Plastic surgeons hear from our patients often that they want the “perfect face” after a rhinoplasty or a facelift, for instance. But as I tell my Orlando patients, what’s perfect for one person may not be perfect for the next.
That being said, there are certainly some common ideals of beauty. Recently, researchers have attempted to determine the ideal size and shape of different features by surveying the general public. New York University published a study that narrowed down the most aesthetically pleasing projection and angle of the nose, and a German study determined the qualities of the most ideal lip shape and size in women. It seems to follow that if you studied each feature and added the top results together, you would find an objectively beautiful face.
In reality, though, every individual has a different combination of facial features to give us our own unique selves. It is my responsibility to not give my patients the perfect set of lips as determined by a study, but to give them the perfect set of lips for their individual faces. And it doesn’t just go for lips.
Let’s take the example of rhinoplasty. The nose is arguably the most prominent and defining feature of the face, and nose sizes and shapes vary widely. My responsibility is to give each patient the best result while considering his or her other facial features. I also take into account the patient’s age, gender, lifestyle, and ethnicity. A nose that would be perfect for a young, petite woman of Scandinavian descent would be very misplaced on middle-aged, tall East Asian man.
Research that determines the ideal look of different features can be enlightening and informative, but when it comes to my work, there is no true “perfect face.” After practicing facial plastic surgery for 20 years, I have developed a trained artistic eye so that I am able to give my patients a proportionate and attractive result that is instead perfect just for them.