Cosmetic injections to decrease crows’ feet may actually leave people feeling depressed, a new small study reveals.
The treatment uses the Botulinum toxin and reduces the strength of the eye muscles which aid in the face’s overall formation of a smile.
A study led by Dr Michael Lewis of the School of Psychology, Cardiff, Wales, followed 25 people who had received Botox for facial lines and examined the idea of facial feedback – where the expression we make with our faces affect how we feel.
According to Dr. Lewis, happiness can make you smile and smiling can make you happy.
The study found that the treatment of frown lines left patients feeling less depressed. In a previous study, Dr. Eric Finzi and Dr. Erika Wasserman reported in Dermatologic Surgery that treating clinically depressed patients with Botox on their frown lines actually got rid of their depression. Dr. Lewis and team, however, found that people treated for crows’ feet were left feeling more depressed.
The findings were presented yesterday at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference and reveal that reducing facial lines via Botox injections can affect our emotions and how we see the world.
Dr. Lewis examined the levels of depression using a one-off questionnaire. His findings were significant. People with crows’ feet treatment had higher feelings of depression than those who were only injected for frown lines.
Dr. Lewis believes that people became less happy because their “smiling faces” were less “smiley” than before.
Dr. Lewis explained:
“The expressions that we make on our face affects the emotions we feel; we smile because we are happy, but smiling also makes us happy. Treatment with drugs like Botox prevents the patient from being able to make a particular expression.
For example, those treated for frown lines with Botox are not able to frown as strongly. This interrupts the feedback they would normally get from their face and they feel less sad.”
Dr. Lewis plans on conducting more research on the effects of similar medical treatments on the emotion of disgust – a key characteristic of people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
He suggests that the possibility of a decrease in facial expressions of disgust could maybe decrease feelings of disgust.
The Royal College of Surgeons recommends that only certified nurses, doctors, and dentists should give non-surgical cosmetic treatments like Botox.
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald