Researchers find the structure of your facial features 'become more asymmetrical with each decade of life'

November 3, 2018  10:44

Your face gets wonkier as you age, research suggests.

Scientists have found the structure of your facial features deviate by 0.06mm with each decade of life.

According to The Daily Mail, researchers at Mount Auburn Hospital, Massachusetts, used three-dimensional digital imaging techniques to make the conclusion.

The changes were subtle but significant, especially in the lower two-thirds of the face - from the eyebrows to nose and from the nose to chin.

Dr Helena Taylor performed detailed scans of 191 volunteers who ranged in age from four months to 88 years.

This digital imaging approach enabled the investigators to distinguish very subtle levels of asymmetry - within a fraction of a millimeter. 

They then calculated the 'root mean square deviation' (RMSD) to quantify the degree of asymmetry between the two sides of each face.

Published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, the findings could have significant impact on aesthetic procedures.

'We found a highly significant positive correlation between increasing age and facial asymmetry,' the team of researchers wrote. 

'This finding suggests that the middle and lower features contribute more to overall asymmetry over time.

'Ultimately, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of how asymmetry evolves with time and use this data to improve outcomes in both reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.'   

Across age groups, RMSD calculations of facial symmetry clustered between 0.4 and 1.3 mm. 

The measurements showed a small but predictable increase in RMSD: by 0.06 mm for each decade of life. 

Facial asymmetry did not vary significantly based on race or gender.

While some degree of asymmetry is considered attractive and inherent in the human face, achieving facial symmetry is a fundamental goal of plastic surgery.

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