The Fountain of Youth?


I once heard that satin pillowcases protect our skin from wrinkling and our hair from breaking. Even though I’ve long forgotten the scientific explanation as well as the credibility of the source, I thought I’d let you know that I finally found a satin pillow protector (same thing) at Bed Bath & Beyond for $3.99. I immediately fell in love with its delightfully cool and smooth feel. When I woke up this morning, Ryan said my skin looked radiant. No kidding! Radiant! Wow. That’s 3 dollars and 99 cents worth spending. Of course, you’d have to read my blog for the next 30 years to find out if it really does the trick, but perhaps – just perhaps – this is the long-sought fountain of youth?


Other skin-protecting theories that I’m falling for:


* drinking water like a champ (one of my greatest strengths… and possible addictions)


* not eating sugar (not as much of a strength… currently on the wrong side of this addiction)


* sleeping on one’s back (oh, I wish I could, but the medical profession has me scared onto my side for a few more nights. Apparently, I could suffocate myself or cause a kink in the baby’s oxygen and food supply. I’ll take a couple of wrinkles for this precaution.)


* Oil of Olay and/or Mary Kay skin care (seems like every beautiful-skinned person I know uses one of these products)


* smiling more than frowning (I’m still a believer despite the science, see Appendix 🙂 )


So, that’s my list of elixirs. ‘Got any of your own? Do share! I’m up for trying new things as long as they don’t require needles, cucumbers, or billions of dollars.


Appendix 🙂

Excerpt from The Straight Dope

Dear Cecil:

I’ve heard from all sorts of places that it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile (the numbers vary), but I can tell you from experience that spending half an hour grinning is a lot more tiring than half an hour of not smiling, which is pretty much the same as frowning. Is the whole idea bogus? –Ella, via the Internet

Cecil replies:

I’ve been hearing this for years. Supposedly it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown; ergo, you should smile. Happiness, it seems, is the lazy person’s emotion. Time to put this platitude to rest. I arrived at the following detailed accounting of the relevant muscles with the aid of David H. Song, MD, FACS, plastic surgeon and assistant professor at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Song, among other things, reconstructs faces–in short, he ought to know. My apologies if this list seems obsessive, but we’re going to settle this once and for all. Caveat: Deciding which of the 53 facial muscles are important in smiling or frowning is a bit arbitrary–many make only minor contributions, and depending on the intensity of the expression may not be involved at all. I’ve listed here the ones Song feels are important, as corroborated by other sources.

Muscles involved in a “zygomatic” (i.e., genuine) smile:

Zygomaticus major and minor. These muscles pull up the corners of the mouth. They’re bilateral (one set on either side of the face). Total number of muscles: 4.

Orbicularis oculi. One of these muscles encircles each eye and causes crinkling. Total: 2.

Levator labii superioris. Pulls up corner of lip and nose. Bilateral. Total: 2.

Levator anguli oris. Also helps elevate angle of mouth. Bilateral. Total: 2.

Risorius. Pulls corner of mouth to the side. Bilateral. Total: 2. Grand total for smiling: 12.

Principal muscles involved in a frown:

Orbicularis oculi (again). Total: 2.

Platysma. Pulls down lips and wrinkles skin of lower face. Bilateral (though joined at midline). Total: 2.

Corrugator supercilii (bilateral) and procerus (unilateral). Furrow brow. Total: 3.

Orbicularis oris. Encircles mouth; purses lips. Unilateral. Total: 1.

Mentalis. Depresses lower lip. Unilateral. Total: 1.

Depressor anguli oris. Pulls corner of mouth down. Bilateral. Total: 2. Grand total for frowning: 11.

Despite the fact that smiling uses more muscles, Song believes it takes less effort than frowning–people tend to smile more frequently, so the relevant muscles are in better shape. You may feel this conclusion assumes a rosier view of the human condition than the facts warrant, but I defer to the doctor. Incidentally, a superficial, homecoming-queen smile requires little more than the two risorius muscles. So if your goal in expressing emotion is really to minimize effort, go for insincere.


This entry was posted in All Posts. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

3 Comments to "The Fountain of Youth?"