Watch too many YouTube videos and you may come away with the impression that the more you drink, the more attractive you'll become to other people. But new research out of the University of Bristol suggests that to keep your good looks through others' eyes, it may be necessary to cut yourself off at one drink, LiveScience says. The study published in Alcohol and Alcoholism used an admittedly small sample size: 40 students who volunteered to throw a few back for science. But researchers found that participants who imbibed just one glass of wine were perceived to be more attractive by a separate group of raters than their previously sober selves or after they had had two drinks. Researchers took a photo of each participant before drinking, after one drink, and after two drinks (each subject was told to make a "neutral facial expression" in all three pictures).
Scientists then asked the rating group to view each subject's sober photo first next to the one-drink photo, then next to the two-drink photo. In the former case, the one-drink photo was rated more attractive than the sober representation, while in the latter, the one-drink photo still won out over the two-drink pic. Researchers aren't sure why, but they speculate it could come down to pupil dilation (which they suggest makes a subject more appealing), the slight muscle relaxation that results from just one drink, or the bit of "rosiness" that occurs when you're tipsy but not necessarily drunk. "That obviously doesn't mean that alcohol is healthy," the study's lead researcher says. "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." (Down more than two drinks a day and you might up your stroke risk.)