Smiles are powerful.

Smiles breed trust, make you happier, and help you to live longer because “smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.”

We smile when our pictures are taken.

We smile at babies and puppies.

We smile politely at friends or strangers.

How do we tell which smiles are genuine and which smiles are fake?

SOURCE: The Science of Smiling: A Guide to The World’s Most Powerful Gesture

The key to recognizing a genuine smile is to check the eyes. True smiles are called the Duchenne smiles, named after the scientist who identified two types of smiles as the “mouth corners”-only smile and the “eye socket” one.

Crinkly eyes = a real smile.

No wrinkles around the eyes, the smile’s a fake, or the result of too much Botox.

Intense fake smiles can sometimes produce lines around the eyes. If the cheeks bunch up, making it look as if the eyes are contracting, then the smile is genuine.

Experts agree when a smile is genuine, the eye cover fold – the fleshy part of the eye between the eyebrow and the eyelid – moves downwards and the end of the eyebrows dip slightly.

Isn’t that a genuine smile if you ever saw one?

Fake or genuine smiles are powerful. They spread optimism, happiness, and joy. Most of all smiles are contagious.

Leo F. Buscaglia says it best:

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Give someone a genuine smile today.