More and more people are feeling depressed because of Botox.

That’s the gist of a new study, which shows that people who have facial Botox injections – to get rid of wrinkles around the mouth, or crows’ feet - are more likely to show symptoms of depression. 

And get this: They’re not depressed because of their looks. Instead, psychologist Dr. Michael Lewis says the Botox treatment itself is to blame. That’s because Botox works by temporarily freezing muscles. And when you do that around the mouth and the sides of the eyes, you freeze the muscles that help us smile.

Dr. Lewis says that’s a problem, because many studies show that our facial expressions affect the emotions we feel! Meaning: Frowning can make you feel sad, while smiling can make you feel happy. 

But with Botox, people can’t smile properly. And that cuts off signals sent to the brain when we smile, which would normally make us feel happier. The result is that the face gets “locked” in an expression that – according to this study – may indirectly spark depression.

By the way, it works the opposite way too.

Research shows that treating people for “frown lines” can actually boost their mood – because it’s harder for them to frown. 

It’s something to think about if you’re considering Botox to get rid of facial lines and wrinkles. As Dr. Lewis puts it: Your “laughter lines” are there for a reason. And instead of getting rid of them, you should think about keeping them – so you don’t dull your emotions.