Healthy Skin and The Psychology of Looking Attractive

Everybody wants to look their best when greeting the world. That is why we spend so much time on our hair, our faces, choosing clean, stylish clothing over dirty, old clothing and even the whiteness of our teeth. But why do we put so much emphasis on appearances? Why do we want perfect faces framed by shiny, thick hair and radiating with flawless, smooth skin? Who decided long ago what was beautiful and what was not?

Statistically significant results emerging from years of clinical research regarding the tendency for humans (even infants) to be attracted to “beautiful” things that are symmetrical rather than irregular or “ugly” in nature also applies to the human face. According to evolutionary psychology theory, our ancestors developed the propensity to ignore disproportionate faces and bodies  because it usually indicated that someone was suffering from an illness or disease. Early in our evolution, we learned that children who were born deformed died soon after birth or that those who lived with deformities or had extremely asymmetrical features were often sickly or mentally deficient. By equating symmetrical features and bodies with health, longevity and intelligence, we quickly came to the conclusion about who would make the best mates (gene-wise) and who needed to be avoided.

Cultural distinctions regarding what was considered beautiful or ugly later emerged thousands of years ago as humans civilization rapidly spread into all parts of the world. Heavily influenced by their natural environment and the omnipotence weather events, animals and natural geological occurrences, people began adorning themselves with cosmetics, flowers and animal skins to resemble these naturally powerful entities. However, we have always remained attracted to symmetry.

The Science of Beautiful Faces

When the eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheekbones and forehead of a human face are placed proportionately apart from each other, we tend to say that person is “attractive” , “pretty” or “handsome”.  However, when researchers present test subjects with pictures of people who have eyes that are slightly too far apart or noses that bend slightly to one side, they will say that these people are not as attractive as individuals with perfectly symmetrical features.  What is even more interesting is that when these same subjects were shown pictures of faces that had symmetrical features but with wrinkled, blemished or scarred skin underlying these features, the subjects preferred the asymmetrical faces over the symmetrical faces with the damaged skin.

Instincts are inherent, unconscious urges that have been established biologically for the purpose of prolonging an animal’s life. In humans, instincts such as the“fight or flight” urge in which our bodies prepare us mentally and physically for fleeing or fighting for our lives, will occur in various, life-threatening and potentially life-threatening situations. Another lesser known instinct we still carry in our genetic composition is the immediate fear and repulsion we feel when viewing something that does not project a healthy, youthful and genetically superior appearance.  Although we all realize that this instinct does not really benefit us anymore in a world that is much more knowledgeable about illnesses and diseases, it is an instinct that we needed to survive millions of years ago and continues to influence our perception of another’s appearance.

Why Healthy Skin is Considered Attractive

In regard to humans being naturally repelled by pimples, discolorations, pits and scars, wrinkles or other abnormalities that visibly mar the skin, evolutionary psychologists suggest that our ancestors eventually learned to avoid people with seeping, inflamed or open eruptions because these people were ill and could “give” others their sickness. Living in the wilds without antibiotics meant that most people who developed an illness quickly died. Avoiding anyone who exhibited physical aberrations and/or sick behavior became the norm early in our evolution when survival indeed favored the fittest.

In modern society, a face is considered attractive when the skin is flawless, smooth, glowing and free of wrinkle or sagging skin. Wrinkles and skin that is no longer taut and firm are undesirable because our ancestors associated “old” skin with impending death and the loss of youth. Although people are living healthier and longer lives, this cultural belief is so deeply ingrained in our society that it could almost be considered an instinct.

As hard as we try, none of us are completely successful at overcoming our bias against asymmetrical faces and wrinkled, less than perfect skin. Fortunately, Mayoral Dermatology offers the most up-to-date dermatological techniques available to repair damaged skin, eliminate acne scarring, smooth wrinkles and give your skin that healthy, attractive radiance we all continue to revere and admire. Always give a lasting impression by undergoing one of Mayoral Dermatology’s non-surgical skin treatment procedures.

Mayoral Dermatology 305-665-6166 6705 SW 57th Ave., Suite 314, Coral Gables, FL 33143
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