Experts have warned that Botox treatment may stunt the emotional growth of young people.
Clinicians have published a report in the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing and stated that there is a growth in the Botox trend for those under the age of 25. However, research has shown that the resultant ‘frozen faces’ could prevent young people from learning how to express their emotions properly.
A body of UK plastic surgeons has stated that it is morally wrong to inject teenagers for cosmetic purposes.
Botox and its other versions work by inducing temporary paralysis to the muscles in the upper parts of the face in a bid to reduce frown wrinkles.
Helen collier, a nurse practitioner who undertook the research, said that the celebrity culture and television shows have resulted in young people idealising the ‘inexpressive frozen face’. She refers to a well-known psychological theory which suggests that adolescents learn how to relate to others by mimicking facial expressions.
She added that human beings use facial expressions to demonstrate their emotions, such as sympathy and empathy which is important to help our survival and growth into communicative and confident adults. She has issued a warning that the lack of facial expressions may be harmful to young people and could result in an inability to convey their true feelings.
She said that if those expressions are no longer used, the emotional and social development of young people could be affected.
The research has asked for practitioners to make use of assessment tools in the decision as to whether the use of Botox treatment is for clinical reasons. There are currently assessment scales that are used, such as considering the thickness of the skin, the sun damage it has undergone and how deep the wrinkles are. However, experts have warned that financial gain is being given priority.
Ms Collier has called for therapists to spend time with young people in a bid to boost their confidence, rather than offering injections.
She said the effects of the injection are temporary, but research has shown that the muscles do not recover fully from the injections. She added that the consequences of early treatment should be investigated.
A researcher in psychology at Cardiff University, Dr Michael Lewis, said our facial expressions affect our emotions. He said we smile because we are happy, but smiling makes us happy too.
He said that treatments such as Botox stops the patient from expression and thus can have an impact on them learning to feel their emotions naturally.
The president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Rajiv Grover, said injection teenager with Botox purely for cosmetic reasons is immoral and no ethical practitioner should be doing this. He said it could result in increasing body image problems at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives.
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