Cheek dimples are often associated with youth and beauty and are seen as an attractive quality in a person’s face, making the smile more cheerful.

Throughout numerous cultures and history, there have been superstitions based on dimples: Chinese culture believes that cheek dimples are a good luck charm (particularly, children born with them are seen as pleasant, polite, and enthusiastic), but can lead to complicated romantic relationships; Haitian mothers gently form indents into newborns’ cheek in hopes of molding dimples into the child’s face, and a proverb (often incorrectly credited to Pope Paul VI) argues “A dimple in your cheek/Many hearts you’ll seek/A dimple in your chin/The devil within”.

According to Candy Bites: The Science of Sweets, the dent in Junior Mints is based on this belief, arguing that a unilateral dimple is more attractive than a bilateral one. Richard Steele wrote that a dimpled laugh “is practiced to give a grace to the features, and is frequently made a bait to entangle a gazing lover; this was called by the ancients the Chian laugh.” He added: “The prude hath a wonderful esteem for the Chian laugh or dimple […] and is never seen upon the most extravagant jests to disorder her countenance with the ruffle of a smile [but] very rarely takes the freedom to sink her cheek into a dimple” implying that dimples are alluring due to demure women that have them.

The Englishwoman’s Magazine from 1866 featured an article named “The Human Form Divine: Dimples and Wrinkles”, which associated cheek dimples with youth. On transient dimples, it wrote: “But generally, dimples mark the departure of youth, and fade away at the approach of crow’s feet“; “Did you ever see a pretty child’s face without dimples in it? Dimples in the cheek—temping dimples—and a dimple in the chin that gave a roguish smartness to the face?” British boxer-turned-Hollywood actor Reginald Denny had his cheek dimples gushed about in a Photoplay article, in which Professor Michael Williams inferred that “dimples might also provide a humanizing touch” in the handsome Denny who had “dimples in conjunction with the physique of a young Greek god[.]”

Women without dimples are said to envy the women that have them because dimples are “pitfalls for the men” that “[are] something purely natural and unattainable by art”.While it is not possible to give a definite explanation as to why dimples are attractive to a woman, researchers believe this “neutral feature” can be linked to paternity confidence, which is the ability of a man to easily distinguish his own offspring. This has led to artificial attempts to create them: the Ohio-based Dolly Dimpler company advertised in Photoplay about a device that created dimples in customers’ cheeks; in 1936, Isabella Gilbert invented the Dimple Maker, a face-fitting brace that pushed dents into the cheeks to emulate dimples but it is unknown whether the artificial dimples could last this way and in the 21st century, people undergo dimple surgery.


Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash