What people consider beautiful has changed according to new study
A new study comparing what people consider beauty finds since 1990, those seen as the "most beautiful" are increasingly older, female and have darker skin tones.
Researchers from Harvard, Boston University, and Northwestern University used People magazine's "World's Most Beautiful" lists and compared the changes in the 1990 and 2017 issues.
Researchers hypothesized beauty standards had not changed and looked at the median age, sex, race, skin type, hair color, eye color and dermatologic conditions. In 1990, there were 50 celebrities on the list compared to 135 in 2017.
In 1990 those with lighter skin tones on the Fitzpatrick scale represented 88% of celebrities whereas jut 12% represented darker skin tones. Those numbers fell to 70.4% for lighter skin tones and rose to 29.6% for darker tones in the 2017 issue.
The number of females also increased by 88.1% and nonwhite races rose from 24% to 40% representation in 2017. The median age of the "most beautiful" people also rose from 33.2 years of age in 1990 to 38.9 years of age in 2017. Those numbers are reflective of an aging population and a 2016 Dermatologic Surgery survey that found 60% of people were considering surgery. The top three reasons were to increase confidence, increase attractiveness and look as young as they feel.
Researchers believe the rise of mass media and social media has led to a more connected world and exposed people to many forms of beauty. Due to the exposure, beauty standards are evolving to include new norms and new cultures.