You often hear questions: "Are you all right?", "Why are you sad?", "Are you tired?" Don't like your own facial expressions in photographs and the reflection in the mirror? This may be due to the bitchy face syndrome. Anna Borteichuk, the head of the clinic of aesthetic medicine "Estetic Alliance", an expert in cosmetology, a blogger and a writer, told us more about this problem and methods of its elimination.
Bitchy Face Syndrome: Congenital or Acquired Trait?
This syndrome became known to a wide range of people after the popular American video Bitchy Resting Face, which tells about how hard it is for people with an eternally unhappy face.
In a YouTube video, a bitchy face is seen as a social problem: because of the mask of contempt, others perceive its owners as arrogant and even aggressive personalities, while in fact these people are very nice and friendly.
However, the video contains information that is not completely objective from a medical point of view. Indeed, there is a whole list of certain facial features that are conducive to the formation of a bitchy face: lowered corners of the lips (like Kate Winslet), thin lips (Marlene Dietrich), a large distance between the nose and upper lip (like Victoria Beckham), deep-set eyes, insufficiently open gaze, low eyebrow position (like Kristen Stewart's), hooked nose, pronounced nasolabial folds and muscular face type.
However, the presence of all of the above signs does not at all mean that a person is susceptible to bitchy face syndrome. Muscle tone plays the main role in its formation.
Natural factors that make the problem worse
The muscles of the face are divided into depressors - lowering tissues, and elevators - raising them. There are also circular muscles: eyes and mouth. All of them have very sensitive acetylcholine receptors that instantly react to any emotions and thoughts - which is why they are called mimic.
At a young age, the muscles are in balance, but over the years they tend to enter into hypertonicity - this can be due to both psychological factors and aging processes. Over time, a typical facial expression is fixed: after all, excess tone is characteristic precisely for those muscles that are most active. If a person frowns often, then with a greater degree of probability he will have a "wrinkle of sorrow" between the eyebrows, and if he is constantly angry and purses his lips, then even at rest, the muscle will eventually begin to tuck them inward, visually decreasing. Here, the same mechanism is observed as in poor vision, when involuntary squinting pulls the circular muscle of the eye to the center and narrows the palpebral fissure.
A special role is played by the nasolabial folds: if the muscle running along the wings of the nose is excessively tense, then it pulls the tissues up, forming ridges near the nose and forming deep nasolabial wrinkles, giving the face a predatory look. Usually, such changes occur with the muscular type of aging.
Another contributing factor to the problem is gravity. Under its influence, the tissues of the face "slide" to the center and down, therefore, the bitchy look only aggravates with age. The activity of the depressor muscles increases, while the elevators, on the contrary, weaken. As a result, ptosis occurs, that is, tissue prolapse and loss of facial contours.
How to get rid of bitchy face syndrome?
First of all, you need to work with emotions. As already mentioned, the facial muscles are very sensitive to thoughts. Therefore, everything that you think about and everything that you experience is vividly reflected on your face. And since internal tension causes stiffness in the muscles of the face and neck, this not only creates an unpleasant facial expression, but also impairs blood circulation, which means nutrition of the facial tissues.
The reason for the lack of a smile and drooping corners of the lips (sad face) is often the condition of the teeth. Not everyone can boast of a correct bite and a satisfactory aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity - this is where various complexes regarding appearance are taken from. Fortunately, modern dentistry can get rid of this problem.
Massage helps to eliminate muscle spasms. Moreover, it is important to pay attention not only and not so much to the face as to the whole body. It is advisable to attend general massage sessions regularly, in courses - at least twice a year. Self-massage of the face will be a good addition: it will help relieve tension. It is important to do it very carefully, moving only along the massage lines. To improve glide, you should use a special cream or oil. A vibrating massager can also be purchased as a home “helper”.
Unfortunately, in the modern world, a person experiences a high level of chronic stress, which makes it extremely difficult to control facial expressions. Therefore, the most effective remedy against hypertonicity of facial muscles, which form wrinkles and other signs of a bitchy face, is botulinum toxin. With its help, you can: lift the corners of the lips, eliminate the effect of pursed lips and purse-string wrinkles; smooth out nasolabial folds; remove wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyebrows; raise your eyebrows; open your eyes, making your eyes wider.
By relaxing the depressor muscles with botulinum toxin, the elevator muscles are activated - this provides a lifting effect.
You can also resort to contour plastics - injections of a hyaluronic acid filler, which will help smooth out nasolabial wrinkles and turn the corners of the lips upward (see also: "Beauty-examination: is hyaluronic acid safe"). To slow down the aging process and prevent age-related ptosis, which aggravates the bitchy face syndrome, cosmetologists offer another effective procedure - thread lifting. In turn, facial expression also affects mood, so it is important to break the vicious circle: now there are even methods for treating depression by injecting muscle relaxants into the facial muscles.
A bit of psychology
In the wake of interest in this syndrome, psychologists rushed to study the perception of different facial expressions in society. It is common knowledge that northern peoples are less smiling than inhabitants of southern regions. This is due to climatic conditions: from the cold, we reflexively squeeze, while the heat makes us relax.
The mentality in different countries is different, and if in the United States a smile on duty is considered the norm, in Japan and Korea restrained facial expressions are more credible. In Russia, they like to joke and have fun, but it is not customary to smile at strangers on the street - such unreasonable behavior can cause anxiety.
That is why you should not think that bitchy face syndrome is a social problem, especially now, when tolerance and body positivity are in fashion. The main thing is to be in harmony with yourself! (read also: "From stress and chaos to harmony and efficiency: what is mindfulness")
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Photo: Getty Images
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