Is your face giving off mixed messages?

July 17, 2013

What is your resting face like?
What is your resting face like?

Last May, a mock PSA (public service announcement) about something known as "bitchy resting face" became a viral hit on YouTube. The term describes women whose natural "resting face" looks angry, annoyed or rude, even if they are feeling calm or even happy. Though the PSA was made in jest, the term has since become part of popular lexicon, and some women may even be looking for ways to treat it with the help of an aesthetic plastic surgeon.

In the media
In the wake of the fake PSA, several prominent women have stepped forward to talk about their own faces. In an article for Jezebel, Kristine Gutierrez writes that she loves her aggressive resting face, which reflects "authenticity" instead of putting up a false front. She also notes that only women are expected to look cheerful; men are given a free pass to look grumpy.

Not everyone is embracing the grumpy look. Actress Anna Paquin, while on a late-night talk show, said she despised the fact that her normal face made her look like she "wants to kill people," according to CNBC.

An age-old problem
If you think bitchy resting face is a new problem, think again. The news source spoke with a Michigan-based plastic surgeon who explained that aesthetic physicians like himself have been treating this issue for a long time, though they have not and do not use the term "bitchy resting face."

"Basically, many of us have features that we inherit and/or develop with age that can make us look unpleasant, grumpy, or even, yes, bitchy," he told the media outlet.

So what can be done about this problem? The doctor explained that he uses a procedure known as a "grin lift" to treat bitchy resting face. This may be a variation on the facelift, which could help raise the corners of the mouth, giving a naturally more genial appearance to the face.

Injectable cosmetics can also help women who look grumpy when they are at peace. Botox injections can smooth worry lines between the eyes and raise the eyebrows. Dermal fillers can round out the chin and mouth or fill in deep creases that make you look upset.

If you don't like the way your face looks when you are at rest, you may want to ask a board-certified plastic surgeon for advice. He or she will be able to point you in the direction of aesthetic procedures that could help alleviate this problem.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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