What is it about a smile that’s so infectious and so inviting? I have noticed that I feel most beautiful when I smile. And alternately, I immediately see beauty when I am met with another’s person’s smile, but I can’t help but wonder, is there real science behind smiling and can it really make us look and feel more beautiful? Ahead, you’ll find expert advice of the surprising beauty benefits of smiling and the amazing power a simple grin can hold.
So, what exactly is a smile?
“Smiling is a gesture that communicates directly from our human nervous system to another,” says Charlotte Nuessle, author and certified yoga therapist at Growing in Wellness. Seeing another’s smile sends a message that it’s safe to approach them. “When we smile, our body takes in the cue that we feel alright right now – even happy.”
What do the studies say?
Lienna Wilson, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Princeton, NJ says according to a study by Reis and colleagues (1990), people who smile are perceived as more attractive. In addition, she says that study found that people who smile are also thought to possess more positive traits (e.g., sincerity, sociability, and competence).
“In general, humans are social creatures and rely not only on language but on body language and facial expressions,” says Wilson. “Smiling indicates to those around you that you are safe and approachable and therefore people tend to gravitate toward those who smile. The act of smiling also leads to the production of endorphins in our brains, which improve our mood and make us feel more positive, including better self-esteem.”
How does the act of smiling beautify you?
Smiling is associated with increased beauty because it can make us appear more attractive and often younger, explains Amanda Phillips, founder and chief editor of The Mental Desk. She says the act of smiling releases endorphins that can boost our mood and make us look more relaxed and approachable. Additionally, smiling engages the muscles in the face and can create a “lifting” effect, making the skin appear tighter and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
“When we see others smile, it can trigger a positive emotional response in us and make them appear more attractive,” says Phillips. Furthermore, smiling is contagious and can spread positive emotions, making everyone feel better and more attractive.”
Can a smile beautify others?
“You’ll be amazed to know how a simple gesture, smiling, can make another person’s day,” says Valeria Dolbel, founder at Beauty Diets. “In my expertise, I can say that sharing a beautiful smile has a definite social advantage and make us more attractive. A person who smiles often is perceived to be more friendly, approachable, and honest than someone who goes around with a frown face.” It changes how we perceive the world, explains Dolbel, which can spread to other people. She says facial expressions significantly impact human interactions because they provide signaling information about emotions and develop perceptions of the person’s physical and personality attributes.
“The face looks healthier when smiling compared to a neutral look; it also affects the age of the face; younger adults look healthier when they smile, while older adults look much healthier,” adds Dolbel. “Your smile aids in shaping the lower half of your face, and when you smile, your entire facial muscles stretch, which helps to lose fat from your cheeks.”
The physiological impact of a smile
Serenity expert Denise Belisle believes smiling is not just a simple facial expression, it has a profound impact on our physical, mental and emotional health. “When we smile, our body releases a number of hormones that not only improve our mood but also our overall well-being,” she says.
According to Belisle, one of the most important hormones that are released when we smile is endorphins. Endorphins are often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers and they help to reduce pain and improve our mood. They also stimulate feelings of happiness and well-being, making us feel better and more confident.
“Another hormone that is released when we smile is dopamine,” she explains. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is often associated with feelings of pleasure and happiness. When we smile, our body releases dopamine which helps to reduce stress levels, improve our mood and increase our overall well-being.”
Serotonin is also released when we smile, she adds. Serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate our mood, appetite, and sleep patterns. “When we smile, our body releases serotonin which helps to reduce anxiety, improve our mood and enhance our overall well-being.” In addition to these hormones, Belisle says smiling also has a physical impact on our appearance. Smiling lifts our facial muscles and gives a ‘lifting’ effect, making us look younger and more attractive. This is why we often look and feel most beautiful when we smile.
The power of smiling.
The power of smiling should not be underestimated, says Belisle. “The simple act of smiling can improve our mood, reduce stress levels, improve our physical appearance, and enhance our overall well-being. So, the next time you are feeling down or stressed, try smiling. You may be surprised at just how much it can improve your mood and overall well-being.”
Smiling is more than just a simple facial expression and Belisle believes it has a profound impact on our physical, mental and emotional health. “By unlocking the power of your smile, you can improve your appearance, enhance your well-being and experience the many benefits that come with smiling. So, smile away and enjoy the benefits that come with it!”