Dimples might be most commonly associated with adorable chubby-cheeked babies, but actually many of us continue to sport the facial anomalies into adulthood.
From the cute cheek indentations of model Miranda Kerr, singer Harry Styles and actor Colin Firth and Sam Claflin to the cleft chins of Sandra Bullock, Adele and, perhaps most famously, John Travolta, dimples are the attractive irregularity many of us would like to have.
“Dimples, in general, are typically considered attractive, or cute, possibly due to the sweet, childlike appeal of them. In reality it’s all down to personal preference,” says Dr Diana Gall, a representative for Doctor 4 U.
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But what are dimples actually caused by, and why is it some of us have them while others don’t?
What are dimples?
“Dimples are small indentations that can appear on different parts of your body, including your chin and cheeks,” explains Gall.
While no one is entirely sure what causes dimples, the most popular argument is that they are “caused by a divide or shortening of the muscle under the skin of your cheeks,” explains Gall. In other word, what is usually one large muscle shortens or divides, which leads to an indentation – or dimple – forming.
Chin dimples, on the other hand (also affectionately known as “bum-chins”), are caused by a bone irregularity rather than a shortened or divided muscle.
“The left and right sides of the chin fuse together improperly in the womb,” explains Gall. What the two types of dimples have in common is that they’re both “actually considered to be a sort of deformity since they’re a genetic defect in the muscles or jaw bone.”
How do you get dimples?
First, the bad news. As dimples are caused by our genes, the only way to get permanent indentations naturally is to be born with them, says Gall.
“Many people try pressing hard against their cheeks to leave an indent where their finger pressed, but this isn’t recommended and isn’t likely to work for any amount of time,” she adds.
If you want to enhance existing dimples, you can do so by applying eyeshadow or bronzing powder one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone to the inside of your dimples, then using a highlighting powder elsewhere to create a contrast.
Or, in the case of cheek dimples, simply smile.
“Because [cheek dimples] are caused by shorter, or divided muscle in your cheeks, then the way you smile can affect how they appear, or even slightly sucking on the inside of your cheeks can make them look more prominent,” explains Gall.
Can you create dimples with surgery?
“Due to how desirable they’re considered to be many people consider artificial methods of achieving the dimple look,” says Gall. And for those who are simply set on getting their own set of dimples, there are cosmetic procedures which allow you to create them.
“Dimpleplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure which involves making a small hole in the skin and removing a small amount of fat and muscle to create the dimple look,” explains Gall.
“Some people also try dimple piercing to create the look of a dimple or enhance their natural dimples, which is a piercing through the cheek and the length of the bar placed in the cheeks presses the inner and outer cheeks closer together, imitating dimples.”
Vadiodara Plastic Surgery, which is based in Harley Street, London, offers dimpleplasty for £1,000 for one dimple, and £1,500 for two. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic.
However, every cosmetic surgery procedure comes with a risk, and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) recommends would-be patients should “be safe and sure” before going under the knife. See the BAAPS website for further advice and information.
Alternatively, you might look into highlighting other cute imperfections you might have. In recent years, natural freckles have become increasingly popular thanks to the likes of Meghan Markle.