Cheek to Cheek: Deciphering Stains and Blushes

Human evolution has favored alliances with healthy rather than unhealthy individuals, which is a trait shared with many other animal species.1 This state of health is often communicated visually; for example, the bright feathers of healthy male birds advertise to potential mates said male’s capability to invest precious energy in producing these details of beauty. In addition to communicating general health, studies2 concerning the faces of Caucasian females have shown that shape, symmetry and texture also are cues of attractiveness. In relation, color is perhaps one of the most important and variable characteristics of the face. Glowing pink, golden tones and silken luminosity transmit messages of health, youth and attractiveness.3 Rosy coloring on the cheeks, for example, can indicate the skin is adequately flushed with blood and oxygen, suggesting a strong heart and lungs. As time passes, these colors tend to equalize.

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