Botox Might Impair Your Ability to Read Other People’s Feelings, Too

Whoa whoa whoa. We already told you about how Botox might be blunting people’s emotions because our facial expressions are a big part of how we experience our feelings (which anyone who has ugly-baby-cried can tell you). But now we are learning that maybe it’s making you less of an empath too.

New research is showing that Botox can impair your ability to read other people’s feelings.

Yikes. From the L.A. Times:

Women who received Botox injections in their face were less accurate than those who had their facial lines plumped with an injectable cosmetic filler. The research contributes new evidence to a key theory about communication between humans: that we unconsciously use facial mimicry to help discern and interpret the emotions of others.

Makes sense. Part of how we read and then empathize with other people’s feelings is what’s known as mirroring—an unconscious thing we all do (well, those of use with souls, anyway) when someone shares something with us, or looks sad. Without the ability to mirror, you also lose some of the ability to accurately assess their feelings.

Kind of spooky, no? I asked a friend who’s had Botox if this rang true and she said she was horrified but she was sure her Botox wasn’t making her a bad friend.

Would you do Botox? Have you already done it? And if you have, please tell us if this rings true to you, based on your own experience!

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8 Responses to “Botox Might Impair Your Ability to Read Other People’s Feelings, Too”
  1. Rebecca says:

    This is just one more reason NOT to do it! The idea of purposely injecting a toxin just seems insane to me. I admit I have vanity – I do not want to look older than I need to. I will use great, clean make-up (sparingly), and am thrilled to try new clean products that can help my skin be healthy and avoid wrinkles. But I’d rather look older than have the fake botoxed look (less wrinkled, sure, but who cares if you don’t look human?) Maybe there are some great-looking botox jobs out there, but the really obvious ones are just awful. So not worth it.

  2. Beka says:

    I totally agree, Botox looks totally unnatural, your face doesn’t move and you have the same blank expression no matter what emotion you are trying to express. I will embrace the wrinkles, I figure I have earned every one, no sense being ashamed of them! Besides, wrinkles tell a lot about you (laugh lines mean you are happy!).

  3. Beka says:

    by the way, I almost peed my pants laughing at the “ugly-baby-cry” comment, I’ve had a few of those cries and in no way is it pretty!

  4. Robin says:

    I love botox! I only use a little between the eyes for frown lines. I don’t mind having some wrinkles (at 43), but I don’t want to look angry. If used moderately you don’t look frozen at all. Those r just extreme cases. I think most people in the late 30-early 40 age range have several friends who use botox and they just are not aware of it. When I tell someone I am going to get some botox the usuaul reaction is, “you don’t need botox!” yeah, I dont need it because I am already using it!

    I am also curious to know the ages of the people who said they would never use it. Super easy to say when you’re in Your early 30’s. I used to say the same thing.

    As for the toxic part…I a can only hope for the best.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Hi Robin, I’m 42 and I do have those between-the-brow lines. You haven’t noticed any negative effects from the botox at all? I’m curious.

    I still don’t think I’d botox but I do try to use products to help with those lines, be conscious of my habit of making the expressions that make those lines, and have been trying “face yoga” as I’ve heard it called (there are youtube videos) – working the facial muscles to get them in shape. Between my clean and awesome facial oils and the face yoga I have seen improvement in the last few months. Takes longer than botox but makes so much more sense to me.

  6. Beka says:

    I’m 26 but I’m sure I look older. (I have friends in their late 30s/early 40s and they were shocked that I am only 26) After 3 very stressful years I feel that the stress has aged me 10 years. I have graying hair, fine lines around my eyes, the same furrows between the brows you mention, and I’m getting some of the frowny lines at the corners of my mouth. Life is finally starting to get better and I survived it all, so all the physical signs I developed along the way are my battle scars. Sure, things were bad for a while there, but I’m still here and going strong!

  7. Joan says:

    My “botox” comes in a jar, a pump and a tube. I use fabulous skin and anti aging products that keep me looking younger than my age. My desire is to look the best I can for my age but as a migraine sufferer I would never inject botox. I know it cures some migraines but it is the side effect for others. I am 56 and just fine with minimizing the lines and wrinkles.

  8. Sarah C. says:

    Joan – If you don’t mind my asking, what products do you use?

    The women in my family do not age well. My mom now in her early 50’s is even considering a face lift and other cosmetic surgery. I myself have suffered from acne and continue to do so even though I’ve been on every topical cream I can think of, as well as oral medications, and even an 8 month cycle of accutane (My skin is still not 100% free of acne even after that!!). I’ve always been very aware of my skin and have always wanted to do most anything to get rid of the ance but currently its better then it used to be and I’ve come to live with it.

    However, I’ve always been very aware of the fact that I do not want to age poorly like the other women in my family. I full accept that I’m going to start Botox and Fillers possibly even in my 30’s. I’m also not shying away from the fact that I may cosmetic surgery myself one day. I’m also always on the look out for anti-aging products that live up to their promises (ANY RECOMMENDATIONS ANYONE!?!??!). I keep hearing that Botox is a “Toxin” but I’ve also heard and seen some people who totally improved the way the look and they’ve never mentioned any side effects.

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