Which bone is beauty bone?

The “beauty bone” is a colloquial term that typically refers to the zygomatic bone, also known as the cheekbone. This facial bone is located on each side of the face below the eye socket and extends to the temple. The zygomatic bone helps form the cheek and side of the orbital socket where the eye sits. It also defines the width and projection of the cheekbones, which has led to its association with facial beauty and aesthetics.

Why are the cheekbones considered a beauty bone?

There are a few reasons why the zygomatic or cheekbone is often considered a beauty bone:

  • Prominent cheekbones are associated with facial symmetry, which is deemed attractive in both males and females.
  • The projection and angulation of the cheekbones conveys a sculpted, chiseled appearance.
  • High cheekbones give structure and definition to the face.
  • They provide aesthetic balance and harmony to facial features.
  • Cheekbones highlight and accentuate the eyes.
  • They reflect youth, with cheekbones becoming less defined with age as skin elasticity decreases.

The exact positioning, projection, and proportions of the cheekbones help create an aesthetically pleasing facial structure. Subtle cheekbones may not make the same impact, while overly angular or wide cheekbones may appear less attractive on some faces. An oblong, inverted triangle, or heart-shaped face with well-defined cheekbones is often considered an archetypically beautiful shape.

What other bones contribute to facial beauty?

While the cheekbones may be the most recognized “beauty bone,” other facial bones help create an aesthetically pleasing face:

  • Mandible (jawbone): The shape and angle of the jawline impacts facial definition. A gently curved jawline is often considered elegant.
  • Maxilla: This upper jaw bone forms the foundation of the nose and upper lip. Its projection helps determine the profile and proportion of the nose and mouth.
  • Nasal bones: Small, well-proportioned nasal bones that form a smooth bridge produce an attractive nose shape.
  • Chin: A rounded, well-projected chin provides balance to the face.
  • Zygomatic arch: The zygomatic arches (cheekbone arches) give shape to the midface.

The combined structure of these facial bones and their interrelationships create an appealing sense of facial symmetry and proportion. Variations in their size, shape, and positioning lead to distinct facial features and differential assessments of attractiveness.

Are cheekbones a sign of beauty in all cultures?

While cheekbones are certainly prized in Western culture, standards of beauty vary by culture and time period. The importance placed on the zygomatic bone reflects the prevailing social and aesthetic ideals of a particular culture. Examples include:

  • Asia: High cheekbones have traditionally been revered as a sign of nobility and beauty in Chinese and Japanese cultures. Fan dancers would accentuate their cheekbones with makeup.
  • Middle East: Ancient Egyptian art emphasized high, flat cheekbones as ideal. kohl eyeliner flattered the eyes and cheekbone shape.
  • Western culture: The appeal of high cheekbones became popular in 1920s fashion as a sign of maturity and sophistication. Marlene Dietrich embodied this with her angular bone structure.
  • Africa: Fuller, rounded faces with less cheekbone definition are celebrated as beautiful in parts of traditional African culture.

Beauty ideals have blended across cultures through globalization. However, there are still cultural differences. Projected cheekbones may not be as coveted in areas that favor fuller faces. Regardless of specific bone structure, proportion, harmony, and healthy appearance tend to underpin cross-cultural concepts of beauty.

Can you alter your cheekbone appearance?

There are a few options to temporarily or permanently enhance or minimize the look of your cheekbones if you want to change their shape or projection:

  • Contour makeup: Using highlighting and contouring techniques, makeup can create the illusion of higher, more angled cheekbones.
  • Hyaluronic acid fillers: Dermal fillers injected along the cheekbone can temporarily augment its projection.
  • Cheek implant surgery: A plastic surgeon can enhance cheekbones with synthetic or natural implants.
  • Fat grafting: Using liposuction, fat harvested from elsewhere on the body can be injected along the cheekbone.
  • Cheek reduction: For those desiring less projection, the zygomatic bone can be surgically shaved down and repositioned.

Nonsurgical approaches offer temporary enhancement effects, while plastic surgery provides longer-lasting, more dramatic cheekbone modification. However, plastic surgery comes with inherent risks. Consultation with a board-certified surgeon is recommended to evaluate options.

Are cheekbones an inherited trait?

Genetics play a major role in the shape and prominence of cheekbones. Like other facial features, cheekbone structure is polygenic, meaning many genes influence the trait.

Children tend to inherit cheekbone traits from their parents. Those with prominent cheekbones often have family members with similarly defined facial structures. Ethnic background also correlates with inherited variations in cheekbones. For example, cheekbones protruding at a sharp, narrow angle are more common among those of East Asian descent.

That said, nongenetic factors can also affect cheekbone appearance. Facial fat distribution, musculature, aging, and hormonal influences like puberty in adolescence also shape how cheekbones look. Lifestyle, nutrition, and facial injury may alter the bone over time too. But in general, genetics establish the foundation.

Can you determine personality from cheekbones?

There is no credible scientific evidence that cheekbone structure predicts personality or character traits. While the face communicates nonverbal cues, attempts to interpret internal qualities from fixed facial features lack a basis in psychology.

Skull structure and physiognomy (assessing personality from facial features) were components of discredited pseudosciences like phrenology and social Darwinism that aimed to prove supposed racial hierarchies. Personality relies more on brain structure, neurotransmitters, genetics, and life experiences.

That said, others do draw conscious and unconscious inferences about personality from faces. People tend to assign positive traits like intelligence, competence, and trustworthiness to those they deem attractive. So insofar as defined cheekbones influence attractiveness judgments, people may assume better personality traits. But cheekbone shape itself reveals little about character.

How do cheekbones change with age?

The cheeks naturally lose fat and collagen with aging, causing cheekbones to appear more prominent in older adults. Other age-related cheekbone changes include:

  • Bone resorption: Dissolving of bone tissue over time causes decreasing projection.
  • Skin sagging: Cheek skin weakens and droops downwards from the bone with collagen loss.
  • Facial volume loss: Hollows develop in the cheeks, accentuating the bones.
  • Lower face widening: Jawbone changes make the upper face and cheekbones appear relatively smaller.

On average, these cheekbone changes become visible in the 30s and 40s and progress with further aging. People with very full faces may retain more cheek fat and show cheekbone loss later. Thin-faced individuals display bone changes sooner. Lifestyle, health, genetics, and environmental factors also influence cheekbone aging.

Premature cheekbone aging

Premature cheekbone aging with rapid fat and collagen loss can result from:

  • Smoking
  • Sun exposure
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Genetics

Those concerned with accelerated cheekbone aging can protect their skin better against sun, avoid smoking, hydrate, eat a nutrient-rich diet, and fill facial hollows early with nonsurgical volumizing treatments.

Rejuvenating aged cheekbones

Options to help recontour and refill lost volume around aged, flattened cheekbones include:

  • Injectable fillers: Hyaluronic acids restore youthful fullness.
  • Fat grafting: Transferred fat helps reconstruct the cheeks.
  • Cheek implants: Implants can reinforce the facial structure.
  • Face-lifts/lifting: Excess skin is trimmed and tightened.

Combination treatments provide optimal cheekbone renewal. Maintenance injections or additional procedures may be needed to sustain improvements.

Can cheekbones be masculine or feminine?

Cheekbone structure does tend to differ between the biological sexes. Features considered masculine or feminine include:

Masculine cheekbones

  • More angular and pronounced
  • Broader
  • More protruding from the face
  • Higher positioned under the eyes
  • Flatter and less curved

Feminine cheekbones

  • Less protruding and angular
  • Narrower
  • More rounded and curved
  • Lower, closer to the nose
  • Smaller and more delicate

These tendencies arise from hormonal influences and variations between male and female skull shapes. But plenty of overlap exists. An individual can have delicate cheekbones yet angular jawline features regardless of gender identity.

Cosmetic procedures can be used to masculinize or feminize cheekbone appearance. Gender identities beyond the male-female binary also exist. Ultimately, sculpted cheekbones convey attractiveness across the gender spectrum.

Do cheekbones change during pregnancy?

Cheekbone appearance and facial shape often do temporarily change during pregnancy due to fluid retention, fat storage, and hormonal effects like increased estrogen. Common cheek and cheekbone changes include:

  • Rounder, fuller face
  • Less cheekbone definition
  • Heavier cheeks
  • Wider cheekbones
  • Chubbier face overall

This natural “pregnancy face” results from the body holding onto more subcutaneous fat and water. The extra fullness helps support maternal and fetal health and metabolism. Bones themselves don’t change shape.

Postpartum, fluid levels normalize and stored fat mobilizes. However, some volume loss and sagging around cheekbones may persist after giving birth multiple times. Facial rejuvenation procedures can refresh this area.

Can you break your cheekbone?

Yes, it’s possible to fracture the zygomatic bone. These cheekbone breaks result from trauma like:

  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Falls
  • Assaults or fights
  • Sports injuries
  • Ballistic trauma

Depending on the force and location, cheekbone fractures may be:

  • Nondisplaced – cracked without bone fragment separation
  • Minimally displaced – slightly out of alignment
  • Severely displaced – completely detached and misaligned

Symptoms include:

  • Pain, tenderness, swelling around the cheekbone
  • Bruised, black eyes or dark circles
  • Numbness in the cheek area
  • Difficulty opening mouth
  • Flattened cheek appearance
  • Malocclusion of teeth

Minor cheekbone fractures may heal on their own with rest and pain relief. Severely displaced breaks require reconstructive surgery to realign the bones and restore facial symmetry and function.

Can cheekbones be shaved down?

Yes, cosmetic cheekbone reduction surgery (zygoma reduction) can be performed to contour overly prominent or wide cheekbones. Reasons people may seek cheekbone shaving include:

  • Cheekbones are too angular or wide
  • The face looks too long or narrow
  • Reducing cheek projection for a rounder, softer look
  • For facial symmetry if one cheekbone protrudes more

During the outpatient procedure, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or plastic surgeon will:

  1. Make incisions inside the mouth or minimally on the face
  2. Sculpt away bone with an osteotome and rasps
  3. Reposition and stabilize the zygoma in a less prominent position
  4. Close the incisions

Results are permanent, besides changes with aging. The procedure can only shave the cheekbone down, not augment it. Recovery takes 1-2 weeks. Risks include nerve damage, asymmetry, and postoperative infection.


With their elegant curves and ability to convey youth and facial harmony, cheekbones unequivocally qualify as a “beauty bone.” Yet perspectives on ideal cheekbone shape and prominence vary culturally. Genetics establish the fundamental structure, but temporary augmentation through makeup or fillers can play up the cheeks.

Cheekbone appearance shifts over a lifetime as fat pads shrink and bones remodel. Those desiring permanent enhancement or reduction of the cheeks can pursue surgical options. But even without intervention, strong cheekbones frame a confident, striking face.

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