Southlake Plastic Surgeon Dr. Michael Vennemeyer says “Not really!” He continues, “There are a lot of studies revealing humans have a built-in set of criteria for what we consider attractive. It’s fascinating, because these measureable factors have been shown to transcend culture and ethnicity.”
Q: What things make people attractive from a physical standpoint?
A: There are four basic things everyone’s brain is designed to look for: youthfulness, symmetry, proportion and gender-specific traits. Symmetry means both sides of your body, most importantly the face, are mirror opposites of each other. No one is perfectly symmetrical, but more symmetrical faces are rated as more attractive.
Proportions refer to comparative measurements between parts of your body. There are certain proportions like your waist to hip ratio that have a dramatic effect on attractiveness. Gender-specific traits are features that appear masculine or feminine. Men and women are judged to be more attractive when they have strong features corresponding to their gender.
Q: Should this mean anything to someone considering plastic surgery?
A: Absolutely! Most people seeking plastic surgery want to look like a better version of themselves, not someone completely different. When a patient discusses their goals, I use these concepts to help them understand what changes will make them look better and avoid changes that may look weird or unnatural.
Q: What are some examples?
A: For rhinoplasty (nose jobs), I consider the ideal size of the patient’s nose based on their facial structure. I also look at other factors that may make the person a more attractive version of themselves. Women should have a feminine appearing nose and men have a masculine appearing nose (gender-specific traits). Another ingredient is making sure that overall facial balance is present at the end of the procedure (proportion).
For example, some nose surgery patients look much better with a small chin implant to balance their face. I discuss this with patients when it’s applicable. The end result can be so much better than rhinoplasty alone. Proportion is also very important when it comes to selecting breast implant size. I use a series of measurements and aesthetic analysis to recommend a range of implants that will look proportional for a woman. With the sizing system we have, she can “try on” implants and find the size she loves within the range of implants that would look great on her body.
Q: What things can people change without surgery?
A: Facial appearance can be improved a great deal for many people with non-invasive treatments alone. Youthfulness is one of the major factors that influences perceived attractiveness. Botox and filler can provide natural-appearing improvement if injected by a skilled individual guided by these principles.
Plastic surgery aside, what you wear can influence the appearance of your body tremendously. Studies show men are most attracted to women with a Waist to Hip Ratio of 0.7. This means the circumference of your waist is 70% of the circumference of your hips. This creates the classic feminine curve from your waist to your hips. Your dress size is less important—the proportion is key. Finding clothes that give you this ratio can make you look more feminine and attractive. If this fails, body contouring is an option.
Q: Has science reduced a plastic surgeon’s job to measurements and calculated changes?
A: In my opinion, artistic insight is even more important when there are “rules” about attractiveness. I merge these concepts of attractiveness with an individual patient’s preferences to create a customized plan. It’s not about following a recipe or doing the same thing every time. This keeps me excited about what I do and helps me create natural results for my patients.
VENNEMEYER PLASTIC SURGERY
500 N. Carroll Ave, Suite 110 Southlake, TX 76092