At this point in time, we are all pretty familiar with Botox® – the injectable treatment used to soften lines of the face. Most people even know Botox® can be used for a multitude of medicinal reasons, including excessive sweating and migraines. However, a few new applications for Botox® injections have popped up recently. Keep in mind, these uses are not FDA cleared but do represent some interesting uses for the well-known product.
A recent article pointed to a spike in Botox® injections among politicians, lawyers, and bankers. Why are people in these professions seeking a wrinkle freezer? They all need to maintain good “poker faces”. In these careers, being able to hide emotions is actually a benefit. While most people who receive Botox® want to maintain natural facial expressions, these professionals are seeking a more “frozen” look, so their clients or a jury can’t read their thoughts. One psychiatrist even reported having Botox® so her patients couldn’t sense any expressions of judgement during treatment sessions.
Another unusual use of Botox® is to treat depression and social anxiety. According to researchers, facial expressions are part of the circuit of the brain related to mood. If a patient is unable to make the expressions of negative emotions, the feelings of sadness are lessened. A final phase of testing is in the works to determine the efficacy of Botox for depression. They are also researching the effects of Botox on social anxiety and bipolar disorder. Patients who participated in the initial phase of the trial noted almost immediate improvement in their symptoms of depression.
A final, interesting use of Botox® is to alleviate the signs of stress patients are experiencing from living in an increasingly political and social media filled society. When people scroll through Facebook or news apps, they are bombarded with extreme political viewpoints and stories of tragedies in the world. Faced with this anxiety, patients are responding with facial expressions that lead to signs of aging. Using Botox® can prevent people from forming these frown or worry lines in response to these disheartening stories.
With all of these new, unusual, and interesting uses for Botox®, our office still uses Botox® for the tried and true reasons. Botox® is excellent for preventing lines formed from facial expressions and softening existing lines. It will be interesting to see what other uses for the product develop in the future!