New York University plastic surgery prof Sherrell Aston says Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Lucy Liu—and even Barack Obama—have something in common, besides being famous and in the news regularly. They have “slightly asymmetrical chins,” he says, a trait they they share with almost every other person in the world. The finding holds regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or race.
You and Angelina Jolie Probably Have This in Common.
Dr. Aston has conducted thousands of pre-op facial exams in his private clinic and had a hunch that when it comes to chins, “symmetry is the exception rather than the rule.” This, according to a recent article by Joan Kron from Allure mag. She’s the source for this interesting tale.
Along with Darren Smith, an aesthetic-surgery fellow at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, Dr. Aston set out to test his hunch. Capitalizing on Smith’s expertise in computer facial analysis. the two set up and executed a study just published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal.
First ever look look at chin asymmetry/“left-sided chin weakness.”
Their study is more than an academic exercise. Understanding chin anatomy has become important of late because chin-augmentation surgeries increased 11.1 percent between 2013 and 2014. Dr. Aston blames this on smartphone cameras. He says,,
“Selfies, taken from different angles, have made both men and women more critical of their appearances and more prone to evaluate themselves and have actually increased the popularity of chin implants.” .
The facial symmetry study.
This is how the study went down according to the Allure article:
“Using photos of 20 randomly selected patients, ages 17 to 76, and the four above-mentioned celebrities, who were chosen as universally recognizable examples of this ubiquitous phenomenon, the authors compared a variety of measurements on the left and right sides of the subjects’ faces. And ‘in every dimension—width, height, depth—the left side of the chin is weaker or less prominent than the right in the vast majority of people.’ Even in the 10 percent of the world’s population that is left-handed.”
No one knows the whys n wherefores of this facial symmetry defect.
Why left-side chin weakness is the rule has never been definitively explained. Aston and Smith hazard a guess for this imbalance: perhaps it’s because the majority of people chew more often on their right side—“a developmental asymmetry, for which there is also no explanation, that strengthens the right side of the chin,” says Aston.
Because attractiveness is highly correlated with facial symmetry, it’s important, for plastic surgeons to take left-sided chin weakness into account when planning facial surgery. Some surgeons may inject the fat of their patients during the procedure. The longevity of injections like these is unpredictable. A more permanent solution for chin augmentation involves using a slim, silicone-rubber implant that can be shaved down on the right side and inserted through a tiny incision under the chin to provide a more balanced appearance.
Aston notes,“When I point out that there is an asymmetry in the chin patients invariably say, ‘I never knew that,’ even though they look at themselves in the mirror several times per day. I frequently show them a magazine photo of a model or celebrity so they can see they are like others. People feel much better knowing their faces are like well-known faces.”