| Beauty Deeper than Skin Deep|
By Divya Nambiar
Created 2009-04-14 07:18
beauty | beauty map | Hair, Skin, Nails | human race | In Focus Three | Research & Development
For all the talk of beauty being only skin deep, its significance in everyday life cannot be denied. People just love a beautiful face and that’s a fact.
If one were to study the science behind beauty, it would be stripped of its mystique. Over time, researchers have found that, diverse though the human race is, there is an amazing uniformity in ideas and perceptions of beauty.
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This uniformity has survived the vagaries of time, age, race, ethnicity and cultural changes. So we can safely say that the face our ancestors found beautiful millennia ago would also appeal to us.
Mathematics of Beauty
Dr Stephen Marquadt studied human beauty for years in his practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery in California. His research revealed that beauty is not just a random aesthetic concept but the result of mathematics, which the Greeks have long believed.
All beautiful faces and, in fact, all beautiful things found in nature confirm to a particular mathematical ratio, says Dr Marquadt. This ratio is known by various names. One of the more popular is the Golden Mean, while Dr Marquadt prefers the name, phi.
Using the ratio, 1:1.618 or the phi, he prepared and patented a beauty mask which, sure enough, fit lovely faces across the boundaries of color and even race.
As per this researcher, the accuracy of nature makes sure that the mask would fit any beautiful face, whether it’s Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasian, Indian or just about anyone.
It also fits faces considered pretty in the past, from Egyptians to the medieval ages, giving credence to the notion of beauty being timeless.
The mask he developed has the pentagon and decagon as its foundation, which embody the phi in all dimensions.
The uniformity, however, need not kill individuality. Numerous variations in color and the shapes of facial features give a distinctive appearance to each race and prevent beauty from becoming monotonous.
The Humanness of Beauty
According to Dr Marquadt, beauty is actually the way we identify our species for purposes of mating, self protection and bonding. Beauty helps accurately identify healthy individuals.
Many animals do so by a gamut of sensations. For example, some insects recognize others of their species using the sense of smell. Through pheromones, they can identify other insects from a distance of up to 3 miles. Dogs use a combination of vision and smell. After the visual identification, they use the sense of smell. Some species use the auditory sense.
Humans are dependent on the sense of sight for this purpose. Most of our other senses are not as well developed as those of other animals. There is a genetically coded vision of the ideal human face programmed into our genetic make-up. Faces we regard as beautiful are those which are closest to this image. When we find such a face, we respond with attraction and a range of other positive emotions.
Beauty and Survival
It’s not for nothing that nature has created this complex mechanism of images and responses entrenched into gene pools of species. All this is vital for the survival of the particular species.
In our own scheme of things, a glowing skin is considered beautiful. The rational behind is that only healthy skin will glow. Only healthy hair will be lustrous and only healthy people will have the perfect physique. Our preference for these qualities is meant to ensure we pick the right mates and produce healthy children.
That is true for every species and that is how they have flourished over millions of years. The bottom line is, when nature told us what is beautiful, she knew what she was doing.
To conclude, one can correlate good health and beauty. The skin, eyes, hair, body, nails, teeth are all taken into account while making a split second decision about the degree of an individual’s attractiveness.