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Different Shapes of Heads

By Sharon Harleigh ; Updated July 27, 2017

There are many different human head shapes. Many are considered normal and are regularly seen in men and women. However, some head shapes are considered abnormal and can be identified in infancy. Some abnormalities are caused by how and when the brain forms within the skull, and some are caused by the position of a fetus within the womb. Some head shapes are caused by the position in which a child sleeps or rests during infant growth stages. The study of head shape is known as craniometry, which measures skull shape, size and weight.

Normal Head Shapes

A normal head can vary in shape from perfectly round to egg-shaped to flat. A normal human head has a round appearance but upon closer examination may have a pointed top (egg-shaped), a pointed chin (reverse egg-shaped) or a flat top. Slight variations are normal. More extreme variations -- especially in infants -- may indicate a medical issue.

Wide Head

A disproportionately wide cranium, along with a flat backside of the head, is indicative of a condition called brachycephaly, which can occur prenatally due to positioning in the womb, or post-birth from an infant lying on her back. This condition does not usually feature any noticeable changes to the individual's face but can provide the illusion that the head is higher in the back than in the front.

Elongated Head

A premature or breech baby may have this type of head shape, which is noticeable due to an elongated head from front to back. The head appears long and narrow from a profile view, and the temples may have dimples or indentations. The condition that causes this head shape is called scaphocephaly, which can be treated by surgery or by head treatments, depending upon what has caused this condition.

Face Shapes

Common face shapes include round, square, heart-shaped, oval or long. Many people assume that the shape of a person's face is the same as the shape of their head. However, a face shape may be caused by wearing a hairstyle that makes a facial feature more or less prominent, and can be mitigated by using props, like makeup and glasses, to change the appearance of the facial shape.

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