Women’s faces turn red during ovulation
Women’s faces turn red during ovulation, study says. It appears that women’s face is redder in the middle of their cycle, during their fertile window.
The study, published in ‘’PLoS ONE’’, is considered one of the most efficient in investigating the female face during a menstrual cycle. 22 college girls participated in the study conducted by researchers of Cambridge University in the UK. They photographed the faces of the girls without make-up, every evening, at the same time, when they all gathered for dinner, at the college hall, for a month. For photographing the faces, they used a special instrument, similar to a normal camera but advanced in terms of color capturing.
For analyzing the images captured by the camera, experts designed specialized computer software that picks up an identical patch of cheek from each image. The girls of the study were also tested for hormone changes at specific times, critical for the ovulation cycle, as decided by the research team.
The face color analysis revealed that the skin’s redness exhibited changes during the month. In fact, the biggest change in terms of red skin color was observed during ovulation and retained its intensity over the last days of the cycle, where estrogen levels started to decrease.
The researchers from the University of Cambridge consider that redness changes of the skin were indicative of body temperature fluctuations. However, the face color changes, even at their pick, were not detectable to the human eye. More specifically, the average difference in redness was 0.6 units while the threshold of human visual perception was 2.2 units.
This observation was in contrast to the scientists’ initial expectations, as in other primates it is quite common for females to display specific sighs of ovulation and fertility that are easily detectable to males, attracting them to mate.
In women however, even if their face turns red during ovulation, that is not the case. Previous research has shown that women appear more attractive to men when they ovulate, however facial redness is not what men notice. ‘’Women do not advertise ovulation but they do leak information about it and facial redness could be a small piece of a larger puzzle’’, commented Dr Hannah Rowland from the Zoology Department who led the study.