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The Arts and Medicine
March 28, 2017

The Female Beautiful Face

Author Affiliations
  • 1Facial Plastic Surgery, Clinical New York Presbyterian Hospital–Weill Cornell Center, New York, New York
JAMA. 2017;317(12):1198-1200. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.1797

As a facial plastic surgeon practicing in New York City, I have followed the evolution of the female face over decades in the beauty media—mainly, fashion and culture magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour in close relationship with the television and movie industries—and how that evolution has contributed to a contemporary standard of female beauty. The casual observer may have the misimpression that the beautiful female face is static or constant. In fact, change is the constant, and having a historical understanding of change in facial beauty and how quickly or slowly it has occurred provides a context for discussion with patients about what permanent facial change is possible, not possible, or inappropriate when they present for aesthetic procedures with a portfolio of beautiful faces clipped or printed from the media for reference. Here I briefly review the evolution of female beauty and its implications for aesthetic medicine.