Does Having Resting Bitch Face Prevent Premature Aging?

In other words, was I born with a natural anti-aging solution?
Publish date:
October 2, 2014
anti-aging, aging, skin care, dr. jeannette graf, facial expressions, rbf, resting bitch face

Having resting bitch face is a gift and a curse. A gift because being unapproachable comes in handy when someone is awkwardly staring at you on the train. A curse because everyone thinks you’re either angry, sad, upset, disappointed, or planning a murder.

This becomes 10 times worse when that “everyone” is your boss.

A few weeks ago, I was down and out because after having my monthly review with Anne-Marie, we talked about open-office perception. And even though she knows I’m not filled with rage (at least, she hopes I’m not--haha), other people might think I am, or think that I hate my job. But I don’t! This is just how I look!

[Editor's Note: No, seriously, DaMonica was serving this face when we worked together at Allure, too. It's not a recent development. Sorry, D, but I had to give the folks some context! Back to you.]

That’s when I let this RBF thing actually get to me. Am I really an angry person? Are people actually talking about me in the office because of how mad they think I look? WHAT IS MY LIFE? These were a few thoughts that raced through my mind as I wondered how I could retrain my face because it was starting to ruin my not-so-angry life.

But then, I came across a meme of Vivien Leigh on Instagram stating, “Smiling gives you wrinkles. Resting Bitch Face keeps you pretty.”

I mean, duh. The Lord has blessed me with such a bitchy face because he’s trying to make sure I stay as wrinkle-free as possible! Right? But to be extra sure, I spoke with Dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf to get her professional take on this phenomenon and find if my naturally mean mug is actually keeping me young.

Before we get down to business, I have to know: Is there a correlation between facial expressions and aging?

“The lines left by facial expressions are not due to aging, but can make you look older than you are. Expression lines are the result of repetitive action of the muscles used to make facial expressions such as smiling, frowning, raising your eyebrows, squinting, etc.”

Okay, then, which facial expressions can make you look older than you are?

“That would be frowning, because it makes you look angry or tired. Constant frowning creates permanent lines and furrows between the brows. The lines that are etched into the forehead as a result of repeatedly raising your eyebrows are also associated with aging. Many people experiencing tension while they sleep wake up frowning. The more movement in the voluntary muscles used to make those expressions, the stronger that muscle becomes, creating a crease.”

So here’s my big question: Are those who don't smile often more likely to look younger--or age slower--than those who are always smiling? In other words, is my resting bitch face helping me look younger at all? Or you know, just bitchy?

“Those who don’t smile actually age more quickly. If you don’t smile, the depressor muscles at the corners of your mouth turn downward. When you smile the action lifts the corners of your mouth, giving your whole face a lift.”

What advice would you give someone who's looking to naturally decrease the first-signs of aging without using any products or treatments?

“Wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat can help you to squint less. And keeping a positive attitude will encourage you to smile more and frown less. Eating a Mediterranean diet is also helpful because it balances your body’s pH, which allows more nutrients to be delivered to your skin for a healthy glow. Exercising is also important, because it’s important to live an active life.”

Welp, there you have it. Looks like my bitchy face is doing some harm after all. Thank you, Instagram for giving me such false hope, but thank you Dr. Graf for shedding light on the truth. Though Vivien Leigh could serve a mean face left and right on a silver platter, I don’t want to be known as the bitchy girl who’s not even bitchy. And I damn sure don’t want to look older than I am. Going forward, I’ll be curling up the corners of my mouth more often, or at least I’ll try to. Bear with me.

Are any of you suffering from resting bitch face? If so, how does it affect your everyday life? How about we all just walk around smiling ear-to-ear like The Joker to liven things up?