Botox could stunt your emotional growth

How are you feeling today? If you’ve had a lot of Botox, you might not even know. At least, that’s according to nurse practitioner Helen Collier, who undertook research into whether face-freezing injections can affect our emotional state. As the BBC reports, she says that there’s a growing demand for Botox from women 25 and under, but that temporarily paralysing the muscles that cause wrinkles could actually stunt people’s ability to develop emotionally.

A psychological theory called ‘the facial feedback hypothesis’ holds that young people learn to relate to others by copying their expressions, which isn’t possible if your face is half frozen. She says it’s likely to be harder to empathise with others and to make them understand you if you’ve had Botox, and that this will obviously affect your ability to connect. Dr Michael Lewis from Cardiff University told the BBC, ‘The expressions we make on our face affect the emotions we feel… Botox prevents the patient from being able to make a particular expression and can therefore have an effect on our learning to feel emotions naturally.’

Collier also points out that there’s increasing evidence that facial muscles don’t recover fully from this type of injection, so starting Botox early could mean your face will never quite go back to normal, even if you stop later on. ‘We really need to understand the consequences of starting treatments too soon,’ she says.

She recommends that practitioners assess whether a patient really needs the treatment by considering the depth of wrinkles, extent of sun damage, and how thick their skin is. But Botox is such big business that some doctors are supplying it on demand regardless of age or the severity of skin damage. She’ll present her findings in October at the Clinical Cosmetic and Reconstructive Expo in London.

Image via Oceanview MedSpa’s Flickr.

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Diane Shipley