Over the years, plastic surgeons and other physicians and scientists interested in aesthetics have explored the “ideal proportions” of the human face and its features. This has led to myriad schemes for classifying facial types, suggesting courses of treatment, and even planning surgical modifications. More recently, we have begun to focus on facial recognition – using experimental psychology techniques to find out exactly how people recognize each other or assign certain faces to particular groups (e.g., age groups, ethnicities, etc.). Out of this inquiry has come an interesting body of literature regarding facial features that the brain uses as shorthand for gender – how a person can decide on the gender of a face after seeing a single image flashed on a screen for less than a second. This work has determined that the ridge of the brow plays an important role, as well as the prominence of the jaw.
Comparatively less attention has been paid to the size and shape of the nose in aesthetic assessments of masculinity or femininity. Some general rules hold true across studies: smaller noses are considered more feminine; the presence of a dorsal hump (“bump”) is associated with a more masculine nose. Less commonly considered variables include the angle that the nose makes with the upper lip and the forehead (larger angles are generally more feminine). Obviously each nose is presented in the context of the face where it lives, and consideration must be given to the other facial features in any discussion of nose reshaping. The brow, the lower eyelids, and the upper lip form an essential “backdrop” for the contours of the nose. That’s why when I see a consultation for rhinoplasty, we always discuss the nose at it relates to the rest of the face – as well as the patient’s desired aesthetic. This helps in all types of cases, but is especially important in patients seeking ethnic rhinoplasty or nose reshaping to feminize the nose.
For more information about rhinoplasty and surgical or non-surgical rejuvenation of the face and neck, please visit SanFranciscoFacialPlasticSurgery.com or call 415-550-1077 today for a comprehensive consultation!