Your first step to looking younger
is as simple as smiling


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Smile article


Never mind expensive surgery, the first step to a more youthful appearance is a happy face. A study carried out by leading anti-ageing skincare brand, NIVEA Q10plus, revealed that the simple act of smiling takes an average of two years off a person’s age.

The study asked 2,000 people to estimate the age of 12 females in photographs showing three distinct emotion states - happy, neutral and sad. It found that emotion had a significant effect on age estimations with happy faces perceived as younger than neutral, and neutral faces younger than sad.

Louisa Jewell, President of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association explains: “In general, we perceive smiling faces as more attractive and we therefore tend to judge them as younger than they actually are. Studies show that facial expressions can have a significant impact on the accuracy of age estimation. People with smiling faces also appear more sincere, sociable, likeable, and competent.”

The relationship between emotion state and perceived age

The research found that happy faces were estimated to be an average of just over a year younger looking than the sad faces, and almost six months younger than the neutral expressions. Furthermore, when comparing the estimated age of the happy faces with the women’s actual age, it revealed that a smiley face took an average of just under two and a quarter years off a person’s age. Sad expressions however put around a year on people.

Study participants were also asked to give a rating of the perceived emotional state of the women’s faces, on a nine-point scale from ‘happy’ to ‘sad’. The findings revealed a significant inverse correlational relationship between age estimations and happiness ratings, meaning that the higher participants rated people’s happiness, the lower the estimated age.

The benefits of smiling

“Helping you look younger is a great benefit of smiling and there are many more benefits of happiness.” commented Jewell. “Studies show that happier people live longer, have better cardiovascular health and achieve greater success in life. Happier people even have stronger immune systems and are more resilient over their lifetime.” 

“Emotions are contagious so when we smile, we affect the moods of others around us in a positive way, making them feel more connected to us. This is important because social connectedness is known to be the most important contributing factor to happiness and well-being. Smiling can also improve your self-confidence by improving your mood. When we are in a positive mood we feel more confident which can help us achieve more in life.” Jewell explains.

Smile article

Q10 and youthfulness

Dr Sven Fey, Head of Product Development for Face Care at NIVEA commented: “While smiling can help you look younger, unfortunately you can’t totally prevent wrinkles. Scientists at NIVEA were among the first to explore skin formulas containing one of skin’s own natural anti-ageing ingredients – energy coenzyme Q10. As we age, the level of Q10 in the skin decreases, leaving the skin cells with less energy that contributes to sagging skin and wrinkles. Complementing the skin with Q10 gives you that extra hand to help preserve younger-looking skin for longer while you enjoy laughing off the years doing what you love.”