Smiling is good for us, it makes us happy and those who receive our smiles, whether a closed-mouth lifting of the lips or the full gnashers, feel better, too. Even better is to laugh – giggle, chuckle, snort, guffaw.
However, as the muscles move the skin in repeated patterns, faint lines appear. With age, and more smiling and laughing, the lines deepen to creases and wrinkles. Lotions and potions, creams and unguents are applied with increasing desperation to hold back the march of time, to no avail.
The most desperate among us – and usually those with abundant funds – seek medical aid to turn back the clock. The surgeon’s knife is brandished expertly and bloodily to return sagging skin to a semblance of unlined youth.
Those who find such intervention abhorrent may choose another solution – Botox – Botulinum Toxin. The syringe-wielding physician injects Botox to paralyse the muscles and iron out the despised furrows. The effects may last for as long as eight months or may need to be repeated sooner.
Conversely, with the loss of the creases comes a more significant cost. The paralysed muscles can no longer convey to the brain the sense of happiness that comes from smiling and the now line-less patient suffers depression. That seems a rather extreme price to pay for vanity. How must it feel to be unable to smile? I suppose it must be like a permanent face pack, when the mud has hardened to a mask.
Omnia Vanitas - All is Vanity
'All is Vanity' (1892) by Charles Allan Gilbert (1873-1929)
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
As a strictly medical treatment Botox can be usefully applied in the treatment of movement disorders like those displayed in Parkinson’s Disease or cerebral palsy, for chronic migraine, for muscle spasms like Blepharospasm (excessive blinking)
For the rest, I’ll live with my wrinkles and creases – after all, they don’t bother me unless I look at myself and I do that less and less these days J