “The carotenoid beta-carotene enhances facial color, attractiveness and perceived health, but not actual health, in humans.” DOI: 10.1093 / beheco / arw188