Ultimate Guide to Nose Shape: Bridge, Tip, and Nostrils

The shape of a person’s nose - including the nasal tip, bridge, and nostrils - can be dictated by many factors, including ethnicity, age, past injuries, or birth defects. Modern rhinoplasty procedures and dermal fillers can help provide the enhanced nose shape that an individual desires.


The shape of a person's nose can contribute plenty to the individual's perceived level of attractiveness or feelings of self-worth. The proliferation of selfies on social media has added a laser-like focus on noses. Large noses can be considered less attractive than petite and small noses.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) “2017 Top 5 Cosmetic Surgical Procedures” statistics reveal that 218,000 nose reshaping surgeries were performed in 2017. People are availing themselves of rhinoplasty procedures to fix crooked noses, as well as to provide patients with more aesthetically pleasing noses for their specific face shape.

Nose Shape and Evolution

Different Climates Affect Nose Size It turns out that there is a logical reason for the variety of nose shapes and sizes that exist across the world. The facial features that a person enjoys is related to the climate that surrounds them.

Narrower nostrils change the way air flows into the internal nose structure of people in colder climates in a manner that helps warm colder air temperatures. Meanwhile, the human nose adapted the nostril width of individuals living in regions with higher temperatures and absolute humidity by giving them more efficient wider nostrils than those folks from cool and dry climates.

Wider nostrils have been found to result from living in locations with warm and humid attributes, while narrower nostrils developed in populations that lived in higher latitudes, such as in populations with Northern European ancestry.

New Facts About the Shape of Your Nose Previous studies focused on smaller or larger noses in relation to the size of the human skull. However, the natural selection of an individual's nose size based upon climate was a newly confirmed notion, according to Arslan Zaidi.

Approximately 500 people of Northern European, South Asian, East Asian, and West African descent were studied and the findings confirmed that nose adaptations were indeed related to climate and may have helped prevent certain respiratory diseases.

Nose Shape As Related to Ethnicity and Rhinoplasty As a result of the findings from studies that explain the variations in the nose's makeup based upon ethnicity, it's important for rhinoplasty surgeons and patients alike to understand the origins of nose patterns as well.

According to PLOS Genetics, the nose's function is to alter the air we breathe optimally before the air hits the lower respiratory tract. Therefore, ideal nose structures aren't just due to sexual selection and genetic drift, but also the climates surrounding different populations, in the same manner, that factors like skin pigmentation are affected by region.

How Your Nose's Bridge, Tip, and Nostrils Change with Age

The surrounding weather isn't the only phenomenon that plays a role in how the shape of the nose appears. Age and time can also affect the nose. After puberty ends, the nose tends to cease growing - but the nose can still change in shape as we age.

The nose is primarily composed of hyaline cartilage and contains the protein collagen, which means that the structure of the nose and surrounding skin can change over time. Skin sags and the nose can stretch and droop in a downward direction, causing the tip, bridge, and nostrils to look different than how they used to appear.

The glands in the nose tip may get bigger, making the nose's width wider and causing the tip to become heavier. As such, a small nose may grow to appear larger as a person ages, making the nose look long and bulbous over time.

The Ideal Nostril Width for Your Face Shape

The perfect size of a person's nostrils and nose width can vary, based upon several factors that are specific to that individual patient undergoing rhinoplasty - better known as a nose job.

The goal is to create a new nose that looks ideal for that person's facial shape - one that perfectly compliments their countenance and blends in harmony with their face. However, a person can get a general idea of their ideal symmetrical nostril width by imagining two lines running vertically downward from the inside corners of their eyes to each side of their nose to approximate the ideal nose width for them.

Those lines represent the ideal nose width and the nostril borders. Excellent and experienced surgeons will be able to alter large nose bridges and tips and reduce them without causing the nostrils to flare outward while reducing the size of outsized nostrils.

Treatments to Obtain the Ideal Nose Shape: Surgery and Dermal Fillers

Rhinoplasty Rhinoplasty is one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Whether called a "nose job" or "nose reshaping," the surgery isn't always just about aesthetics. Instead, rhinoplasty can help correct deviated septums and other structural problems that have hampered proper breathing in patients.

Young people who suffer from nasal deformities also undergo nose reshaping procedures, although the nose surgery might not be ideally performed until the patient reaches 15 years of age for young women and 18 years of age for young men. That's because doctors prefer to wait until the nasal region has experienced the majority of its growth to perform surgery, although children with other deformities - such as a cleft lip - may undergo nasal surgery as well in their younger years.

Dermal Fillers Before leaping into rhinoplasty, certain individuals may choose to visit a plastic surgeon or medical office for dermal filler injections to alter the appearance of their nose. The "injection nose job" features dermal fillers that are injected into the bridge of the nose to provide a more even or aesthetically-pleasing shape.

While the "dermal filler nose job" is a quick and easy way to change the shape of the nose without undergoing the initial expense of rhinoplasty surgery, it is also temporary and not as dramatic as the result when compared to the big changes that rhinoplasty can provide. Fillers require continual upkeep and follow-up injections over time.

Dangerous and Ineffective Myths About Changing Your Nose

If you search online about ways to change the shape of your nose, you're likely to run into all sorts of supposed solutions that you can perform at home. After all, who hasn't heard of mothers from decades past who pinned their children's noses with clothes pins and such objects to create a slimmer and trimmer nose over time?

However, such rumors are not effective and can be downright dangerous if they block the airways. Other so-called nose-shrinking methods - such as placing ice on the nose over time to shrink it - simply don't work. With the nose being comprised of cartilage — and not cold-shrinking fat or muscle — such theories are a waste of time.

Embracing your Nose

There's a social media movement that features folks uploading profile photos that they normally avoid under the “side profile selfie” hashtag and accepting what they see when viewing their noses in that unflattering position. The goal is to help individuals stop hiding what they look like by continually adopting photo angles that flatter their noses.

Conclusion: Speak to a Professional

However, those that still desire to change their noses after embracing their original nose shapes can decide to undergo dermal fillers and rhinoplasty, to finally get the nose shape they love.

In the end, it helps to realize that when looking at the shape of your nose while in selfie mode on your phone, you're viewing an image that is distorted and makes your nose look larger than it appears in real life. However, individuals who realize that their noses are larger than they'd like or misshapen have several paths they can pursue through non-invasive and invasive surgical means. Speak to a board certified plastic surgeon to determine the best option for your unique and individual needs.

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