What make the perfect pout?
Everywhere we look on the internet or in magazines we see pouts and lips. Celebrities galore are seen puckering up in selfies and posting all over their social media streams. They have plump, glossy, sexy lips with not a single perioral (lip) line in sight. So it’s no wonder that luscious lips are in such high demand. I was reading a recent study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal which showed a study of what makes lips the most attractive.
It said that, “a natural-looking and harmonious appearance of the lips is perceived as most attractive.” The study used a stock photo of a young woman whose lips had been altered digitally into a range of upper and top lip proportions. Viewers rated the images for attractiveness and their eyes were tracked using eye-tracking technology to assess which part of the face they were looking at and for how long.
The results might actually surprise you. The eye tracking showed more time was spent looking at lips that are not usually rated as very attractive. These are lips that show a fuller lower lip and a smaller upper lip ratio 1:2. The ideal lip proportions are related to a ratio called the Golden Ratio 1:1.6. In simple terms that means the vertical height of the upper lip should be less than that of the lower lip. When it came to lip volume the viewers rated non-augmented natural lips highest and the lips that were super-enlarged got the lowest rating.
So why is any of this important? Because when augmenting the lips with fillers it is crucial to maintain the Golden Ratio. If the patient requests just the upper lip without considering the lower lip the will be no balance. The same happens if we look at the lips from the side, the top lip projects forward less than the bottom lip. If you do not stick to this the ‘duck lips’ problem occurs. So you might ask, why did viewers in the study look at the less attractive lips for longer? The study leader Sebastian Cotofana, MD, PhD of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. said, “visual stimuli that do not match the internal standard of beauty require more processing time – as reflected by involuntary eye movements as captured by eye tracking.”
Basically people notice unnatural lips faster and take longer processing what they see. I find this very useful because I want my patients to look natural and not draw attention for the wrong reasons. That is also why when I inject fillers I start slow and add more if needed, but always with balance in mind.