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Will You Lose Your Emotions with Your Wrinkles?

by | Mar 24, 2017 | Blog

Neuromodulators, the science-y name for anti-wrinkle injections, are extremely popular at our Edgecliff practice. Recently, however, some medical professionals have raised concerns that anti-wrinkle injections may interfere with our ability to recognise and experience emotions. What we wanted to know is whether the problem is with the injections or the injector.

Anti-Wrinkle Injections & Facial Expressions

Have you even been sad and forced yourself to smile? You may have noticed that the act of smiling, even if you don’t mean it, can actually change your mood. Your brain associates the act of smiling with happiness. On the flip side, frowning can deepen a bad mood for the same reason. When neuromodulators prevent facial muscles from moving freely, some doctors feel that a person’s emotions may be less intense.

In addition to numbing emotions, neuromodulators may have an effect on empathy. The theory of “embodied cognition” says that we unconsciously mimic the facial expressions of the person to whom we are speaking. Mimicking those expressions creates activity in the brain that helps the listener understand or “feel” the speaker’s emotional intent. According to research, people injected with neuromodulators may have trouble empathising with others because they are unable to mimic their expressions.

How to Lose Wrinkles, But Save Emotion

When a facial muscle is injected with a neuromodulator, it loses its ability to contract and form dynamic wrinkles such as crows’ feet, forehead furrows, and frown lines. The injections temporarily paralyse the muscles involved in making facial expressions. Repeated injections have proven effective in preventing dynamic wrinkles from becoming permanent. They are considered safe, and, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association of Dermatology, it’s seldom too early to start a “conservative and thoughtful use of neuromodulators, fillers, and non-invasive energy-based treatments.”

The key words here are conservative and thoughtful. “Over-injecting a patient and carelessness in the placement of injections can create a frozen face that can dampen emotions,” says our practice founder, facial plastic surgeon Dr George Marcells. “Patients should be wary of untrained and inexperienced injectors. They lack the fundamental knowledge of facial muscle structure that is required to create an effective treatment plan.”

Emotive & Wrinkle-Free in Edgecliff

Experience and training are two hallmarks of our practice. If you’d like to speak with experts about cosmetic injectables and other aesthetic treatments to help you look fresh and vital, please use our online enquiry form or call us.

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Meet Dr Marcells

MBBS (Syd), FRACS (ORL-HNS)
President – Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons

Dr George Marcells is known for excellence in facial plastic surgery and is considered a true master of rhinoplasty. He performs advanced surgical techniques to restore balance and harmony to the face and can also resolve functional issues such as breathing difficulties.

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