Does frowning really create more wrinkles than smiling or is that a myth?

Botox treatmentThere are many well-known phrases that indicate people should steer of frowning in order to preserve the face – from the ‘don’t keep your face like that that or the wind will make it stick’ from our childhoods to ‘it’ll cost you more wrinkles to frown than to smile’.

But how much of it is true, and should we really be giving credence to these well-worn nuggets that have been handed down over the years?

The unfortunate truth is that regular movement of the face will precipitate wrinkles over time. That said it is impossible to keep a straight face forever, and even if it weren’t would it really be worth not making any facial expressions just for the sake of preserving line-free skin? Exactly, no.

There are plenty of other ways of limiting the speed at which the skin on our faces deteriorating which mostly includes healthy living and lots of water that means that frowning or smiling shouldn’t be the top concern. But when it comes to one being better than the other, is there any proof that there is a difference between which causes the most wrinkles?

According to many reports there is truth in the old wives’ tale because it takes more muscles to create a frown than it does a smile – with estimates at 53 muscles used for a frown compared to only 12 for a smile.

These figures can vary wildly however and indeed one eminent doctor, Dr David H. Song, a plastic surgeon and Assistant Professor at University of Chicago Hospitals, has listed all the movements and participating muscles and puts a smile at 12 and a frown at 11.

He does also posit that it is in fact easier to smile because those muscles are used more and are therefore stronger, which could result in deeper wrinkles from frowning. Whether or not it is a truism that frowning causes more wrinkles, the type of wrinkles could be said to be more off-putting than wrinkles associated with smiling or laughing,

A deep line between the brows is often the result of someone who spends a lot of time puckering up their brow in a frown. The result of which can make people look older at an earlier age, or as if they are permanently grumpy.

Laughter lines, as they’re so called, cause wrinkles around the eyes or lines etched at the bottom of the cheeks, following the shape of the mouth. These are arguably less unpleasant. Ultimately though, would you rather spend a lifetime laughing or frowning, irrespective of the outcome on your face?

For some, regardless of the type of wrinkle or where it is, treatment to reduce them will be desirable. Often Botox will be used for crows feet and frown lines whereas dermal fillers are popular for lines around the mouth area.

Aurora Skin Clinics are an expert group of skin specialists offering a wide range of treatments to improve the appearance of the skin, including anti-wrinkle treatment and more. For information on any of our treatments, contact the team on 01844 318825 or email