- You know that you look better with a bit of a tan.
- But, you’re worried about getting skin cancer.
What would you say if I told you that there is some pretty solid science showing that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is more effecting at improving skin colour than suntanning?
The study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior showed that (Caucasian) people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables have a more golden skin colour thanks to the high levels of carotenoids.
Most widely known for their presence in carrots, carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that helps reverse the oxidative damage we incur in our daily lives. In particular, carotenoids have a powerful effect on our immune and reproductive systems.
Lead author Dr Ian Stephen said: “We found that, given the choice between skin colour caused by suntan and skin colour caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin colour, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin colour, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun.”
Dr Stephen suggests that the study is important because evolution would favour individuals who choose to form alliances or mate with healthier individuals over unhealthy individuals.
We should note that while this study looked exclusively at Caucasian faces, it may be true that a study of other racial groups would produce similar results.
Previous studies have shown similar preferences for skin yellowness to be found in an African population.
For more info on this study;
If you want to participate in future studies regarding health & beauty, check out The Perception Lab.
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