Thereís a math
equation called the golden ratio, which is a number found by dividing
a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller
part is equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. If you
find it confusing and youíre wondering why an article about cosmetic
procedures would begin with a mathematic formula, read on. During the
European Renaissance, artists and architects used this golden ratio to
map out their
They determined that the resulting number, roughly 1.62, was the key
to beauty. The theory is that in nature, art and architecture, the
closer an object comes to that number the more attractive it is.
The same is true
of the human face. When measuring the symmetry of a face, the closer
the final numbers are to 1.62, the more beautiful that person will be.
The simplest measurement is the length of the face divided by the
widest part of the face, but to get the overall figure and find out
just how good looking you are, there are countless measurements you
need to take; the top of head to chin, the pupil to tip of nose, tip
of the nose to the chin, size of the ear compared to length of the
nose, and so on.
According to Dr.
Mark Blake of the Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery, symmetry is a key
component to be considered in all cosmetic procedures ó both
surgical and nonsurgical. "Oftentimes, the primary goal of
surgery is to achieve symmetry," he says.
Campbell of Quintessa Medical Spa agrees. "I think all procedures
are affected by facial symmetry, whether itís a brow lift where I
want to correct different brow heights or a filler injection where we
try to maintain or create symmetry. In essence, if there is natural
symmetry, we want to maintain it. If there is facial asymmetry, we
want to try and create symmetry," he explains.
How does a
surgeon calculate facial symmetry? Blake says that apart from the
golden ratio of 1.62 for facial length to width, there are many
calculations doctors use. "Often we divide the height of the face
into thirds ó from the hairline to a spot between the eyes, from
that spot to the bottom of the nose and from the bottom of the nose to
the bottom of the chin. Ideally they should all be equal," he
surgeons will split a facial photo in half, duplicate and reverse each
side to create a new left-left face and a new right-right face,"
adds Campbell. "Oftentimes those two faces look quite different,
proving facial asymmetry. Sometimes the asymmetry can be very obvious;
other times, itís very subtle, but overall I would say that 85
percent of my patients lack facial symmetry."
something that normally increases with age. Dr. Alex Colque of Skiin
in Waukesha says that many fillers and procedures aim to restore lost
symmetry. "Most of our patients have asymmetry in how their
eyelids and eyebrows age," he says. "The face and the neck
can also age asymmetrically, and we restore that symmetry during a
face-lift. Oftentimes when we use fillers we need to use a different
amount on each side of the face to help provide more facial
A few years
back, actor Denzel Washington was hailed as someone who had near
perfect facial symmetry. "If you look at photos of most models
and Hollywood stars who we think are beautiful, they most likely have
good facial symmetry. Charlize Theron, for example, is considered
gorgeous by many people and certainly has nice symmetry," says
Colque points to
Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry as examples.
"They all have great facial symmetry, which is why their faces
are considered attractive and aesthetically pleasing," he
explains. Put that way, itís hard to argue with the math.
By Guy Fiorita
cosmetic procedures are all about keeping things natural looking. You
want to turn back the hands of time, not give the patient a permanent
look of shock ó a role-limiting expression weíve seen on a few
Hollywood stars. But how can you ensure your procedure leaves you
looking natural? "When a celebrity has a procedure that does not
look natural, typically it is because the procedure is overdone or not
performed using the latest techniques. Unfortunately, when someone has
a procedure that makes them look unnatural, it leads to a lot of bad
press, and then we have to do our best to educate our patients that
those are not typical results," says Dr. Alex Colque of Skiin.
Campbell of Quintessa Medical Spa says that most of the time
look is due to either over aggressive surgery or from using the wrong
technique. "Sometimes they are lifting in the wrong direction for
face-lifts, using surgical techniques for females on men like upper
eyelifts (think Kenny Rogers), or simply they have not had the correct
procedure for the problem," he explains. "This is often
because the evaluation or diagnosis is wrong, and therefore the
treatment is going to be wrong. An example would be placing cheek
implants in someone that really doesnít need them, or more commonly,
performing a brow lift on someone that really doesnít need their
brows lifted. That is where you get the unnatural, surprised look we
have all seen."
patients choose a procedure based on the fact that there is less
recovery time or that it is less invasive or has a trendy name. Itís
like fitting a square peg in a round hole. In addition, poor results
may result from trying to turn back the clock too far. A 70-year-old
trying to look 20 will yield an unnatural appearance," adds Dr.
Mark Blake of the Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery.
Once the right
procedure is done, the problem becomes follow-up. Campbell says the
most common mistake many patients make is to come in and get a
facelift or other rejuvenating procedure, heal, then never do anything
to maintain their appearance. "They should really be seeing us
regularly to help keep the look they desire," he says.
way to prolong surgical and nonsurgical results and to keep them
looking natural is to have a comprehensive maintenance program,
including sun protection, skin care, facials and various noninvasive
procedures. Nothing lasts, meaning nothing is permanent. We continue
to age the second a procedure is done. The goal of surgery is to set
back the clock, and from that point we continue to age
accordingly," says Blake.
that daily skin care is like brushing your teeth. "It helps
prevent certain skin problems and therefore makes the skin look better
longer. We recommend two broad band light (BBL) treatments per
year," he explains. "One recent study looked at patients who
had received at least two BBLs per year over a 10-year period. They
compared their photos today to ones taken 10 years ago, and
independent evaluators determined that the skin in the current photo
looked one year younger than the original photos, even though they
were taken 10 years earlier."
One problem all
cosmetic surgeons face is unrealistic expectations. "Fortunately
itís not very common, but occasionally someone will have unrealistic
expectations regarding a surgery or filler," says Campbell.
"Sometimes they want a look that is not going to be natural, or
they expect the procedure to bring with it an external change like a
new job or a new relationship. If we pick up on this, we will discuss
it with the patient. If they truly have unrealistic expectations, we
simply will not treat them. I usually use the words, ĎI donít
think I can make you happy.í"