If you’re a regular at the bar dating scene, you might want to consider new research from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. According to researchers, an individual is most attractive to a potential partner after they have consumed one alcoholic beverage, not more.
An expert team evaluated a group of volunteers, taking pictures of their faces as participants drank alcohol, making sure each featured only a head shot with a neutral expression.
Those images, taken when sober, after one drink and after two drinks, were then shown to a different group of heterosexual individuals who were asked to rate the images on level of attractiveness.
Overall, the images after one drink, before the body was highly under the influence of alcohol, were found to be the most attractive. Images taken with the highest alcohol content were found the least attractive.
“It suggests that, if it’s true, people are rated as more attractive once they’ve consumed a small amount of alcohol,” senior researcher, Marcus Munafò, told Live Science. “But if they go on to consume more alcohol, they’re no longer rated as more attractive.”
Though the study did not investigate why attractiveness changed, experts suggest it has to do with how alcohol affects someone’s appearance. People who only consume a small amount of alcohol, for example, may develop a rosy glow, which is perceived by the human brain as a sign of health and thus attractiveness in a potential mate.
Similarly, such individuals may appear more relaxed and confident, also traits shown to be considered desirable on an instinctual level. The more alcohol a person drinks, however, the more its effects on the body’s appearance become negative.
Dr. Julie Fridlington writes on the Westlake Dermatology blog too much alcohol can take a rosy complexion to a flushed, blotchy one in a short amount of time.
Excessive alcohol consumption also dehydrates skin, making it appear older and accentuation fine lines and wrinkles. In people with pre-existing skin conditions, alcohol can make minor problems like rosacea and psoriasis, appear much worse.
Though the evidence suggesting a single drink improves attractiveness, it should not be mistaken as a sign alcohol is healthy, cautioned researchers. “That obviously doesn’t mean that alcohol is healthy,” said Munafò .
“What it means is that alcohol is sort of hijacking that mechanism, or promoting the aspects of facial features that we regard as attractive for other reasons. You consume a drink, so you see other people as more attractive. But you also become more attractive yourself because you’ve consumed a drink. And exactly how that would play out in the real world, we don’t know.”