This popular anti-aging treatment may change your personality over time

Nov 19, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. ET

You might be paying a stiff price every time you use Botox to paralyze pesky frown lines. According to medical psychologists the injectable may be changing your personality over time.

Facial feedback tells your brain when certain facial muscles are flexed and it interprets these movements as happiness or sadness. Researchers are positing that muscle-altering cosmetic procedures can change the way you think and feel.

"Over time our faces come to reflect our baseline state of mind and our facial configurations tend to make us feel a certain way," says Anthony Napoleon, a clinical psychologist board-certified in medical psychology and author of Awakening Beauty: An Illustrated Look at Mankind's Love and Hatred of Beauty. "So, for instance, a person who habitually frowns when listening to others not only looks critical, but over time, will become more critical."

While Botox may keep you from frowning with intensity, your happier emotions also take a hit. Your smile may read as insincere, both to others, and yourself. "It can create a waxy, emotionless face that strikes others as unfeeling and people with this critical facial configuration find it harder to persuade others and make them feel at ease." Given that your facial feedback is skewed due to muscle-stiffening injectables, every time you emote it becomes harder for you to believe that emotion internally.

Want to banish wrinkles and cultivate meaningful relationships? There are new alternatives on the market that offer skin-smoothing results without relieving you of happiness or sadness. "Resurfacing lasers like ablative and non-ablative fractional lasers help stimulate collagen to improve fine lines and have no effect on muscles," explains Eric Schweiger, Chief Medical Officer at Schweiger Dermatology Group.

Image: DepositPhoto.com

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