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Does wrinkle relaxer improve mental wellbeing?

In recent years, the use of wrinkle relaxers has expanded beyond its well-known cosmetic applications. Its initial place reserved only for the rich and famous has made its way to the most modest of folk seeking to improve their confidence… and why not – everyone deserves to feel fabulous about themselves! While commonly recognised for its ability to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, several studies have suggested that wrinkle relaxer can also have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. This blog post will explore the fascinating research conducted over the last five years, demonstrating the unexpected link between wrinkle relaxers and improved mental health.

The facial feedback hypothesis

The facial feedback hypothesis proposes that our facial expressions can influence our emotions. It suggests that the physical act of smiling can lead to an improvement in mood, a simple trial of this is to consciously give it a go for half a day and see if it rings true. This theory forms the foundation for understanding how wrinkle relaxers may positively impact mental wellbeing.

A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2018 examined the effects of wrinkle relaxer on depression. The researchers found that patients who received wrinkle relaxers in the muscles responsible for frowning (known as the glabella), experienced a significant decrease in depressive symptoms compared to a control group. These findings suggest that by limiting negative facial expressions, wrinkle relaxers can disrupt the feedback loop between facial expressions and emotions, leading to an overall improvement in mood. This does however need further research, but the concept is interesting nonetheless.

Anxiety and social phobia

Another area where wrinkle relaxer has shown promise is in the treatment of anxiety disorders and social phobia. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2019 investigated the effects of wrinkle relaxers on social anxiety. The researchers discovered that patients who received wrinkle relaxing injections for frown lines exhibited a significant reduction in social anxiety symptoms compared to a placebo group.

The mechanism behind this improvement is thought to be related to the inhibition of frowning, which is a common expression associated with anxiety. By reducing the ability to frown, wrinkle relaxers may help break the cycle of negative thoughts and emotions, allowing individuals to feel more at ease in social situations.

Chronic migraine and mood disorders

Chronic migraine is a debilitating condition that can have a profound impact on mental health. Research published in the journal Headache in 2017 explored the effects of wrinkle relaxers on both chronic migraine and comorbid mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. The study revealed that patients who received wrinkle relaxers experienced not only a reduction in migraine frequency but also improvements in their mood disorder symptoms.

The exact mechanisms underlying these improvements are not fully understood, but it is believed that the alleviation of chronic pain and the interruption of the facial feedback loop may contribute to the positive effects on mood.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

If you have read my other blogs you’ll already be aware that Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a psychiatric condition characterized by obsessive preoccupation with perceived defects in physical appearance. A study published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology in 2020 explored the use of wrinkle relaxer in the treatment of BDD. The researchers found that wrinkle relaxer injections provided temporary relief for patients with BDD, reducing their preoccupation with their perceived flaws.

The authors speculated that by altering the appearance of the perceived defect, wrinkle relaxer injections disrupted the negative self-perception loop associated with BDD, leading to improved mental wellbeing. In saying that, patients with BDD require a closer consultation to ensure the balance of benefit vs risk, as for some patient’s cosmetic procedures are not beneficial as they can exacerbate the symptoms of BDD. I am in no means saying it’s suitable for all BDD sufferers as that is simply not true, an individual consult will establish client needs. You can read more about this our the BDD blog.


The use of wrinkle relaxers has extended beyond its cosmetic applications, revealing surprising connections to mental wellbeing. Back when I became a registered nurse using such medications was very controversial, but we have transitioned to a completely different space, and its likely over the coming years it will be more common within our society. The studies discussed in this blog post provide compelling evidence that wrinkle relaxers can positively impact conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic migraine, and body dysmorphic disorder (in some instances). By disrupting the facial feedback loop and limiting negative facial expressions, wrinkle relaxers have the potential to improve mood and reduce the symptoms of various mental health conditions.

It is important to note that while these findings are promising, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms involved and the long-term effects of wrinkle relaxers on mental wellbeing, so watch this space and we will revisit this topic in the future to reanalyse new studies.

Disclaimer: Content in this blog and linked materials is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. If you or any other person has a medical concern, professional medical treatment should be sought. Call your doctor or emergency services immediately if you believe you have a medical emergency.