The ugly truth: beauty’s not just skin deep – gorgeous people may be healthier too

Good-looking people may be better at fighting infections, a study finds, so don’t feel shallow when you swipe right

Name: Gorgeous people.

Age: Considerable. Certainly of greater longevity than poor saps like you who’ve been battered by the ugly stick and, let’s face it, will probably die sooner than hotties like me.

Appearance: Radiant, darling. Symmetrical of face, bright of eye, pert of buttock, toned of muscle. The whole package.

Why is appearance important? Traits linked to attractiveness may indicate a person’s body is better at fighting infection, according to a study by the Texas Christian University.

Are you saying that if you’re hideous you’re more likely to need a Covid jab than if you were beautiful? No, not even anti-masker Piers “fart in your trousers” Corbyn believes that.

So what are you saying? Beauty is not just skin deep, but is correlated with a body’s ability to resist infection. For instance, men judged as more handsome by women were found to have more effective “natural killer” cells, which can wipe out virus-infected cells in the body.

Natural killer cells? Really? Missed that lesson in biology class. But it’s true! Most attractive people have higher rates of phagocytosis.

Which sounds like an STD, but actually is? A process by which white blood cells ingest and eliminate bacteria before it can make you sick.

So gorgeous people such as Robert Pattinson and Rihanna have more virus-repelling cellular processes than, say, less genetically blessed politicians? Precisely. For this study, scientists photographed 152 young adults without makeup. They were then rated on their attractiveness by people online. The hottest men and women – judged by members of the opposite sex – were found to have higher rates of phagocytosis.

Isn’t rating people of opposite sex, frankly, disappointingly heteronormative? Nobody said the research methods were perfect, though the results have just been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

What does Prof Soundslike Amadeupname, sorry, Summer Mengelkoch conclude from the study she led? “People who go out to a bar looking to talk to someone attractive are often dismissed as being shallow ... But they are really just following their instincts to find a high-quality mate.”

Is there any good news for those less fortunate, namely monobrowed warty baldies? Yes! Mengelkoch adds: “With modern medicine, infections are not as deadly as they used to be, so perhaps it’s OK if people lower their standards and start to give people who are less attractive a shot.”

Don’t say: “If I said you have a beautiful body, would you hold it against me to stop me getting ill?”

Do say: “Hey baby, they say beauty is skin deep, but mine goes all the way through and indicates I have superior infection-resisting cellular structures. Your place or mine?”

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Behind the bathroom door: are people really eating oranges in the shower?
Eating cool, juicy citrus fruit in a hot shower is ‘the most liberating act of food consumption ever’, according to one TikTok user. And it isn’t the only bizarre bathroom trend

28, Feb, 2023 @3:51 PM

Article image
The pandemic body: how the Covid era changed us – from hair loss to weight gain
Sore, blurry eyes, decaying teeth, spreading feet – the strange, difficult years of coronavirus have had unexpected effects on our general health

Amy Fleming

02, Dec, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Can a cat-poo parasite turn you into a millionaire?
Scientists have discovered that people infected with toxoplasmosis are more go-getting. But that doesn’t mean we should all be trying to catch it

25, Jul, 2018 @3:01 PM

Article image
A nosedive in nose jobs: why fewer people are opting for rhinoplasty
Are changing beauty standards or new, nonsurgical techniques the reason for the decline in popularity of this cosmetic surgery?

25, Apr, 2022 @3:26 PM

Article image
Dream on! The surprising health benefit of a weekend lie-in
An extra hour on Saturday and Sunday may be no substitute for a regular good night’s sleep – but according to new research it may help stave off depression

13, Sep, 2021 @3:09 PM

Article image
Making your bed is bad for you – just ask the experts on TikTok
A tidy duvet is heaven for dust mites and hell for asthma sufferers, claims a post that has been viewed more than 2.7m times

09, May, 2022 @1:56 PM

Article image
Can’t see a thing because your glasses keep steaming up? Science to the rescue!
A light coating of gold and your spectacles could be several degrees warmer and 100% less foggy. And the same goes for your car windscreen

13, Dec, 2022 @4:20 PM

Article image
Kitchen dangers: are you being slowly poisoned by your spice rack?
A study from the US has emerged that shows those innocuous jars of seasoning might be among the germiest parts of your home

20, Feb, 2023 @3:10 PM

Article image
Bagpipe lung – a new name for a very old disease
The death of a bagpipe player has revealed a disease-causing fungus lurking in unclean instruments – and musicians are not its only victims

23, Aug, 2016 @11:44 AM

Article image
Dirt, dead skin, 10m dust mites: maybe it’s time you cleaned your mattress – here’s how
Worried about asthma or eczema? It could be time to break out the baking soda and vacuum cleaner

06, Sep, 2022 @2:42 PM