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Skin texture and female facial beauty

Bernhard Fink, Karl Grammer, & Randy Thornhill

The notion that surface texture may provide important information about the geometry of visible surfaces has attracted considerable attention for a long time. This study shows that skin texture plays a significant role in the judgment of female facial beauty. Following research in clinical dermatology we developed a computer program implementing an algorithm based on co-occurrence-matrices for the analysis of facial skin texture. Homogeneity and contrast features as well as color parameters were extracted out of stimulus faces and correlated with the attractiveness ratings of the images made by male subjects. The results let us assume that skin texture is a cue to fertility and health.

The original paper has appeared in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, 115(1), 92-99 and is entitled: Human (Homo sapiens) facial attractiveness in relation to skin texture and color.  

Selected references & further reading:


Andersson, M. (1994). Sexual selection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Barber, N. (1995). The evolutionary psychology of physical attractiveness: Sexual selection and human morphology. Ethology and Sociobiology, 16, 395-424.


Grammer, K. & Thornhill, R. (1994). Human (Homo sapiens) facial attractiveness and sexual selection: The role of symmetry and averageness. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 108, 3, 233-242.


Hamilton, W. D. & Zuk, M. (1982). Heritable true fitness and bright birds: A role for parasites? Science, 218, 384-387.


Perrett, D. I., May, K. A. & Yoshikawa, S. (1994). Facial shape and judgments of female attractiveness. Nature, 386, 239-242.


Thornhill, R. & Gangestad, S.W. (1999). Facial attractiveness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3(12), 452-460.


Thornhill, R. & Grammer, K. (1999). The body and face of woman: One ornament that signals quality? Evolution and Human Behavior, 20, 105-120.





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