Smooth face but cold personality: Botox study shows social downside

Facial injectables such as Botox might give you a wrinkle-free face, but new research suggests some hefty negative social implications. Compared to women who rely on skin creams to smooth wrinkles, study participants viewed women who used Botox as vain and, worse, cold.

The study, conducted by the University of Toronto, examined social perceptions of women who rely on a variety of anti-aging techniques, including avoiding the sun, using skin creams, Botox, and facelifts. The results showed that the less a woman tried to interfere with aging naturally, the more positively her personality was viewed by the participants in the study - at least when the participants were told the subject was using Botox or other methods, implying a woman might not want to advertise her anti-aging regimen and aim for the most natural look possible.

It's interesting to note that the participants were divided into two different age groups, those with an average age of 18 and those with an average of 70, with each reading descriptions of women and their anti-aging techniques and then judging the women's characters based on the descriptions.

The older participants generally had more positive feelings toward women who used any type of anti-aging techniques than the younger ones did, but all of the participants felt more warmth toward the women who didn't use Botox, believing they were less vain.

Thanks to a previous study, it is known that facial freezers such as Botox may not just impair the expression of emotions, but also the actual perception of them. Another new study suggests that the wrinkle smoothers might keep you from understanding other people's feelings, too.

According to an article in USA Today, researchers from the University of Southern California and Duke University compared Botox- and Restylane-treated patients to a group that got a muscle-amplifying gel while they were trying to identify people's emotions on computer images.

"People who use Botox are less able to read others' emotions," David Neal, a psychology professor at USC, concluded and told the paper that people try to understand others' emotions partly through mimicking their facial expressions, so "if muscular signals from the face to the brain are dampened, you're less able to read emotions."

 

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