How attractive am I? is a thought-provoking question that may produce a number of answers depending on the perception and viewpoint of the individual as well as distinct features with absolute measures.
Although, I often hear the saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “beauty is skin deep”, these statements implicate that attractiveness is a learned behavior, directly related to cultural influences of what is regarded to be beautiful rather than a set formula to what makes us beautiful.
This certainly seems to be the case with every race, age, and gender. Historically as well as evolutionary, facial symmetrically has always influenced what is defined to be beautiful.
There is a distinct equilibrium of attractiveness that is apparent which reflects harmony and symmetry.
An attractive face has a direct relationship with the golden ratio and absolute proportion of 1 to 1.618.3.
All creatures are created with an innate inbuilt program or mechanism that is genetically encrypted to define this proportion.
However, both external and internal environmental factors may influence the level of proportion.
The shape of the face impacts beauty, where an oval face is a measure of attractiveness as well as a measure of youth. Evidence suggests that the standards of facial attractiveness are similar across genders and cultures.
Every ethnic group has its aesthetic advantages and disadvantages of what is perceived to be beautiful, but on the whole, the most beautiful and attractive people of all races share similarities regarding the shape, harmony, features, and balance of the face.
The Qualities of a Youthful Face:
A youthful face exhibits a V shape. However, this V becomes distorted and diminished with time leading to its inversion.
The impact of intrinsic ageing results in the loss of skeletal architecture leading to the formation of lines and wrinkles in addition to the distortion of the proportion of the upper, middle and lower face.
As a result, nasolabial folds may appear more protruded, eye sockets become hollow, and a loss of volume from the midface and cheeks due to the displacement of fat pads occurs. This in turn leads to pre-jowl depression, skin laxity, and a saggy jaw thus creating a broader-looking face (the inverted V shape).
Liew et al. (2015) found faces lose attractiveness as they display more distinct ethnic features. Caucasians have larger, deeply set eyes, greater anterior projection of the brow, nose, maxilla, and chin, with narrower faces and greater vertical height.
Those of Asian and oriental origin, on the other hand, have a wider face with shorter vertical height, flat or concave medial maxilla, as well as lack of brow, nasal, and chin projection. They also exhibit a greater infraorbital volume, fuller lips, and better skin quality that serves to combat environmental influences thereby delaying the formation of lines and wrinkles. However, most exhibit skin and pigmentation changes including lentigines and seborrheic keratosis.
Historically and evolutionary, facial symmetrically has influenced the perception of beauty
Research of facial symmetry reveals that facial symmetry influences secondary sexual characteristics, particularly health, suitability as a potential partner, and genetic quality and developmental stability.
Little (2011) showed that facial preferences affect a diverse range of critical and social outcomes, social status as well as a career selection. Establishing trust from healthy-looking individuals is more probable than those who appear less healthy.
Rhodes et al. (2001) examined whether facial averageness and symmetry are attractive in non-Western cultures and found that faces that moved away from an average shape resulted in decreased attractiveness due to loss of symmetrical proportion.
Therefore, preferences for facial averageness and symmetry are not restricted to Western cultures. Gender variations with females of slim or oval faces and high cheekbones are viewed as more attractive whereas, males with a square jawline and oval face are seen as most attractive. It seems that feminine characteristics and faces of low dominance are more aesthetically pleasing.
Studies have shown that increasing masculinity of the face led to an increased perception of visual attraction and dominance but declined perception of personable attributes such as cooperativeness and empathy. In addition, the size of the male and female forehead, the position of the eyebrow, and the definition of the jawline have a role to play in the perception of attractiveness and the impression of ageing.
Gender and Proportions:
Czarnecki et al. (1993) has also found that males and females differ in proportions. In males, a straighter profile was preferred as compared to a slightly convex profile for females. A proportionally lateral arched eyebrow in females provides a more youthful and attractive wide-awake look in comparison to straight eyebrows.
Treatments that selectively elevate the lateral brow (an eyebrow lift with botulinum toxin, for example) have rejuvenating effects in the upper third female face compared to straight eyebrows which are seen to be more attractive in males.
This is evident in aesthetic medicine where eyebrow lifts are popular treatments for female patients. Males, on the other hand, appear more attractive with straight eyebrows.
A study by Matros et al. (2009) found that unlike other areas of the body where there is a descent of soft tissues, there is a paradoxical elevation of eyebrows with ageing. Therefore, the surgical elevation of the mid and medial brow provides results that are neither youthful nor aesthetically pleasing.
I personally view eyebrows as sisters, not twins. However, the quest to achieve symmetry is an expectation regardless of whether this is realistic or not, and it is, therefore, our role to manage those expectations. Of course, in trying to correct asymmetry, the Mephisto brow, an adverse effect of botulinum toxin treatment, may occur which in turn negatively impacts attractiveness and confidence.
When it comes to lip proportion, shape, and volume, trends have fluctuated throughout various eras, even as far back as the ancient Egyptians in 1400 BC. In the 1980s and 1990s, thin lips were considered a sign of beauty, whereas today, fuller, more luscious lips have become the beauty ideal.
Studies have also revealed that the position and the alignment of teeth, buccal corridors, and gingiva play an essential role in aesthetics and attractiveness through the power of a smile.
The Art of Beatification:
Beautification has been present throughout history. The quest for the elixir of youth was seen by the ancient Egyptians, who applied animal oils, salt, sour milk, and alabaster in a bid to improve the clarity and tone of their skin.
Skin radiance, light refraction, and reflection globally influence the visual perception of beauty. With ageing, as well as the extrinsic factors, skin becomes less hydrated. There is an integral loss of the extracellular matrix, which leads to the slackening of the skin, reduced elasticity, and the eventual formation of lines and wrinkles. As well as light reflection and refraction, a wrinkle-free face emits translucency and transparency infused with luminosity. It demonstrates signs of youth, vitality, and fertility and influences our perception of beauty, where the skin of a child is portrayed as a non-speckled canvas that depicts health and happiness.
As life commences its journey, this canvas is gradually ravaged by time. So textural changes are accompanied by an uneven skin tone, altering our perception of attractiveness and youth.
Skin radiance, light refraction, and reflection globally influence the visual perception of beauty
The skin of the Asian and Oriental population has intrinsic sun protection in the form of melanin, which helps to delay the signs of photo-aging and thereby aids the skin to age at a slower rate. Wrinkles and textural changes may give the impression that time has elapsed. This in turn leads to the perfect that most of life’s journey has been covered, impacting on health, fertility, vitality, and confidence.
It is apparent that many factors play a role in attractiveness that is anchored by an absolute proportion and governed by culture and gender, as well as a skin condition.
Our hormones, cheek alignment, and position, the size of the lips, chin, nose, and jawline. Social media, as well as the era in which we live and influencing trends, have a powerful role to play in our perception of beauty.
Beauty has somewhat standardized the perception of the individual from a personal and psychological perspective of how we are viewed and the shadow that we cast.
The patient may desire aesthetic treatments to anchor their worth with an immersed evolutionary drive.
Whilst, I advocate the right for every man and woman to look and feel beautiful by providing a complete care solution, patient assessment and selection are vital to detect the intricacy that lies between anatomical parameters and the ageing skin as well as their overall wellbeing.
It is also important to note that there are differences between self-confidence and self-value that drive the need for treatment.
Therefore, differentiating between those who are seeking value and those that are adding value when identifying patient goals is crucial.
The features of Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen, and wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh of the country’s 8th dynasty, whose name translates as a beautiful woman has come, provides a clear demonstration that beauty has stood the test of time.
I sometimes wonder if she has set an unrealistic expectation for us today. Her facial symmetry is calculated with protracted precision and her beauty is indeed a symbol of perfection.
So, How attractive am I?
Adding dimension is key to attractiveness regardless of how transient it may be. Facial expressions play a vital role in captivating the audience and therefore it is of no surprise that faces accompanied with smiles coupled with personality attributes are perceived to be more attractive than those of neutral disposition.
Adding dimension is key to attractiveness. Facial expressions play a vital role in captivating the audience and therefore it is of no surprise that faces accompanied with smiles coupled with personality attributes are perceived to be more attractive than those of neutral disposition.
In nature, we may run towards a butterfly and run away from a moth, yet, essentially, they are similar creatures, formed with perfection and anchored in symmetry, perfectly demonstrating the drivers that influence our perceptions of beauty.
Defining beauty is not a streamlined process. Whist the value of attractiveness may be embedded in our genetic makeup, a symbiotic relationship does exist between the innate perception of how we define beauty and the eternal attributes that determine the overall level of attractiveness.
Having imperfection can be beautiful, as it’s quirky which makes you an individual and gives your defined USP.
Love the beauty within and love the skin that you are in