Does constant squinting cause frown lines?
April 11, 2004 8:21 PM   Subscribe

I squint, constantly. Will this influence frown lines later? [mi]

I picked up the habit in the small period between when my vision started getting bad and I got glasses. I still underuse my glasses, my monitor is at 1600x1200, and I tend to lean back. And this isn't just narrowing my eyes, I mean, it's practically a whole face action, it looks like I'm grimacing in pain - the few times I do it around others, people say it looks like I have my eyes closed. It used to actually hurt slightly, until (presumably) my facial muscles got stronger. Now it's just a habit, one that's barely needed anymore - it's not hard to stop, I just didn't think of any reason to until recently.

So, will this increase my frown lines when I'm older, as the beauty industry suggests? I mean, they imply that merely living a depressing life is enough to make you furrow your brow and cause a major difference, and I'm doing ten times that. Just curious, hardly worried about it.
posted by abcde to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total)
Get your eyesight checked again, and tell your family and friends, and co-workers to give you a heads up each time they catch you squinting.
posted by riffola at 9:13 PM on April 11, 2004

Response by poster: Like I said, I have no problem stopping (it's a dying habit anyway), and my vision's fine. That's not the queston <g>
posted by abcde at 9:16 PM on April 11, 2004

My understanding of wrinkles is this: as you age, the underlying fat layers on your face thin out. This, combines with the skin above it losing elasticity [and connection to the underlying layers] and the skin drying out, plus gravity to allow the skin to fold and stay folded. So, as this page says "Habitual facial expressions also form characteristic lines." My guess is it's not as big a factor as other things like smoking and sun exposure in the average person, but if you're engaging in full-scale grimacing while trying to adjust your eyes then yeah, once your face starts its aging process it will be likely to wrinkle itself in places that you have already helpfully started. You can see this a lot in smokers where they get that wrinkly puckermouth from inhaling.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 AM on April 12, 2004

Frown lines? Do you mean crow's feet? That sounds more accurate--squinting causes wrinkles around your eyes, not your mouth. Then again, if you have a full-face grimace going on, yeah, that may cause frown lines. I'm sure this is why botox is so popular now, but it's always a little freaky for me when I stumble across someone whose face isn't very expressive because it has been deadened around the mouth, eyes, or forehead.

I come from a long line of squinters. I am very motivated to wear my reading glasses when working and my very strong sunglasses outside when I think of my Dad's crow's feet.
posted by whatnot at 9:37 AM on April 12, 2004

Response by poster: Certain wrinkling behavior like frown lines are if I remember actually caused by constant small muscle contractions in your brow area, which are stimulated by furrowing. So the more technical version is even though I've stopped now, has furrowing as hard as possible for minutes at a time, for a couple years, damned me permanently or do the contractions wear off with lifestyle changes.
posted by abcde at 9:40 AM on April 12, 2004

Response by poster: No, "frown lines" means the lines above your eyes that come from furrowing your brow (1). They're not near the mouth, as the name would suggest. Crows' feet are also caused by squinting, but I wanted to simplify the question, since they're both caused by the same phenomenon and would likely both be covered in the answer.
posted by abcde at 9:45 AM on April 12, 2004

In my experience, yes.

Anyone know if there are any exercises one can do to improve the appearance of crows´ feet and brow furrows?
posted by rushmc at 10:40 AM on April 12, 2004

Although I have not tried it, I have heard good things about facial yoga. Anything that relieves stress is going to be good for your skin--and the rest of you.

Also, eye cream slathered on right before bed has been great for me. I look a little less tired in the morning than I used to. Now, if only I could get more than 6 hours sleep ...
posted by whatnot at 8:07 PM on April 12, 2004

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