Anthropometric facial analysis of the African American woman

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2001 Jul-Sep;3(3):191-7. doi: 10.1001/archfaci.3.3.191.


Objective: To assess the differences in facial proportions between African American and Caucasian women. Differences within the African American population are sought.

Design: Anthropometric survey.

Participants: Volunteer sample of African American women (N = 108), aged 18 through 30 years, with African American parents and no previous facial surgery or trauma.

Intervention: Photographs and 16 standard anthropometric measurements were taken in concordance with the 9 neoclassical canons. Results were compared with the North American white standard and the neoclassical canons, and an intragroup evaluation was performed. One-way analysis of variance, 99.7% confidence intervals, and t tests were used to test differences for significance.

Main outcome measures: Anthropometric measures.

Results: Compared with white women, the following measurements were found to be significantly different (P<.003) in African American women: special head height was shorter; forehead height II was longer; nose length was shorter; lower face height was longer; height of the calva was shorter; forehead height I was longer; and ear length was shorter. In addition, most horizontal measures were wider, ie, eye-fissure width, nasal width, mouth width, and facial width. The nose and ear have greater angles of inclination. Of the 9 neoclassical canons, the orbital proportion was found to include the most proportional subjects (30.6%), followed by the nasoaural proportion (13.0%) and the nasofacial proportion (9.3%). Subcategorization based on nasal dorsal height yielded the most significantly different measures.

Conclusions: African American female facial anthropometric measures, especially those of the horizontal dimension, differ significantly from those of young white subjects. The average African American woman does not fit the neoclassical standard of facial proportion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Black People*
  • Face / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • White People