Coloration in Different Areas of Facial Skin is a Cue to Health: The Role of Cheek Redness and Periorbital Luminance in Health Perception

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1



Looking healthy is a desirable trait, and facial skin color is a predictor of perceived health. However, skin conditions that cause dissatisfaction with appearance are specific to particular facial areas. We investigated whether color variation in facial skin is related to perceived health. Study 1 defined three areas based on color differences between faces perceived as healthy or unhealthy: the forehead, periorbital areas, and the cheeks. Periorbital luminance and cheek redness predicted perceived health, as did global skin yellowness. In Study 2, increased luminance and redness caused faces to be perceived as healthier, but only when the increase was in the periorbital and cheek areas, respectively. Manipulating each area separately in Study 3 revealed cheek redness and periorbital luminance equally increased perceived health, with low periorbital luminance more negatively affecting perceptions. These findings show that color variation in facial skin is a cue for health perception in female faces.


Original version available from the publisher at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26967010



This item is not available in The Cupola.