Cosmetic Dermatology

Ideals of Facial Beauty

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Age-Related Changes

In addition to the facial proportions guided by genetics, several changes occur with increased age. Over the course of a lifetime, predictable patterns emerge in the dimensions of the skin, soft tissue, and bone. These alterations in structural proportions may ultimately lead to an unevenness in facial aesthetics.

In skeletal structure, gradual bone resorption and expansion causes a reduction in facial height as well as an increase in facial width and depth.20 Fat atrophy and hypertrophy affect soft tissue proportions, visualized as hollowing at the temples, cheeks, and around the eyes, along with fullness in the submental region and jowls.21 Finally, decreases in skin elasticity and collagen exacerbate the appearance of rhytides and sagging. In older patients who desire a more youthful appearance, various applications of dermal fillers, fat grafting, liposuction, and skin tightening techniques can help to mitigate these changes.


Improving facial aesthetics relies on an understanding of the norms of facial proportions. Although cosmetic interventions commonly are advertised or described based on a single anatomical unit, it is important to appreciate the relationships between facial structures. Most notably, clinicians should be mindful of facial ratios when considering the introduction of filler materials or implants. Augmentation procedures at the temples, zygomatic arch, jaw, chin, and lips all have the possibility to alter facial ratios. Changes should therefore be considered in the context of improving overall facial harmony, with the clinician remaining cognizant of the ideal vertical and horizontal divisions of the face. Understanding such concepts and communicating them to patients can help in appropriately addressing all target areas, thereby leading to greater patient satisfaction.

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