Scientists Say That Good-Looking People Have Better Immune Systems

By Doug Norrie | 3 months ago

immune system

Think your good-looking friends and colleagues seem to get sick a lot less than you or others around you? Well, there might be something to that after all. A new study suggests that attractive people might have a better immune system than those who might be worse looking. There is some evidence out there that the pieces of evolution which made some folks more physically attractive have also provided them with a way to better fight off sickness and infection. So if you wanted another reason to be annoyed at good-looking people, here it is. They also just have better overall health. 

This most recent study comes from the paper “More than just a pretty face? The relationship between immune function and perceived facial attractiveness” from researchers at Texas Christian University. In their work, the group sought to find a possible connection between stronger immune systems and the factors that would make people independently attractive to others. What they found was interesting, and some of the more concrete evidence to date that there could be some kind of link between the two. 

They started with just the facial features of a larger sample of people, gathering 159 young people’s pictures and information. They then took those pictures and presented them to nearly 500 people in an online survey. The survey instructed participants to rate the attractiveness of each picture with no other context given. Because universal ideas of beauty and attractiveness are often in debate, the researchers simply had participants score each face on an attractive scale. And in conjunction with this process, those who had their headshot taken were also given tests to evaluate their immune systems based on a variety of factors. 

Following the attractiveness scoring as well as the findings for the immune system tests, researchers think they were able to make the connection between the two things. Basically, those who got better scores in the Hot or Not surveys also exhibited markers for higher-performing immune systems. This seemed to be particularly linked to bacterial immunity, and the ability to better fight off infection. In the study, attractive men had better natural killer cells and women had healthier plasma. 

This kind of immune system connection to physical attractiveness could be rooted deep in our human DNA as a measure of survival. In the past, it definitely paid off to find a mate who could stand up against a variety of sicknesses and diseases better. Evolutionarily speaking, this is a better way to maintain long-term human viability. But the authors do suggest that though this link might have been more prevalent in the past, it is likely not going to be that way forever and already could have deteriorated over time. The advent of modern medicine would be the primary reasoning there considering advancements in disease-fighting medicines do, in some way, negate some of the overall need for a stronger immune system. 

So could it be true? Have attractive people been gifted (maybe evolutionarily) the blessing of a better immune system? It sure makes a lot of sense when you think about long-term human survival.