Around the world, cheekbones play a role in a person’s perceived attractiveness with certain cultures preferring higher cheekbones and others preferring lower cheekbones. If you can feel the zygomatic bone at the same level as your nasal bridge, then you have high cheekbones. You have a low cheekbone if you feel the zygomatic bone at the same level as your nostrils.
How your cheekbones look is determined largely by your genetic makeup and ethnic history. If you ever decide to modify your cheekbones with a cosmetic procedure, you should make sure to consult a specialist plastic surgeon like Dr Jeremy Hunt to get a clearer picture of the procedure, its cost, and the risks involved.
Read on to learn more about cheekbones, how you can locate yours, the differences between high and low cheekbones, and what you can do to modify the appearance of your cheekbones.
Download Dr Hunt’s Guide to Facial Surgery
What Are Cheekbones?
The cheekbones are located below the eye sockets and are a part of the human cranium or skull. Anatomically referred to as the zygomatic bones, they project from the face and together with the skin and buccal muscles, create the structure of the cheek ensuring that food is kept in the mouth while chewing. In addition to giving structure to the face, the cheekbones are also involved in certain activities of our everyday lives. The structure of the cheek formed by the zygomatic bones and other structures enables us to speak, chew food, and make facial expressions.
Our cheekbones get more pronounced as we get older. This is because over time, the amount of facial fat decreases and gravity tugs the skin downwards. Bone loss in the nose and cheeks are also a possible consequence of age-related facial changes. The way your cheekbones appear is also influenced by your weight. The amount of cheek fat over your cheekbones determines how visible your cheekbones will be. The amount of facial fat can also be influenced by lifestyle choices including smoking and drug use.
To find out whether you have low or high cheekbones, examine them in the mirror after you’ve located them. You have low cheekbones if the tips of your fingers meet at the level of your nostrils. Your cheekbones are high if they are located at the same level as the upper part of your nose or closer to your eye.
It is important to remember that no cheekbone is exclusively better than the other as the perception of appearance is highly subjective. The decision to change the appearance of your cheeks is highly personal and should be done only after due consideration and research into the benefits and risks.
High vs Low Cheekbones
The level of your cheekbone is determined to a large extent by your unique genetic makeup and ethnic history. Your gender also has a role to play in determining if you have high or low cheekbones. This is because men are usually more likely to have higher malar bones than women. It is important to remember that the level of your cheekbones has no bearing on their function and only plays a role in determining your facial structure.
People with low cheekbones may lack some definition in their cheeks. Their face is usually the widest at the same level as the nostrils. Due to this, some people with low cheekbones may choose to undergo a cosmetic procedure to raise the appearance of their cheekbones.
Can I Modify the Appearance of my Cheekbones?
There are various cosmetic surgery and nonsurgical procedures you can utilise to modify the appearance of your cheekbones. Some techniques you can use to modify the appearance of your cheekbones include:
- Dermal fillers: Dermal fillers are a good option for persons who desire to have higher, more pronounced cheekbones. Dermal fillers are usually made from substances that are slowly absorbed by the body over time, such as collagen and hyaluronic acid. When injected into the skin, dermal fillers can temporarily make your cheekbones appear higher than they naturally are. The results from dermal fillers are temporary and usually last for only about three months;
- Facelifts (rhytidectomy): Fat and bone loss from parts of the face including the cheekbone can occur as you get older. Your skin also develops wrinkles as it loses its elasticity which may result in laxity, which can be addressed with rhytidectomy surgery;
- Cheek implants: If you want to permanently alter the appearance of your face then you can consider getting cheek implants. During the cheek implant procedure, your plastic surgeon inserts a cheekbone made of solid silicone through tiny incisions made on either side of the mouth. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and there may be some discomfort during the recovery period. It is normal to experience some swelling and pain for up to a week after the procedure. The results obtained from cheek implants are long-lasting. However, there are some potential adverse effects, just like with any surgical procedure;
- Facial fat transfer: You can also utilise a facial fat transfer to improve the appearance of your cheekbones. During a facial fat transfer, fat is taken from an area of your body and placed in your desired location. Common sites for facial fat transfer include the nasolabial folds, the cheeks, and below the eyes.
What Ethnicity is known for high Cheekbones?
When considering face shapes, the heart or V-shaped face is thought to be the most appealing with V-shaped faces regarded as “mathematically attractive.” The forehead and chin are both rather broad on a face like this with the chin slightly pointed and the jawline being quite narrow. This face shape also features wide cheekbones. Studies have shown that the heart or V-shaped face is perceived as more youthful. In contrast, the diamond facial shape is thought to be the most attractive for women and it is regarded as being very feminine and sophisticated.
What Ethnicity is known for high Cheekbones?
Some ethnicities known for having high cheekbones include Asian, African, and Amerindian. It has been established earlier that certain cultures prefer higher cheekbones to low ones. Individuals with high cheekbones are readily accepted in some Asian communities as they consider high cheekbones to be a sign of vitality and energy. They also believe that high cheekbones signify bravery and commitment. Similarly, Americans view those with higher cheekbones as bright and perceptive.
FAQs about High vs Low Cheekbones
What does it mean to have high cheekbones?
- If you can feel the zygomatic bone at the same level as your nasal bridge, then you have high cheekbones. You have a low cheekbone if you feel the zygomatic bone at the same level as your nostrils. You can also locate your cheekbone with a simple trick. Start by putting your thumbs over your ear canal and your index finger at your nostrils. Once you’ve done this, slowly draw both fingers together till they meet. Your cheekbone is at the centre just beneath the skin. Examine your cheekbone in the mirror after you’ve located it. You have low cheekbones if the tips of your fingers meet at the level of your nostrils. Your cheekbones are high if they are located at the same level as the upper part of your nose or closer to your eye.
Are low cheekbones attractive?
- People with low cheekbones are usually perceived as being less attractive and trustworthy. This is not a fact however as the notion of high cheekbones being more attractive came about as a result of the beauty norms established by particular influencers, including beauty magazines.
Do cheekbones get more defined with age?
- The cheekbones may get more pronounced with age. This is because over time, the amount of facial fat decreases and gravity tugs the skin downwards. The way your cheekbones appear can also be influenced by your weight and the amount of cheek fat over your cheekbones determines how visible your cheekbones will be. The amount of facial fat you have can be influenced by lifestyle choices including smoking and drug use.
Further Reading about Facial Procedures:
- Read Dr Hunt’s Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Buccal Fat Pad Removal Surgery Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Fat Grafting Surgery Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog about Tips for Recovery after Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery
Medical References about Cheeks and How to Alter Them
- Anatomy, Head and Neck, Cheeks – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf
- Cheek Augmentation | American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Cheek, Jaw and Chin Implants – From WebMD
- Cheek Augmentation | Cosmetic Surgery – Stanford Medicine
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon and a member of FRACS & ASPS. He has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.