If you've ever gone into work the day after getting dumped or dealt with an asshole boss, you know the struggle that is speed-walking toward the empty supply closet as you hold back tears and pray no one intercepts you for small talk. There's a definite limit on how much emotion is acceptable to display while on the job, but that doesn't mean it's always within your control.
And no one knows that better than those with professions that practically list "poker face" in the job description. (And we're not just talking about card players.) What's an overly-expressive lawyer or psychiatrist who wears their emotions on their face to do? How about a stressed stockbroker prone to sweating under pressure? Perhaps a CIA operative or politician? Why, Botox, of course. Or, if you will, ProTox.
While many people choose to get injections as a prophylactic measure or to smooth out existing crow's feet and "11" lines, the majority of them still want to maintain as much facial range of movement as possible. But for a growing group of others, a frozen forehead is exactly the point.
New York City-based plastic surgeon Dara Liotta, MD, explains: "My friend, who is a psychiatrist, said she spends so much time while patients are talking to her trying to not contract [her facial] muscles, so as to not appear judgmental, that she barely hears what they're saying. I told her to just Botox it away, so she comes in now to get rid of those lines [between the brows]."
And it's not just in her practice. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, also treats mental health professionals with Botox to minimise their expressions when communicating with patients. "I have one female patient who comes in for Botox injections, both for anti-ageing purposes and with the side effect of looking more professional to patients. We actually had to touch up her Botox two weeks after because one eyebrow was raising up more than the other one, and she felt that it made her look inquisitive every time she talked to her patients," he says.
On the other hand, Dr. Liotta treats a trial attorney for the exact opposite reason — to erase lines with the caveat that the muscle responsible for furrowing the brows to express judgment remain strong. "Especially as a woman, she was like, 'I need to look disapproving; I can't look too soft.' She wanted to keep the ability to look hard, but still rejuvenated."
Another one of Botox's many off-label uses is for the treatment of hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. We know the underarms are a popular spot, but it turns out that those who work in politics, media, and finance also frequently request it to keep their foreheads from beading up with sweat. "I have some people come in who are in the public eye and have the sweaty brow or sweaty forehead and they want it just for that reason. They're embarrassed because it shows that they're nervous," says dermatologist Roy G. Geronemus, MD.
According to Dr. Zeichner, his male patients in finance get Botox to have "more of a cool game face when they're making deals." Another nervous habit, jaw-clenching, is easily fixed by injecting the masseter muscle, adds Dr. Liotta. "You inject the jaw muscle, so people can't see when you nervously tense," she explains.
Of course, you don't have to work in one of the aforementioned fields to appreciate the benefits of ProTox. Just think of how mysterious and inscrutable you'll appear to Bumble dates. And how easy it'll now be to hide your annoyance when your manager asks you to stay late. Hell, you just might be able to get away with murder — unless Liotta's lawyer is called to the stand.