The strange reason this expert wants you to continue wearing masks

Masks can help save you from infection and disease, but can wearing a face mask also help you get a date? This study suggests so...

this expert wants you to continue wearing masks
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We all know that masks can help prevent the spreading of diseases and viruses, but there is another weird benefit from mask-wearing that you definitely haven't considered...

Whether you're wearing one of the best reusable face masks or disposable masks, a new study has suggested that masks may be making you more attractive.

Cardiff University researchers have discovered that men were judged to be better looking while wearing a face mask that covered the lower half of their face.

An expert in faces from Cardiff University, Dr. Michael Lewis, said that before the pandemic, people who wore face masks were not viewed as more attractive as the masks would be associated with illness and disease. However, since the pandemic, a new study has taken place and discovered that this opinion had changed drastically.

“We wanted to test whether this had changed since face coverings became ubiquitous and understand whether the type of mask had any effect,” said Dr. Lewis to The Guardian.

“Our study suggests faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks. This may be because we’re used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and now we associate these with people in caring or medical professions. At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring and so feel more positive towards the wearer.”

In the study, 43 women were presented with male faces that were partially obscured and asked to rank their attractiveness.

Dr. Lewis explained that patterns emerged from the results that suggested different types of masks were more attractive than others. In particular, men wearing medical masks were deemed more attractive than those in reusable masks.

Dr. Lewis said, "The results show that faces were considered as most attractive when covered by medical masks and significantly more attractive when occluded with cloth masks than when not occluded."

wearing masks

(Image credit: Chris Underwood / Getty Images)

The doctor added that although some might assume that the reason we find people more attractive with a mask on is that we can imagine that they are better looking than they really are, the real reason is even stranger.

The doctor suggested that the pandemic has in fact, “changed our psychology in how we perceive the wearers of masks,” which may have changed an evolutionary part of our brain's psyche.

"Contrary to expectation, base attractiveness did not interact with the type of occlusion, suggesting that this is not simply due to occlusion of negative features."

Dr. Lewis added, "When we see someone wearing a mask we no longer think ‘that person has a disease, I need to stay away."

"This relates to evolutionary psychology and why we select the partners we do."

"Disease and evidence of disease can play a big role in mate selection—previously any cues to disease would be a big turn-off. Now we can observe a shift in our psychology such that face masks are no longer acting as a contamination cue."

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.