A Wrinkle In (COVID)Times

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

By Kristie Bonner, MMS, PA-C

There’s no denying many of us experienced the quarantine blues, myself included. We’ve been isolated from loved ones, taken out of our routine, lost jobs, and had our lives replaced with some the most mentally challenging times we will (hopefully) ever know. As a social species, being physically isolated is not natural and has negative psychological consequences including anxiety, panic attacks, and

depression. The good news is that most of these effects are reversible.

As states begin to slowly reopen, reconnecting with our friends, family and co-workers will help to reduce the loneliness we’ve endured. However, through all the stress and anxiety we’ve encountered these past 6 months, one of the first steps to getting back on the path to “normalcy” begins with feeling happier, confident, and more secure.

You have probably heard that smiling has mental health benefits, but why? The facial feedback hypothesis, first conceived by Charles Darwin, suggests that there is a connection between our facial expressions and how we feel. Physical expression is an important part of the emotional you. Smiling, for example, uses muscles that play a key role in how the brain evaluates our mood. So, simply engaging those muscles that we subconsciously use to smile can physically put us in a better mood.

We know that when you look better, you are perceived better, and you feel better about yourself. We also know about the cosmetic benefits of Botox and the other muscle relaxers in the US (Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau). Is it possible the effects of these muscle relaxers are more than just the superficial smoothing of wrinkles?

What if you relax the frowning muscles that you typically use when you are feeling anxious or angry? Does it follow that you won’t feel the same emotional intensity of your bad mood? Well, there was a study published in the June 2016 Journal of Psychiatric Research, describing a phenomenon called emotional proprioception. This study demonstrated that when the frown lines between the eyebrows (the

11’s) are injected with Botox, it blocked the trigeminal nerve. This nerve not only gives us the ability to frown, but it also sends a signal to the brain letting us know that we are sad or mad.

Essentially, Botox tricks the brain by making sure this message of sadness or anger doesn’t get delivered. You will still feel mad or angry without moving your face, but those emotions won’t be as strong if your face isn’t moving in a predictable manner. The motion creates emotion. So in theory, if you can’t frown, it’s possible you won’t feel as sad or anxious!

As a physician assistant, one of the reasons why I went into healthcare was to help make people feel better. Additionally, as a cosmetic injector, my goal is to provide treatments to help reveal the individual beauty I see when looking at them…that beauty they’ve masked under their run down, exhausted, and overly anxious feelings. What most people appreciate about a Botox treatment is that it makes them feel better, whether that’s due to their perceived improved looks or actual changes in their neurology.

With all this information we can feel more confident about getting Botox (and other neuromodulators) treatments. Not only can you look more youthful, but you just might have a little extra pep in your step! Don’t believe me? Why not give it a shot?

Kristie Bonner is a Board-Certified Physician Assistant specializing in General & Cosmetic Dermatology for over 13 years. She practices as a cosmetic injector at Skin Boutique in Birmingham, MI. Her focus remains on obtaining optimal cosmetic results for clients seeking natural yet refined aesthetic enhancements. She has been

the official skin care sponsor for the Miss MI USA & Miss Teen MI USA since 2016. Follow her on Instagram: @injections.by.kristie and Facebook: www.facebook.com/injectionsbykristie

Renata Block is the creator of Savvy Derm Diva, an online resource for proper skin care. Diva Chronicles is a monthly column discussing everything skin! Make sure you follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! Need a dermatology consult? Please visit Advanced Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine, LLC or Call/Text 847-802-9667 for a TeleDerm appointment. MUAH!????