What Determines the Shape of Your Nose
What shape should my nose be? A lot of time and energy and angst is expended over the shape of the nose. Even before we entered the era of non-stop media displays depicting idealized images, having a crooked nose or one that just didn’t seem to fit with the face created a fair amount of dissatisfaction. Now, with the obsession with selfie photos and the manic sharing of images through social media, with, of course, instantaneous and often negative feedback, “dissatisfaction” has become an understatement. But, does anyone stop to consider what exactly determines the ideal shape of an individual’s nose? Is it really the opinion of this week’s editor of Vogue or CEO of L’Oreal Group? According to requests made to cosmetic surgeons by women, the nose everyone seems to want belongs to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. The future Queen of England is obviously a very beautiful woman but would her nose look as good on everyone’s face? How did all of this start? Attraction to beauty is not a new concept. Humans have always been influenced, positively and negatively, by the arrangement of facial features. What is interesting, however, is that what one culture deems beauty is often not at all the same as another. Since the advantage of having “experts” tell us what is and what isn’t desirable is a relatively new phenomenon, anthropologists have been doing research to try and determine why nose shape developed the way it did. A team of researchers from Ireland, Belgium and the U.S. recently completed a study using 3D facial imaging to compare nose measurements of almost 500 participants of South Asian, East Asian, West African and Northern European descent. Their findings indicate that it isn’t so much genetics that determines what shape of nose you will be blessed with at birth as it is the environment into which you are born. Thompson’s Rule, a theory from the 1800s, which suggests that long, narrow noses are found in colder areas and short, wide noses in hot, humid areas was declared to hold true by this particular research. If climate adaptation plays a significant role in nose shape variation, then survival of the fittest would work to make sure that the features most likely to perpetuate the species would also be the most desirable. Since we presently live in a time where we routinely manipulate our environment, the findings of our anthropology friends may be fascinating but perhaps not that relevant when it comes to making a decision on whether to keep the nose we have or trade it in for one with a somewhat different shape. This almost always brings us back to the same place. Unless there is an issue, like a deviated septum or some other structural defect creating problems, the decision on nose shape is an entirely personal one. Your nose should fit your face and personality. Trying to look like someone else or fit an image that is someone else’s ideal will never make you happy. When you are ready to decide what shape of nose is best for you, the first step is choosing an experienced and highly trained surgeon. It wouldn’t hurt to find one who is also an artist.