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Are You Happy?

EVOLV / February 4, 2015

By Frank Barone MD, FACS

The ‘SAD’ (seasonal affective disorder) season is upon us – less light, less activity, more colds and illness, no more football!  I have always struggled with the many challenges of the January thru March winter days for all of the above reasons.

Personal happiness can seem complex as well as simple.   Our moods, feelings and even our overall health are most visible thru our eyes – the ‘windows of the soul,’ where the signs of aging are first and most apparent.  So during this dark, chilly month of February, evolv and Frank Barone MD would like to focus our attention on the exciting area of eyelid aesthetics and the positive impact of improving skin health and reducing the premature signs of aging around the eyes. We believe and have experienced how balanced and personalized aesthetic programs can result in an improved sense of well-being, and happiness for our patients.

Fascinating new research in neuropsychiatry reveals that a measurable improvement in mood, confidence and personal happiness can be quantified in patients who have experienced successful and natural appearing outcomes in aesthetic procedures.  This is especially noted in eyelid and upper facial techniques (blepharoplasty, brow lift, laser and chemical peels). These observed positive changes in mood are thought to be due to increases in the ‘feel good’ brain messengers serotonin and dopamine.  These are the same natural compounds that increase with exercise and in patients taking anti-depressant medication.

Two recent independent studies presented at the World Congress if Psychiatry indicate that the same Botox (botulinum toxin A) injections used to reduce forehead ‘scowl’ furrows and eyelid ‘crow’s feet’ wrinkles may also help patients reduce moderate to severe depression.  In the largest study to date, more than half of the patients with confirmed diagnosed depression scored more than a 50% decrease in their depression scale 6 weeks after a single Botox injection.  This study was published in the Journal if Psychiatric Research.  How is this possible?   The investigators suggested two explanations.  First, patients who frown less and look more pleasant may have more positive social interactions which can improve long term mood.  Second, a facial ‘biofeedback’ theory postulates that there may be a biochemical effect on the brain from physical expression and positive emotion.

Considering the more than 350 million people worldwide (with the highest percentage in the USA) suffering from depression, these findings have generated considerable excitement as well as controversy.  Certainly more research is needed as depression is a complex condition.  When performed properly by an appropriately trained professional, Botox treatments gave a long history of safety and effectiveness with very few side effects.  This neuro-modulator, along with similar medications Xeomin and Dysport, may offer a new hope for patients not helped by traditional therapy or drugs with potential unwanted side effects.

Finally, the overall appearance and premature signs of aging of the eyelid areas can also be significantly improved by aesthetic surgery, medical skin care products and services (ZO SkinHealth), non-invasive treatments (Exilis Elite) and enhanced eyelash and eyebrow aesthetics (Latisse, Ossential® Lash Enhancing Serum, permanent eyeliner).  We encourage you to learn about these new and exciting options from any of our professional staff.

In this winter season, the importance of healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and social commitment are still the most fundamental and time tested methods to improve our overall happiness and mood.

The health, quality and appearance of the eyelids and the tissues around the eyes have
a major impact on how our overall aging, mood and happiness are perceived by others as well as ourselves.  For appropriate patients, the proven and effective options combining balanced medical and surgical aesthetics consistently result in a naturally appearing outcomes that have been shown to improve self-confidence, social well-being and personal happiness.  This is something we believe in and get quite excited about at our practice.

In any event, the ‘eyes’ have it!