Beautiful Geometry

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Did you know the ideal lower lip is 1.6 times fuller than the upper? 

The Golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, is a mathematic formula that makes its way into art, nature and more recently the science behind beauty.  The ratio is 1.618 to 1, and it defines the base to height dimensions of the “ideal” rectangle (as in the columns of the Parthenon by no coincidence).  The same number also describes the golden spiral (Fibonaci Numbers) that illustarate naturally occurring flower patterns, mollusk shells and even galaxy rotations.  Like π, this number is ubiquitous in nature, and several researchers have examined its’ relationship to our perception of beauty.

Humans are drawn to beauty; however, we have difficulty defining exactly why we think a face is alluring.  In addition, we often find many people attractive despite clear differences in features.  Is there a common denominator to all those gorgeous faces that our subconscious recognizes?  Although there is no perfect face, several research studies have defined ideal ratios of facial features that people repeatedly rate as attractive (to be fair, several some studies argue against these findings).

Plastic surgeons use subjective and objective measurements to help determine beauty in a face.  Objectively, the ideal face should have equal, one-third proportions of the forehead, the midface and the lower face (bottom of the nose-to-chin).  Other proportions matter; however, most agree that the eyes, nose and lip dimensions of a female face matter most.  Interestingly, the ideal eye height-to-forehead height ratio and eye width-to-nasal bridge width is 1.6.  The “perfect” nasal projection-to-length proportion is between 1.5 and 1.6.  The ideal lip dimensions include a lower lip-to-chin height that is 1.6 times the upper lip-to-nose distance with an upper lip demonstrating divine proportion of the Cupid’s bow.  The Golden spiral, a logarithmic coil defined by 1.6, can be drawn repeatedly on the face to fit eyes to facial width to midface height, etc. (an example shown in the photo). 

Beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder; however, populations generally agree on beautiful faces.  As plastic surgeons, our goal is to naturally fill, lift or remove while heeding the divine proportions of your face.  So the next time you look at a selfie, glance past the wrinkles and examine lengths, widths and ratios (as if we need another thing to scrutinize). 

Article by
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon