New York: Ladies, your stressful job may not only harm your health but also your love life!
Men find women with high levels of stress hormone less attractive, a new study has found.
Previous research has found that women also prefer men who are less-stressed.
Stress can suppress fertility, said study researcher Markus Rantala, a professor of biology at the University of Turku in Finland.
Thus, it`s no surprise that both men and women might have evolved to prefer chilled-out faces, Rantala told LiveScience.
The study also found men weren`t more attracted to women with stronger immune systems, another factor that can show up in facial features.
"Our major finding is a little bit of a disappointment for us, because we didn`t find that immunology is linked to attractiveness in women," Rantala said.
Researchers asked 52 Latvian women to have the photographs of their faces taken during fertile times in their menstrual cycles. The women also received a hepatitis B vaccination.
A month before and after the shot, the researchers took a blood sample to measure the women`s hormones and antibodies, immune proteins that help the body defend against foreign invaders. The researchers also measured the women`s body-fat percentages.
Next, 18 men rated the photographs of the women`s faces for attractiveness on a scale of 0 to 11. The results revealed that the prettiest faces didn`t necessarily belong to the women with the strongest immune response - but the women with the lowest levels of the stress hormone cortisol were consistently ranked as hotter.
Body fat was also linked to attractiveness, such that the thinnest and fattest women were seen as the least attractive.
As with stress, both obesity and being underweight can cause fertility problems, Rantala said, which could explain the finding.
The study was published in the journal Biology Letters.