Four out of 10 Spaniards between the ages of 16 and 70 are users of aesthetic medicine when, at the end of 2019, it was only 36% of the population. This represents growth in two years of four percentage points. A percentage that drops to 22.8% of the population that underwent an aesthetic treatment in 2012.
Of the 626,778 facials performed in the past two years, the 42% corresponded to injections with botulinum toxin, which has definitively established itself as the most performed facial treatment after the pandemic, according to data from the Spanish Society of Aesthetic Medicine (SEME).
The benefits of Botox as an aesthetic treatment are well known -as long as it is performed by an accredited professional and in the sanitary conditions required by law- but, even so, it is a practice that is not without risk.
A group of scientists from the University of California has made public this week a study that establishes a relationship between botulinum toxin infiltrations in the prefrontal muscles and the inhibition of the way in which our brain processes “emotional faces”, that is, the gestures of another person that reflect to us what they are feeling.
Researchers have explained that when we see an angry or happy expression on another person’s face, we flex or contract the muscles in our own to simulate the expression. These gestures – which are unconscious – are produced because imitating the smile or frown of our interlocutor is like our brain correctly processes information about the other person’s emotions, and this helps us to understand them. According to the study, People’s ability to understand the expression of emotions can be changed by the disruption of muscle feedback induced by Botox.
The study involved a group of 10 women between 33 and 40 years old who injected botox to induce temporary paralysis in the muscle responsible for frowning, and then measured their brain activity while looking at images of emotional faces. The researchers found that activity in the amygdala, the center of our brain responsible for emotional processing, showed signs of change when viewing happy and angry faces after botox injections.
Although acknowledging that the sample is small and the work has some other limitations, the authors highlighted that these data contribute to a growing scientific literature suggesting that inhibition of glabellar muscle contraction-located between the two eyebrows and above the nose- alters neural activity for emotional processing.