Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The concept of beauty and who is considered beautiful has been a core part of the human experience for millennia. And it has long affected a wide range of social outcomes, from partner choices, to hiring decisions, to life satisfaction. So it's no wonder we humans have a long history of trying to optimise our beauty. And arguably, that's intensifying in modern life. We are living today in the most prolific visual culture in history. The obsession with beauty also stems from new pressures and new freedoms people are experiencing in global capitalism today. Many people have more partner choice than they did before as urbanisation grows and more people date online. This means that people may be competing with others more than before. More people are also working in services where appearance can be a job requirement and that can contribute to body anxiety. Given the intense social pressure to look a certain way, there's no surprise that the beauty business is booming - the industry is currently valued at around $532 billion. In 2019, globally there were over 11 million cosmetic surgical procedures and over 13 million non-surgical procedures, such as Botox. Of course, there is no one way of being beautiful, but every year brings an abundance of treatments and products that promise new ways to try and achieve it. Like the notorious vampire facial of the 2010s, also known as the platelet-rich plasma facial. First, a sample of your own blood is taken and then the plasma - the liquid part of your blood that carries cells and proteins - is extracted then injected back into your face. Or, in more recent times, a range of skin products containing snail excretions. Though neither of these treatments have proven results. But before you go running into the garden to interfere with some molluscs, you might want to ask yourself if any of these treatments and products actually make you more beautiful. Is it even possible to get an objective assessment as to how beautiful - or not - you actually are? Qoves Studio is an Australian based company who claim to offer just that. Using machine learning, Qoves takes in-depth measurements of your facial features, and then shows you how you compare to others within your own ethnicity. A useful service or downright terrifying? At Qoves we have a comprehensive report where we measure your facial features against scientific standards and then evaluate how far off you are from the "perfect face". Now, there is no perfect face, but generally these standards of scientific measurement are the ones that plastic surgeons would use, and so it provides a background briefing before you go in for surgery if that's what you're interested in. But is this pursuit of perfection healthy? Shouldn't we love the skin we're in? We're providing you with the research in a nicely packaged way, but we always encourage you to critically think about your own surgery and to think about how beauty actually affects you. Is it important? Is it important enough to warrant surgery? If cosmetic surgery or applying snail mucus doesn't appeal to you, there are thankfully some less extreme ways of optimising your beauty. If you have too much sun exposure, UV exposure, this can cause damage to your skin and the cells in the skin. The DNA may undergo mutations, which may eventually lead to skin cancer. Because the UV rays can penetrate deeper into the skin, they also damage the collagen and the elastic fibres that are in the lower layer of the skin. And this is what causes the deep wrinkles. So when you're out in the sun for a long time then you should wear a broad spectrum suncream or clothes that cover your skin to prevent that skin damage. Lack of sleep can release the stress hormones which are bad for our skin, also, the skin has its own internal clock and so skin cells are programmed to grow and repair at night while we sleep. A good night's sleep can be subjective, but on average it's anywhere between six and nine hours. Genetic epidemiologist Tim Spector says the role of diet in conditions such as acne is still unclear. But he believes that keeping the microbes in your gut in good working order, through reducing processed food and eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables, should help your skin's health generally. So in the future, we will be able to tell you which foods you should be eating to enhance this particular type of microbe that could help your skin health. At the moment, we're just giving general advice to increase the helpful microbes in your gut and reduce the harmful ones. You might think all this beautifying is deeply superficial - but perhaps this pursuit of beauty is part of what makes our species unique. The Kadiwéu people in Brazil elaborately paint their faces, the Nuba in the Sudan practice scarification, the tattoo, a Polynesian word, is widespread across the Pacific. Beauty can have an irresistible pull for humans, but we are fundamentally different from other animals in that we do not accept our bodies as they are.