Botox treatments, one of the top 5 non-surgical cosmetic procedures, has shown an steady increase in consumer use over the years. During the recession, those that could not afford full surgical procedures opted for treatments such as Botox, dermabrasion, and tissue fillers. And men have now become a larger part of the Botox market, partially in an effort to retain or gain employment by keeping a youthful visage. But at what price comes vanity?
A very small study, out of Duke University and University of Southern California, had Botox users asked to identify facial emotions, performed by a group of non-Botox users and shown on a computer screen. found that the group who underwent Botox and Restylane treatment had difficulty identifying emotions, while the other group showed higher scores than their counterparts.
Botox is a botulin-based drug that smoothes wrinkles by paralyzing facial muscles. Technically, the drug prevents the contraction of facial muscles, which gives the face a more smooth appearance lasting for several months. But by deadening facial muscles, Botox users may be lowering their emotional quotient. Restylane is a clear gel formulation of hyaluronic acid that is used as a dermal filler to add volume and fullness to the skin to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds.
Lead author David Neal, professor of psychology at USC, and co-author Tanya Chartrand, marketing and psychology professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business concluded that we may read the feelings of others by mimicking their facial expressions. Because users of both Botox and Restylane cannot utilize all their facial muscles, they have difficulty decoding which emotions the expressions correspond to.
Neal said it was “somewhat ironic” that people use Botox to come across better in social situations, however by looking better with these procedures you ” you could suffer because you can’t read other people’s emotions as well.”