Frown lines are the result of facial expressions that are repeated over time. They can be caused by a variety of expressions, such as anger, sadness, or concentration.
- The best way to get rid of them is to avoid making the same facial expressions that cause them. If that's not possible, you can try Botox injections or other procedures to get rid of them.
There's no getting around it – as we age, our skin starts to show the signs of our lives. First comes the onslaught of freckles and sun spots, then fine lines and wrinkles start to appear.
But of all the unwelcome changes that come with age, nothing is quite as distressing as seeing those first frown lines appearing in the mirror.
Also called "expression lines," these wrinkles are caused by the repeated contraction of the muscles around the eyes and mouth, which leads to the formation of permanent creases in the skin.
So basically, every time you furrow your brow or purse your lips, you're giving yourself another wrinkle. Not fun!
But just because you're getting old doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to a life of frown lines. You can do plenty of things to eliminate them, or at least reduce their appearance.
Let's discuss what frown lines are, what causes them, and some of the best ways to get rid of them for good!
Why Do Frown Lines Appear?
When a person frowns, they are expressing that they are angry, stressed, or concerned. This facial expression is produced by two main muscles – the procerus muscles and corrugator supercilii.
The corrugator supercilii is a long muscle that runs along the eyebrows. It pulls the eyebrows together, which can create vertical lines on the skin between the brows. If you frown often or strongly enough, these lines may become ingrained.
Meanwhile, the procerus muscle is a thin muscle that runs vertically between your eyebrows. When it contracts, it makes the skin between your eyebrows bunch up and can create a horizontal line across your nose.
If this muscle is over-used, it can cause facial lines to become permanently etched into your skin.
As we age, our skin loses elasticity and its ability to "bounce back." This makes it more susceptible to developing permanent lines and wrinkles from expressions like frowning.
What Causes Frown Lines?
Wrinkles are either static or dynamic. Static wrinkles become visible when your facial muscles aren't moving, and dynamic wrinkles appear when your face is in motion.
These micro-wrinkles are already visible in young, healthy skin, where they quickly fade once the skin resumes its natural position. However, as your skin ages, these wrinkles take longer to bounce back, becoming permanent over time.
In addition to age, other factors play into the formation of wrinkles. By understanding these contributing causes, you can learn how to both prevent and treat frown lines.
1. Sleep and stress
Anyone who has looked in the mirror after a bad night's sleep knows nothing is more discouraging than seeing a tired, stressed-out face staring back.
But what many people don't realize is that those transient signs of fatigue can actually lead to lasting damage.
Specifically, sleep deprivation and stress can cause the formation of frown lines between the eyebrows.
When we are tired or stressed, we tend to frown or furrow our brows in concentration. Over time, these repeated facial expressions can cause the skin to crease and form lines.
And unfortunately, once those lines appear, they are very difficult to reverse.
2. Repeated muscle movement
Do you ever notice that you tend to furrow your brow when concentrating? Or that you get wrinkles around your eyes when you smile a lot?
It turns out that these common expressions can actually lead to permanent frown lines. The reason has to do with the way our muscles move when we make certain facial expressions.
When we frown or squint, the muscles in our forehead contract. Over time, this repeated muscle movement causes the skin to crease, eventually leading to frown lines.
Similarly, smiling and laughing can also cause wrinkles around the eyes.
Smoking has been linked to several health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. But did you know that smoking can also cause frown lines to appear?
These wrinkles, also known as "smokers' lines," are most likely to occur between the eyebrows and around the mouth.
So how does smoking cause these lines to form? The culprit is the repeated muscle movements that smokers make when taking a drag on their cigarettes.
Over time, these movements lead to the formation of wrinkles. In addition, the toxins in cigarette smoke damage the collagen and elastin in the skin, making it more susceptible to wrinkling.
4. UV rays
We all know that excessive sun exposure can cause pronounced frown lines. But have you ever wondered why? Well, the answer has to do with ultraviolet (UV) rays.
These invisible rays are a type of radiation that comes from the sun. And while a small amount of UV exposure is necessary for our bodies to produce vitamin D, too much UV exposure can damage our skin cells, which manifests in the form of frown lines.
It's no secret that genetics can affect how our bodies look and function. For better or for worse, we often inherit traits from our parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean inheriting their frown lines too. But why does this happen?
Studies have shown that certain gene variants can predispose someone to develop frown lines, also known as "11" lines. These gene variants affect the structure and function of the skin, making it more susceptible to damage from ultraviolet light and other environmental factors.
In addition, these gene variants can also reduce the skin's ability to repair itself, leading to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
While there's no way to completely prevent frown lines from forming, knowing your genetic predisposition can help you take steps to protect your skin and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
The Best Frown Lines Treatment
While there's no way to completely prevent frown lines from forming, there are treatments that can help lessen their appearance.
Arguably the most popular treatment method for frown lines, injectables, or neuromodulators are typically made from a purified form of botulinum toxin.
When injected into the muscles that cause frown lines, these products work by temporarily paralyzing the muscles, which prevents them from contracting. This, in turn, smooths out the wrinkles on the surface of the skin.
Some of the most popular injectables include:
- Botox - When injected in small amounts, this toxin can block nerve signals, causing muscles to relax. This is why Botox is often used to address frown lines, crow's feet, and other wrinkles caused by muscle contractions. The injection is relatively painless, and the effects typically last three to four months.
- Dysport - An injectable that works by temporarily relaxing the muscles that cause frown lines. Dysport can help smooth out existing wrinkles and prevent new ones from forming by reducing muscle activity. And because it targets specific muscles, Dysport can provide a natural-looking result with minimal side effects.
- Xeomin - A popular Botox alternative, Xeomin works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause frown lines. However, Xeomin is unique because it doesn't contain any added fillers, making it less likely to cause allergic reactions.
Microneedling is a skin rejuvenation treatment that involves using a device to create tiny punctures in the skin.
The idea behind microneedling is that by creating these microscopic injuries, the body will go into "repair mode" and start producing more collagen and elastin.
And because collagen and elastin are key components of youthful-looking skin, microneedling can help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including frown lines.
Microneedling can be done at home with a derma roller or similar device. However, for best results, it's recommended that you see a professional.
Dermal fillers are temporary, injectable agents that improve the appearance of moderate to severe lines. By creating support under the skin, dermal fillers treat frown lines and other facial wrinkles.
Injectable dermal fillers are usually composed of hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in the skin. Not only does this option fill wrinkles, but it also hydrates the skin due to its moisture-storing ability.
Injections are administered with small needles, and patients usually feel only a little discomfort throughout the treatment. Patients may resume normal activities right after therapy as this method is minimally invasive.
Expect to see results 2-3 days after being treated with dermal fillers. They typically last 3-12 months, although touch-ups may be necessary over time. The cost of treatments varies depending on the number of injections required and the size of the treatment area.
At-Home Treatments for Frown Lines
In addition to professional treatments, a number of at-home treatments can help improve the appearance of frown lines.
One of the most popular methods for treating frown lines is topical retinoids. These products increase cell turnover and boost collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Other topical treatments that may help improve the appearance of frown lines include:
- Vitamin C - A potent antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from damage and boost collagen production.
- Hyaluronic acid - A substance that helps to keep the skin hydrated and plump.
- Glycolic acid - An exfoliating agent that can help improve wrinkles' appearance by removing dead skin cells and stimulating collagen production.
Facial exercises won't get rid of wrinkles completely, but they can help to improve muscle tone and make the lines less noticeable.
One study found that after weeks of daily facial exercise, participants had a significant reduction in forehead lines and crow's feet.
To do a facial exercise for frown lines, simply place your index fingers on the outer corners of your eyebrows and gently lift them while contracting the muscles in between. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times.
Also called "facial strips," these pads are made of medical-grade tape that adheres to your skin. Applying the pads to your forehead works like an invisible push-up bra for your frown lines, lifting and smoothing them out.
Plus, the pads are hypoallergenic and breathable, so you can wear them all day without worrying about discomfort.
Just apply them to clean, dry skin before applying makeup or going to bed, and you'll wake up looking refreshed and line-free.
How to Prevent Frown Lines
While there's no surefire way to prevent frown lines, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk:
- Wear sunscreen - Sun damage is one of the main causes of wrinkles, so be sure to wear sunscreen every day, even when it's cloudy.
- Quit smoking - Smoking damages the skin and speeds up the aging process, so quitting is one of the best things you can do for your skin.
- Stay hydrated - Drinking plenty of water helps to keep the skin hydrated and plump, which can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
If you're concerned about frown lines, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about treatment options. With the right combination of treatments, you can help improve the appearance of these pesky wrinkles and keep them from coming back.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, frown lines are one of the most common signs of aging. They are caused by years of repetitive movement and can make you look tired, angry, or stressed. Luckily, you can do a few things to get rid of them for good.
There are many ways to eliminate frown lines, and each person will have a different preference. Some people prefer Botox injections, while others might choose to use a cream or serum.
Whatever method you choose, it is important to find the right product and stick with it. No magic solution will work for everyone, so be patient and keep experimenting until you find what works best for you!