People under 25 are increasingly seeking Botox injections, and the phenomenon could threaten their emotional development, researchers say. A theory known as the "facial feedback hypothesis" holds that recreating others' facial expressions could be central to adolescents' emotional growth, says aesthetic nurse practitioner and researcher Helen Collier. But a "growing generation of blank-faced" youths, inspired by celebrities and reality TV, might be unable to imitate others, she says. "If you wipe those expressions out, this might stunt their emotional and social development," the researcher notes, as the BBC reports.
The effects of the toxin involved are largely temporary, but "research suggests the muscles don't fully recover from injections," Collier adds. What's more, our expressions actually influence our emotions, another expert says: "We smile because we are happy, but smiling also makes us happy." Collier says the procedure is acceptable for those in their late 30s who've reached emotional maturity, the Daily Mail reports. The BBC adds that plastic surgeons in Britain are voicing their opposition to Botox in teenagers, with the head of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons calling it "morally wrong." (For those opposed to the stuff, there's always bird poop.)