Dimples, particularly those that emerge when smiling, hold a unique place in human aesthetics and cultural symbolism, from signs of luck to emblems of purity. Found in a significant portion of the world's population, the genetic foundations of dimples still prompt curiosity and research. This article examines what gene causes these dimples, unraveling the mystery behind one of the most sought-after physical features.
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What Are Dimples?
Dimples are dips or small indentations that appear on the skin.
Dimples, especially the ones on the cheeks, are considered a sign of beauty, innocence, and good luck.
Early literature even relates dimples to heroism.
Types of Dimples
Humans can develop dimples in different body parts, like the cheeks, chin, or lower back. These are harmless indentations that are primarily physical.
Dimples, when they form on other parts of the body like the natal cleft, nose, limbs, or scalp, could be associated with certain medical conditions and must be diagnosed by healthcare providers.
How Common Are Cheek Dimples?
Studies report that the global prevalence of genetically inherited cheek dimples is about 22.7%. In the American population, the number is higher, at 34%.
There are two common types of cheek dimples - unilateral and bilateral.
Unilateral dimples occur on one side of the cheek, while bilateral dimples form on both cheeks.
A 2018 study analyzed the type of cheek dimples and concluded that 55.6% of the population had bilateral dimples.
In comparison, only 44.4% of the population had unilateral dimples.
How Do Cheek Dimples Form?
Dimples are formed due to a slight change in the facial muscle bundle called zygomaticus major.
The zygomaticus major starts at the tip of the cheekbone and goes down to the corners of the mouth.
These muscles pull the corners of the mouth upwards when people smile.
Usually, the zygomaticus major is usually a single bundle of muscle on either cheek.
In some people, the muscle divides into two bundles - one half from the cheekbone to the middle of the cheek and the other half from the midpoint to the corner of the mouth.
When the skin moves over this split while smiling, a slight indentation appears, which is called a dimple.
Is Dimple Smile Considered Attractive?
In most parts of the world, dimple is considered an attractive feature.
Dimples are associated with innocence, youthfulness, and beauty.
Can You Inherit Cheek Dimples?
Did you know that up to 34% of Americans, 27.4% of Asians, and 12.3% of Europeans are genetically inclined to develop dimples?
According to experts, specific gene changes could be why some people have two bundles of the zygomaticus major while others don’t.
These gene changes could be passed on in the family, making cheek dimples a heritable trait.
What Gene Causes Dimples When Smiling?
According to experts, dimples are caused by an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern.
Autosomal pattern occurs when the abnormal genes are located on the nonsex chromosomes.
Dominant inheritance is when only one pair of genes, passed on from either of the parents, causes the condition.
However, there is very little research on the exact genes that cause dimples.
Can You Create Dimples When Smiling?
Unless born with dimples, you may not be able to create the indentation naturally.
Some people may have excess fat on the cheeks, leading to the temporary formation of dimples. These dimples disappear when they lose the fat, though.
How Does Dimpleplasty Work?
Dimpleplasty is a technique performed by a trained surgeon to create dimples on the skin.
Here, the surgeon marks where the dimple is needed and makes a small hole in the skin to remove muscles and fat underneath.
Now, the area is sutured using a sling. This process attaches the skin to the muscles to create the indentation.
Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Dimples When Smiling?
It may not be possible to get rid of dimples naturally.
Using fillers like Botox on the area may loosen up the muscles and bring down the prominence of the dimple.
This procedure is only temporary and may need to be repeated every 2-3 months.
Dimples occur when the zygomaticus major muscle splits into two bundles, creating an indentation when people smile.
Dimples are genetically inherited. However, the exact genes that lead to the formation of dimples haven’t been identified yet.
Dimples on the cheeks, chin, or lower back are often harmless, while those in areas like the nose, limbs, or scalp could be due to medical reasons and must be checked by an expert.
Summary: Are Dimples When Smiling Genetic?
- Dimples are indentations on the skin that can be genetically inherited. About 22.7% of the global population is dimpled.
- Cheek dimples are very common and are considered to be an attractive feature. Bilateral dimples (dimples on both sides of the cheeks) are more common than unilateral dimples.
- The zygomaticus major muscle running from the cheekbone to the corners of the mouth splits into two bundles, causing a dimple when people smile.
- Dimples follow an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. The exact genes causing dimples are unknown.
- Dimpleplasty is a process of surgically creating dimples. This is a common cosmetic procedure worldwide.