Smog could make children look like “ugly ducklings”, the Dean of Xi’an Zhongda Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) School Zhang Quan’an says.

“If the harmful particles in the smog irritate children’s nose mucous membrane, causing symptoms like nasal congestion, running nose and sneezing, children will have to breathe through their mouths for a relatively long period of time. Once they get used to breathing with their mouths and not with their noses, children’s appearance, figure and intelligence would change dramatically in the long term,” Zhang wrote in a blog post.

Expert on Ear, Nose and Throat Zhang Quan’an says that smog could cause children to become ugly. Photo: Wikicommons, Suining Xiehe hospital website.

He added that it is easier for children than adults to experience irritation or inflammation in the nose which can cause nose tissue to become swollen with watery fluid and nasal polyps to fatten. He also said that the nasal capacity of children is smaller, which makes them more likely to rely on breathing through the mouth.

Xian under smog. File Photo: hb114.

“In the long run, facial features would become deformed – lips curled up, jaw drooped, teeth disordered, dental arches misaligned, septum deviated etc. Activity of facial muscles would be difficult, and they will lack facial expressions.”

He said that these changes are almost irreversible. He compared the development of these appearances to “ugly duckling”, and “Zhu Bajie” or “pigsy”, a well-known character in Chinese fiction who is part human, part pig.

Zhang said that the harmful particles in smog could cause different facial deformations, and compared these deformations to “Pigsy”, a fictional character in Chinese popular culture. Photo: Apple Daily.

Netizens react

His blog post was widely shared on Chinese blogging website Weibo, with some netizens admitting that this was why they are ugly.

“I’m ugly because of nose inflammation.”

“No wonder I’m ugly.”

“I am ruined by nose inflammation.”

“For my kids, I won’t buy houses in urban areas.”

However, some netizens were less than thrilled.

“I’m going to sue the Environmental Protection Department!”

“Excuse me? Or [are they] using problems relating to appearance to make parents buy, buy and buy?”

“Is this expert hired by beauty salons?”


Hermina Wong

Hermina is a Hong Kong writer and journalist. She graduated with a degree in politics from Cambridge, and is interested in international affairs, particularly those related to China, the EU and the Middle East. She also enjoys political satire.