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Watching favourite films could accelerate signs of ageing, doctor claims

Pulling faces in the cinema may contribute to frown lines and crow's feet

Grant Bailey
Thursday 03 October 2019 12:36 BST
Viewers will contort their face in fear 11 times on average during a horror film, study claims
Viewers will contort their face in fear 11 times on average during a horror film, study claims (Getty)

Watching your favourite films could be accelerating the signs of ageing, a doctor has claimed.

A survey of 2,000 Britons found that over the course of the average horror film, fans will contort their face in fear 11 times, while thrillers will see viewers pull a shocked, tense or surprised face nine times.

The average comedy will lead to 11 bouts of laughter.

Repeating these expressions could be adding to frown lines and crow's feet, according to Dr Harry Singh, from beauty and wellness brand FOREO, who said: “When we express a shocked look we activate the evaluator muscles of the forehead, known as the frontalis. By repeating this expression and strengthening this muscle, we develop horizontal lines across the forehead.

“Squinting is another common expression used as a coping mechanism during violent or distressing scenes, and requires the activation of a number of muscles, including both the eyes and depressor muscles.

“This double whammy of muscle over-activation might result in frown lines and crow's feet around the eyes, which when repeated over a five-year period could again result in 50 per cent worse lines developing around the eye area.”

He came to the conclusion after a practical test to see how three popular films - Insidious, Bridget Jones’ Diary and BirdBox - affected the faces of viewers.

Viewers of Insidious were found to react with shocked facial expressions an average of 20 times over the 104 minute-long film.

Repeated viewings of this film over a five-year period could result in 50 per cent more lines on the forehead, Dr Singh claimed.

People watching hit comedy Bridget Jones's Diary, laughed or smiled an average of 115 times throughout the film.

And Netflix film BirdBox saw viewers frown up to 50 times during the tense 124 minute-long movie.

“Laughing could result in nasolabial folds, which are the folds that run from the corners of the nose to the corner of the mouth," Dr Singh said. “It can also encourage crow's feet, which again, over a five year period could result in worsening by up to 40 per cent.

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“Excessive smiling also requires the contraction of the muscles around the eyes known as the orbicularis oculi. The overexertion of this muscle will result in excessive lines and wrinkles around the eyes, as well as nasolabial folds, which, if maintained over a 10 year period may also result in worsening by 40 per cent.”

It comes after a poll found The Silence of the Lambs, which saw Sir Anthony Hopkins star in his defining role as Hannibal Lecter, as the nation’s most gripping thriller.

Stanley Kubrick’s psychological re-imagining of Stephen King’s novel The Shining was considered to be the scariest horror, due to Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance as groundskeeper Jack Torrance.


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