BOTOX is one of the most popular non-surgical cosmetic enhancements performed by plastic surgeons. Millions of people regularly flock to their local plastic surgeon for this “miracle treatment,” which reverses signs of aging such as wrinkles, laugh lines, and crow’s feet. However, what many of these patients don’t realize is that BOTOX may be doing more harm than good, especially when it comes to their social, emotional, and psychological well-being.
BOTOX works by freezing the facial muscles responsible for wrinkles. As a result, a lunch-time injection can take years off of your appearance. However, by freezing your facial muscles, BOTOX also prevents you from expressing emotion. While this should concern both BOTOX fanatics and their loved ones, what is of greater concern is BOTOX’s ability to prevent you from experiencing emotion.
A recent study published in the journal Psychological Science has demonstrated a causal relationship between facial expressions and the experiencing of emotions. In other words, if you can’t create an expression associated with a particular emotion, you will be unable to fully experience that particular emotion.
The study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzed 40 first-time BOTOX patients’ ability to read and process emotional statements. After receiving BOTOX, patients took longer to process these emotionally charged statements than they took before receiving their BOTOX injections.
This result lends support to a phenomenon called the “facial feedback hypothesis,” which claims that physical expressions, such as smiling or frowning, trigger emotional responses in the brain. In this study, the BOTOX injections prevented the ability to produce facial expressions, which in turn delayed the perception of these emotions in others.
The ability to experience emotions and perceive these emotions in others goes to the core of the human experience. Without this ability, our lives, and our interactions with others, are significantly less rich.
Millions of people are turning to BOTOX to look and feel younger. Ultimately, what they desire is to look more attractive and feel better about themselves. But since BOTOX is actually diminishing their capacity to feel, how can they truly feel better about themselves? This is quite the conundrum.
I wonder how many people would move forward with their BOTOX treatments if their plastic surgeon told them that the procedure would diminish their capacity for joy. That would be a deal breaker for me.
In my experience, the most attractive people I have ever met have a glow about them. This glow is somewhat intangible – you can’t really explain it in concrete terms. But it radiates from certain individuals, making them inherently more attractive and desirable to be around. In general, I would say that this glow stems from an inner happiness that transcends physical appearance. Clearly, the ability to experience a wide range of emotions – both positive and negative – significantly contributes to a person’s ability to find this inner happiness. It would appear that by freezing emotions, BOTOX would also rob you of this glow.