Smooth skin makes you serious

The condition of our facial skin influences the first impression

A pure skin is not only more attractive, it also looks more serious and mature © wavebreakmedia / thinkstock
Read out

Whether we appear credible and competent to our counterpart also depends on the condition of our skin. Because the skin picture plays an important role for the first impression, as an experiment now confirms. A skin without pimples or impurities not only looks healthier and more attractive, it also suggests more maturity and expertise, as researchers report in the magazine "Perception". They appeal to quietly question this unconscious assessment.

The first impression counts. The brain needs only a tenth of a second to pass judgment on a person who is confronted for the first time. It is often the appearance of the face and the facial expressions that decide whether we trust someone or that we consider him competent. The pupils or the complexion also subconsciously influence our reaction. The study of Elena Tsankova and her colleagues from Jacobs University Bremen also focuses on the skin.

How to influence and pimples and co?

The Bremen researchers investigated how small blemishes of the skin - such as moles, redness or pimples - affect our personal effects. For their experiment, the researchers showed 130 subjects photos of faces, either in the original or in a computer-optimized version with out-bleached impurities or greasy spots.

The participants should now rate how credible, competent, attractive and healthy they were to the people depicted. "There have been studies that looked at how appearance affects our credibility, " says Tsankova. "For the first time, we have looked closely at a single aspect: the smoothness of the skin."

What is your first impression? Unprocessed and manipulated photo of a face © Jacobs University

Pure skin makes you more believable

It turned out: The skin is obviously very important for the first impression. After all, the subjects classified the faces with subsequently smoothed and optimized skin on average as more positive than the unchanged, natural portraits. The condition of the skin ultimately determined how healthy and attractive the individuals were protected, and also how credible and competent. display

Even if most people can not tell if a pimple is sprouting or if they have a rather blemished skin, the complexion obviously already suffices to influence our first impression. "With these results in mind, we may even get the concealer or powder out of our pockets before the next interview or an important appointment, " Tsankova said.

Suggestion of maturity and expertise

But how come that smooth skin leaves such a good impression? "There is a direct and an indirect effect, " explains Tsankova. "On the one hand, the appearance of the skin directly influences our perception, as smooth skin appears healthier than blemished skin." On the other hand, smooth skin suggests maturity and expertise. Unclean skin is unconsciously associated with youth, for example through acne, and with poverty and the inability to afford good skincare products.

With this knowledge, we could take a closer look ourselves, says the psychologist. "When we realize how important the complexion is for evaluating a person, we can critically question our own judgment of strangers, " Tsankova said. In view of these subconscious classifications, it is urgently necessary not to unnecessarily increase the pressure on people with skin problems.

In further studies, the researchers now want to further investigate the effect of smooth skin. For example, the question arises of how the complexion interacts with other aspects of our appearance. (Perception, 2015; doi: 10.1177 / 0301006615616748)

(Jacobs University Bremen, 02.12.2015 - NPO)