What's most beautiful? Brazilians say a low nose

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - North Americans and Europeans sniff out beauty by looking for a nose placed relatively high on the face, or at least not low on the face, according to studies. But if you’re a Brazilian, you look for a low nose, according to a study presented this week.

“I was a little bit surprised, but not much, as the concept of ‘what is beautiful’ is highly influenced by cultural background,” lead researcher Dr. Geraldo Augusto Gomes told Reuters Health.

The study findings were presented this week at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego, California.

In the study, 20 health professionals, 20 artists, and 120 lay people examined the images of six women, each of which was altered with computer software so that the top of the nose - was at an average position (regular), below (low), or above (high) the level of the upper eyelid crease. For each woman, the subjects were asked to rate which position looked best and which looked worst.

The low position was considered the most beautiful by slightly more than half of the participants, followed by the regular position by just more than a third of the respondents, said Gomes, from the University Hospital of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

When asked which was the least beautiful, almost three-quarters of the participants picked the low nose.

Surgeons that perform nose surgery “must be aware of the different concepts of beauty, especially when working with people of non-Caucasian origin,” Gomes said.

Most of the recent studies of the issue were “produced in North America, where the beauty concepts seem to have subtle differences when compared to concepts of other cultures,” he noted. “Attention to this aspect may help the surgeon to tailor a more adequate technique and meet their patients’ expectations better.”