Cosmetic corner – tis the season to be happy!
As Christmas approaches, Nafisa Mughal explores the effect of facial aesthetics on people’s mood and the mood of those around them.
We’re nearly at the end of what has to be the weirdest year to date. Going in and out of restrictions, unable to meet loved ones and not socialising like normal.
This has, unsurprisingly, caused a huge surge in depression and feelings of unhappiness across the board.
As crazy as it sounds, facial aesthetics is the boost we need to not only feel happier but actually help those around us feel happier too!
Facial expressions and mood
There are many research papers indicating that our facial expressions can determine our mood, not just the other way around. This is known as the facial feedback hypothesis.
Don’t believe me? Think of something that really, I mean really wound you up. Did you notice your facial expression change? Maybe (if you haven’t had Botox recently) your brow furrowed, or your jaw clenched.
Now, think of something or someone that makes you happy. Did you notice your expressions change and relax? Pretty awesome right!
Can Botox help mood?
Based on the facial feedback hypothesis, where our mood is determined by our expression, it’s thought that Botox can actually help to alleviate feelings of sadness and depression.
If we relax the muscles in our face, then we are unable to make the frowning facial expression. This then leads to inhibiting our ability to feel sad.
This operates at a subconscious level, without us even being aware of it.
A study by Hennenlotter et al reported that after placement of neurotoxin in the corrugator muscles, when participants were asked to frown, signals to the amygdala and surrounding structures in the autonomic nervous systems, became significantly reduced.
Not just a happy patient
Alongside the actual patient who has treatment, it’s even thought that people they associate with become happier too!
We have learnt to mimic facial expressions since childhood. Patients who have muscle relaxing treatments are less likely to pick up the negative moods of others. They themselves can’t make angry faces as easily.
And because people whose muscles relax more can’t spread negative feelings to others via their expressions, so people without Botox become happier too!
It’s a positive chain reaction.
More than just Botox
Other treatments outside of facial aesthetics like makeup, skin care and hair care also show an elevation in mood and self-esteem. This can extend up to three degrees from which people associate with.
With that in mind, it could mean the indirect impact of aesthetic treatments on families, social circles and even the wider community is much more significant than we realise.
So on that note, continue spreading the Christmas cheer, toxins, fillers and all. Have a wonderful festive period. Bring on 2021!
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