Circles of Prominence
Article by Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
Facial Beauty Explained:
Our knowledge of facial beauty has not changed significantly since Leonardo Da Vinci discovered the neoclassical canons in the 1400's. If you ask any plastic surgeon today, or any person that is among the leaders of understanding what beauty is, their answers will be different and based on their own subjectivity. There are many who believe that facial beauty is defined by this magical number phi (1.618) that explains the aesthetic proportions of the face. Simply described, phi is really just the proportion 2/3's. Others believe that "averageness" is beautiful. This came about when a researcher wanted to find out if there were facial structures that spawned or was associated with criminal behavior. That researcher discovered that the average morphed face of these criminals were more attractive than the each individual were by themselves. Furher studies showed that this theory of averageness was incorrect and that there was something special that made the more beautiful different from the average face compilation. More other studies have disproven Leonardo Da Vinci's theories as well.Many recent studies have now shown that these ideas are all incorrect. This can be disconcerting given the face that most plastic surgeons, and the text books that they read and learn from, still quote Leonardo Da Vinci's theories as the predominant theory on facial beauty. Other theories exist but the bottom line is that the answer has not been found.
CIRCLES OF PROMINENCE
With that in mind, Circles of Prominence (COP) theorizes that the size of the iris determines every dimension and shape within the face. Every shape and distance on the face has a theoretical ideal and this ideal can be defined by a numeric value. Between zero and infinity there has to be a median, or numeric value, that the brain prefers. Because we spend so much time focusing on the iris when we analyze a face for beauty, the COP holds that it is the size of the iris or a proportion of it (i.e., 1/2 to 1 iris width, etc.) that defines the ideal. Application of this thought shows that the nasal dorsum, nasal tip, alae, the distance from the subnasale to upper lip, and height of the lower lip are all one iris width (IW)...