Facial Anthropometric Norms of the Young Black South African Woman

Stephen P. Wilson*, Vengal Medapati, Kenneth Segwapa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Ethnic pride and the push toward preservation of ethnicity in all areas of aesthetic and reconstructive medicine has created the need for normative facial anthropometric data specific to localized geographical populations. This study aimed to gather a set of soft tissue anthropometric norms for the young Black South African woman and to compare this with international data and neoclassical anthropometric maxims. Methods: In total, 156 Black female students from Sefako Makgatho University between 18 and 25 years of age, with a normal dental occlusion and a normal body mass index were included in the study. Computer-based photographic analysis of participants' faces in anterior, lateral, and basal views was undertaken under strict studio conditions and compared with international studies. Results: Facial height proportions tended toward a smaller upper facial third in comparison with mid and lower facial thirds. Nasal width was greater than other populations, and exceeded the neoclassical canon of one-fifth of facial width. Nasal tip projection was greater than Congolese and African American counterparts. Vermilion height ratios approximated a ratio of 1:1 with lip protrusion beyond the classical Rickets E-line. Conclusions: The "classical" anthropometric measurements most often quoted in academic literature, although important in their own right, do not consider the distinct differences in facial anthropometric norms between population and racial groups. These differences must be taken into consideration to preserve ethnic traits and optimize aesthetic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E4942
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


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