Anthropometry of Facial Beauty

  • Chiarella Sforza
  • Alberto Laino
  • Gaia Grandi
  • Gianluca M. Tartaglia
  • Virgilio F. Ferrario


Esthetic criteria have been defined in almost all cultures, but the actual existence of ­codified facial characteristics in attractive people is still matter of debate. In our laboratory, we ­analyzed the three-dimensional facial characteristics of 415 children, adolescents and women considered “attractive,” selected either by casting agencies (children and adolescents, 4–17 years of age) or by juries of National beauty competitions (adult men and women, 18–30 years of age). Their facial soft tissues were measured with a non-invasive computerized instrument, and several measurements obtained. Data were compared to those collected in 629 healthy persons of the same sex, age, and ethnicity, selected using criteria of dentofacial normality. In Caucasian children, facial attractiveness was characterized by an increased development of the facial middle (maxilla) and upper thirds (forehead), with a wider and deeper face, but less vertically developed in the lower third. During adolescence, a female face was considered attractive when it was wider, shorter and less deep, with relatively larger forehead and maxilla, and a reduced mandible relative to the maxilla. Facial attractiveness in adult Caucasian women was characterized by a prominent facial middle third, with full lips; a relatively large face with a reduced mandible and increased forehead; reduced vertical dimensions. Overall, attractive women seemed to maintain several facial characteristics of babyness. In adult Caucasian men and boys in their late adolescence, attractiveness seemed to be positively influenced by facial markers of high testosterone levels, with a more prominent chin. Esthetic guidelines offer information about the preferences of the general public within a given context, and possibly about the desires and requests of the patients. They can be useful tools for those professionals who can improve the facial appearance of their patients, providing indications for the best kind, timing and goals of orthodontic, orthopedic, and surgical treatments. However, esthetic guidelines should always be used within a well-founded knowledge of craniofacial and dental physiology. No procedure should be imposed on each face, or followed blindly. Even the best and most updated esthetic guidelines must remain only a part of the treatment goals.


Facial Width Facial Attractiveness Facial Height Facial Soft Tissue Facial Divergence 
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Standard deviation



We are deeply indebted to all the staff and students of our laboratory, who helped in data collection and analysis. Dr. Patrizia Frangella organized the data collection in attractive persons. The financial support of the Consiglio Direttivo of the Società Italiana Di Ortodonzia (SIDO) is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiarella Sforza
    • 1
  • Alberto Laino
  • Gaia Grandi
  • Gianluca M. Tartaglia
  • Virgilio F. Ferrario
  1. 1.Functional Anatomy Research Center (FARC), Laboratorio di Anatomia Funzionale dell’Apparato Stomatognatico (LAFAS), Dipartimento di Morfologia Umana e Scienze Biomediche “Città Studi”, Facoltà di Medicina e ChirurgiaUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

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