Characteristic facial features from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Children who were exposed to alcohol during fetal development often develop distinctive facial features that may include:

  • A small head and flat face.
  • Narrow eye openings (slits).
  • A short, upturned nose.
  • A flattened groove between the nose and the upper lip (philtrum).
  • A thin upper lip.

Unless the effects of alcohol exposure are severe, these traits often aren't noticed until the child is about 2 or 3 years of age. Gradually, many of these features become less noticeable starting in the teen years. However, a larger-than-average nose may become noticeable by adulthood.

Last Updated: March 17, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & William Gilbert, MD - Perinatology

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