What does it mean to be beautiful? This might be considered an abstract term and you might answer that beauty is ‘in the eye of the beholder’. When it comes to plastic surgery though, guesswork is out of the question and instead we need to look at the actual science behind what makes one person more attractive than another. Of course there are individual preferences but overall humanity still finds certain things more attractive than others and moving a feature even a millimeter in any direction can completely change someone’s appearance.
The main goal of plastic surgery is really to make people look (and feel) healthier. This is because evolutionarily, we are all programmed to find healthy looking people the most attractive. When it comes to romance, this is what enables us to choose the best partners who will pass the right genetic material down to our offspring.
One of the main things that influences whether we think someone is good looking or not is symmetry. Most celebrities have more symmetrical faces than the average Joe and the reason this is attractive is that it suggests that their cells are capable of dividing healthily – in turn suggesting a decreased chance of cancer. That’s why one of the big goals of plastic surgery is to make people’s faces look more symmetrical.
But if beauty can so easily be broken down into scientific terms why is it that we have individual preferences at all? One explanation is that we prefer people who look more similar to ourselves – the reason being that we want to pass our genetic material on to someone who will ‘dilute’ ours less. Thus we will be more attracted to someone with big lips if we have big lips.
This also results in the most universally attractive people being those who stick closest to the ‘average’ in terms of the size and spacing of their features!
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