What is Botox and How It Relates to the Face

botox-before-and-afterBotulinum toxin is a protein and neurotoxin produced by the bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin can cause botulism, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals. Popularly known by one of its trade names – Botox – it is used for various cosmetic and medical procedures.

Some Side Effects of Botox

A side effect of having Botox procedures on the face for cosmetic purposes is the inability to fully express emotions, with research revealing this can include the inability to fully feel emotions* as well as dulling the ability to detect emotions**. Eric Finzi writes; “William Shakespeare famously wrote that ‘a face is like a book,’ and common wisdom has it that our faces reveal our deep-seated emotions. But what if the reverse were also true?  What if our facial expressions set our moods instead of revealing them? What if there was actual scientific evidence to support the phrase, ‘smile, be happy?'”

Sources: * http://www.livescience.com/8325-botox-limits-ability-feel-emotions.html

** http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/223242.php

Botox and Facial Emblems

Raising the eyebrows can indicate signs of interest, and is often used in normal conversations (along with the eyebrows) as punctuators and to emphasize points. These tend to be absent with individuals who have been Botoxed, which also alters the appearance of emotions (lack of raised eyebrows can alter how fear and surprise appear).

Lowering the brows (also absent with many Botox patients) by themselves can be a subtle sign of anger, however it can also display deep thinking, disapproval, or something as simple as shading the eyes from a bright light or the sun.

“I want my kids to know when I’m pissed, when I’m happy and when I’m confounded. Your face tells a story and it shouldn’t be a story about your drive to the doctor’s office.” – Julia Roberts

Botox and Parenting

“Botox does likely limit and distort parent-infant communication, possibly making the parent look ‘flat’ emotionally,” says Dr. Ed Tronick, associate professor of paediatrics and psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts. “Facial expressions for parents and young children are really critical ways in which we communicate our intentions or whether we’re angry or sad, and that involves this very complex array of all the muscles that go into making facial expressions. So if you limit that range of expression, especially with very young children who are really attuned to reading facial expressions, then you limit the amount of information, the amount of emotion that you communicate using a facial expression.”

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/20/living/botox-moms

Botox and the False Fear Smile

Dr. G. Jack Brown suggests another interesting side effect on facial expressions and Botox – the “false fear” smile. This is a smile where the upper eyelids will “over-compensate” and raise to make up for the lack of forehead movement, creating what can be described as an alarming smile.


About Stu Dunn

Stu Dunn, Founder of SDL Behavioural Science Consultancy and Head Consultant, International Speaker, FACS Certified, Micro Expressions, Body Language & Deception Detection Expert. Stu Dunn is the first Facial Action Coding System (FACS) Certified consultant in New Zealand. Stu has had a natural interest in human behaviour and non verbal communication for most of his life. Stu's continued study of psychology, body language, micro expressions and FACS has helped him become New Zealand's leading expert in micro expressions, emotional surveillance and FACS (FACS is the most detailed de-coding of the face, and universally recognized by psychologists and physiologists worldwide). Stu is also one of the first in the world to achieve Master Level on Humintell's Mix Elite Micro Expressions software. Stu has been studying body language since 2001, and has worked with participants from New Zealand, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, India, Canada, Germany, Afghanistan, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Macedonia and Sri Lanka so far. This includes working with participants from the NZ Defence, IRD Fraud Investigators, Sri Lankan Customs, Homeland Security, Telecom NZ and Vodafone to name a few. Stu's areas of expertise include: micro expressions, emotions and emotional surveillance, body language, deception, interviewing, training, business consulting, video analysis (evaluating truthfulness & credibility), FACS coding (videos, pictures and animation), sales training, assistance with criminal and private investigations.
This entry was posted in Analysis, Emotions, Facial Expressions, Psychology, What's that Expression and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What is Botox and How It Relates to the Face

  1. Carol says:

    that s quite interesting. so far, most of my friends and acquaintances have had good experiences with BOTOX.

    For more information, feel free to check my friend & doctor’s link regarding Botox & Anti Wrinkle Injections. Cheers! 🙂


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