By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — People who wear face masks are rated as being more attractive, according to a new study conducted by researchers in Philadelphia. “Beauty and the Mask” is the name of the new research that was a joint project between Temple University’s College of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania.

The study was done online, where 60 faces were rated with and without a mask. Whether they’re creative, outlandish, silly, or basic, masks are critical in the fight against the pandemic.

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The health benefits are clear cut and now new research says they also improve your looks.

“For people who might self-conscious or concerned about how they look in a mask when they go in the public, we now have evidence that says, in reality, people are going to see you as more attractive,” David Sarwer, who was part of the research team from Temple and Penn, said.

The research team asked people to rate a cross-section of individuals in photographs — first without a mask, then with one.

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“There was a clear signal that we find other people’s faces far more attractive when they’re masked,” Sarwer said, “and we’re only seeing their eyes as compared to seeing their entire face.”

The research didn’t address why covering the lower part of the face made people more appealing.

“We didn’t look specifically at the reasons why people choose masks,” Sarwer said. “It’s really a gesture of altruism when we chose to wear a mask cause we’re protecting others around us.”

The study did find that people who rated as less attractive without a mask had the most significant increase in scores with one, but overall, everyone rated higher when they were wearing a mask where the eyes are most prominent.

“It reminds us that the eyes are something we’re often very attracted to,” Sarwer said.

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Eyes are often rated as one of the more important aspects of rating attractiveness, but we all know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Stephanie Stahl