The original question was “Will getting Botox on the outer corner of the eye that wrinkles when smiling, change the look of your expression when smiling?”
This question is not only about Botox treatment, but about the science and philosophy of expression and emotion.
On the surface it may seem the right thing to do to remove those smile lines that pop up at the corners of our eyes when we smile, especially since drug companies decided to call them by the ugly term “crow’s feet” – I call them smilies.
But is it really the right thing in terms of facial expression as a whole?
Probably not. A term in popular psychology is the “Pan Am Smile” named after the friendly but forced smile that was trained into the Pan Am flight crews when greeting people as part of their “great customer service” image.
Today, some may refer to it as the courtesy smile which is polite but superficial.
French physician Guillaume Duchenne (1806-1875) researched the smile in great detail in 1862.
His findings revealed that an artificial smile used only the large muscles on each side of the face, the zygomatic major, while a genuine smile, induced by a joke, involved the muscles running through the eyes, obicularis oculi, as well. The resulting effect is a visible wrinkling around the corners of the eyes that lies outside voluntary control. You really can’t help a happy smile smile – it just bursts upon your face!
Remember, these lines appear with smiling, but don’t leave creases unless your skin is deteriorating due to pile-up of dead cells or photo-aging (sun-damage).
In research circles, a genuine smile is still known as a ‘Duchenne Smile’ while a fake smile is a ‘Pan Am Smile’ after the air hostesses in the defunct airline’s adverts.
Duchenne described this “courtesy smile”, as “the smile that plays upon just the lips when our soul is sad.”
Science has actually proven this to be true – In the late 1950s, 141 female students at Mills College in California agreed to a long-term psychological study. Over the next 50 years they provided reports on their health, marriage, family life, careers and happiness. In 2001 two psychologists at Berkeley examined their college yearbook photos and noticed a rough 50/50 split between those showing a Duchenne or Pan Am smile. On revisiting the data it was found that those with a Duchenne smile were significantly more likely to have married and stayed married, and to have been both happier and healthier throughout their lives.
We now know the “Pan am smile” as the “Botox smile” because the rest of the face smiles but nothing happens around the eyes.
When we say treat “crow’s feet” with botox, what we mean is that we are injecting botox into the orbicularis oculi to make it more difficult to scrunch it – something one needs to to be able to do when protecting the eyes by squinting, squeezing eyes tight shut, etc.
So your expressions do affect your emotions, and vice versa – another reason not to focus just on the lines, but on the face and person as a whole!