Smiling: Are the Wrinkles Worth It?

We’re a pretty chipper bunch here at Costhetics, Australia’s leading resource for news and information on plastic surgery, beauty, and cosmetic enhancement. Smiling is essential to our inner joy, not to mention a good-looking selfie.

Posted: 20 June 18

By Louisa McKay

Our smiley-face world was turned on its ear recently, however, when we read an article on the link between smiling and facial wrinkles.

Facial Muscles and What They Do

It’s not just your lips that are involved in a smile. In fact, there are ten different muscles that pull together to create facial expressions. For smiling we use:

  • Levatator anguli Oris – helps raise the angle of the mouth
  • Levator labii superioris – pulls up the corner or the lip and nose
  • Orbicularis Oculi – causes eyes to crinkle
  • Risorius – muscles that pull the corners of the mouth towards the side of the face
  • Zygomaticus major and minor – pull up the corners of your mouth

These muscles control our frown-y faces:

  • Corrugator supercilii and procerus – muscles that furrow the brow
  • Depressor anguli oris – muscles that pull down the corners of the mouth
  • Mentalis – muscles that cause the chin to wrinkle
  • Orbicularis Oculi – causes eyes to crinkle
  • Platysma – muscles that pull down the lower lip and wrinkle lower skin

Smiles Get a Bad Rap

A truly unpopular facial wrinkle is the nasolabial fold. Often referred to as “marionette lines,” the folds are deep furrows that appear on either side of your mouth when you smile. Your happy-face skin bounces back when you’re young and the folds are known as active wrinkles. As you age, however, the elasticity in your skin is diminished and active wrinkles become static wrinkles, visible even when you’re not making an expression. Curse you smiles…and bless you cosmetic injectables that help erase facial wrinkles.

Here’s the thing though: these same wrinkles are caused by expressions related to frowning in consternation, raising your eyebrows in surprise, wrinkling your nose in disgust, or kissing your sweetie. Smiles don’t cause wrinkles. Skin that has lost its elasticity and volume causes wrinkles.

While smiles don’t cause wrinkles, they do send good vibrations all through your body. When you smile, neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins are released. Smiles really do help you fake it until you make it. When you smile even when you’re feeling down, your body’s internal mechanisms will elevate your mood in spite of yourself. By the same token, faking a frown triggers mechanisms that depress your sense of well-being. .

Pharmaceutical anti-depressants influence the levels of serotonin, too. A smile, however, has no negative side effects, and no prescription needed. So, smile away!

Anti-Ageing Facial Exercises at Home

We wouldn’t tell you about a problem like facial wrinkles related to smiles without giving you a solution, would we? Of course not. That’s not how we roll. In our research, we discovered that dermatologists and other skin experts recommend facial exercises as a nifty way to tone facial muscles and hold back the march of wrinkles. A good set of exercises will work the epidermis (upper layer of skin), the dermis (the middle layer of skin) and even the hypodermis (lower layer of the skin).

The key is to divide your face into three zones and give each one the attention it deserves:

  • Orbital (the muscles around the eyes and in the forehead)
  • Nasal (muscles around the nose and cheeks)
  • Oral Zone (the muscles around the lips, chin, and neck)

Celebrities such as royal-to-be Meghan Markle are ginormous fans of facial exercises. Super devotees do their exercises six days a week for about 20 minutes. For a good facial workout routine of your own, head over to Marie Claire. You’ll find five anti-ageing exercises to help lift your skin. They’re easy and fun. (Our personal favourite is the one called “The Giraffe,” but that’s because we love animals.) .

If you put your heart and soul into your exercise routine, you should be able to see visible improvements in as little as fourteen days. Now that’s a reason to keep smiling!