Smiling versus Frowning – Fact Friday 1

Smiling vs Frowning

The regular answer to this age old question is :

43 muscles to frown

17 muscles to smile

It appears however this is more cherished aphorism or urban myth than truth . There are only 36 actual muscles of facial expression and some of them are in pairs . In avid search for an answer I came across someone of authority on this subject ; Dr Song Plastic Surgeon , it came as a great surprise to me that his answer is that it takes more muscles in fact to smile than it does to frown , to the count of 12 versus 11. I had always believed it to be the opposite , I guess we feel we know instinctively that frowning is indeed more taxing than smiling therefore the difference in ‘muscle count’ , apparently this assertion has been around perhaps since the 1930’s .

So perhaps more implied advice than authoritative. Expanding the argument, smiling maybe does’nt ‘travel’ to other parts of the body whilst frowning has more than local effects manifesting other strong contractions . Facial expressions in general affect those around us , in 2002 a Swedish study confirmed that people respond in kind to facial expressions they encounter. So lets leave the muscle count and believe in smiles , it makes us l happier and those around us
And the answer to a perhaps less perplexing question , how many muscles does it take to pass wind. – I believe the answer zero as it involves relaxation of a sphincter rather than a contraction .