Microexpressions and what our faces say.

What are microexpressions?

Our brains and survival systems are wired to assess facial expression. Almost unconsciously it asseses…..looks like me or doesn’t look like me.  This is a very old brain task dating from when we needed to tell our tribe from another dangerous tribe, or an attacking animal.  Many of us confuse the perception, “Oh, that person looks different than me.”  To “Oh, that person is dangerous.”   This can extend to the driver in the car in front of us, the person with the wild hair at the supermarket, skin color, voice tone……..and on and on.

Microexpressions are tiny movements of facial muscles that are almost invisible.  They can be seen best if a person is videoed and then the video played in slow motion.

So if we are altering our facial expressions with Botox/Dyport or fillers, it makes sense to think about this.  Some things to consider:

  1. Over “Botoxing”  I almost don’t need to explain this.  Faces in real life and on camera that don’t seem to move.  Think about how that may reduce your ability to communicate emotion to the people in your life?  If you think it’s too much, just back off 25% or so to start.  After adjusting to that you can decide even less, or more again.  Less is more with Botox/Dysport.
  2. Really Big Lips.  They puff and it’s hard to smile, change the smile contour, and sometimes hardly look human.  Go back and look at photos of yourself when you were younger.  Were you happy with them then?   Go for that look if so.  And, if too big now, they can be adjusted with an enzyme called hyaluronidase to bring them down some.  Just make sure your doctor is experienced with doing this.
  3. Chipmunk cheeks. Too much filler in the cheeks creates an exaggerated protrusion of the mid-cheek. And consequently, looks like a shelf under the eyes which makes the eyes look smaller in proportion.  Stiffness in the mid-cheek changes our expressions too.  Sculptra, since it creates your own collagen while it disappears, is the most natural and facial expression friendly filler.

Lasers and devices like Thermage, Ultherapy, Profound, etc do not alter facial expression.

Hope this Helps
Dr. I
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
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Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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