Last updated January 2022
What are frown lines?
Frown lines are a type of dynamic wrinkle that forms between our eyebrows due to the repeated movement of our facial muscles when we frown or make facial expressions. Lines can also appear across the forehead, on the bridge of the nose and at the corners of the eyes.
Frowning is a facial expression that may convey the negative expression of anger, stress or concern. In fact, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘frown’ as “to contract the brow in displeasure or concentration” and “to give evidence of displeasure or disapproval by or as if by facial expression”.
Two main muscles produce frowning: the corrugator supercilii and the procerus muscles. The corrugator supercilii muscle runs along the length of the eyebrows and draws the eyebrows together. It creases the skin between the brows to create one or two vertical lines that may become ingrained should frowning be frequent or intense enough. Secondly, the procerus muscle runs vertically between the brows, and contraction causes bunching of the skin and a horizontal line across the bridge of the nose, which can become etched if the muscle is over-utilised.
What causes frown lines?
Frown lines are caused by the repeated action of our facial muscles when we squint or frown. These facial lines often deepen and become static when we get older because our skin loses elasticity. People who wear glasses may experience more prominent frown and forehead lines because they squint more often, particularly when not wearing their glasses.
Other environmental and lifestyle factors may also contribute to the development of frown lines, including:
- Sun exposure
- Skin dehydration
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
How do you remove frown lines?
Anti-wrinkle injections can be used to relax the muscles that cause frowning and help to reduce the intensity and severity of this expression. They work by preventing the transmission of the nerve signal at the neuromuscular junction, the connection point of the nerve and muscle. The anti-wrinkle injections are strategically injected into around 3 to 7 points along the length of the muscles that cause frowning.
Frown treatment with anti-wrinkle injections is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in our clinics and it is TGA and FDA approved for this indication. Its popularity is likely due to its simplicity and effectiveness.
Dermal fillers may be required for frown lines or wrinkles that are more permanently etched in. Unlike anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers do not affect the contraction of the muscles. Instead, they help to lift the skin and wrinkles and fill in lost volume. You will notice the area appears smoother soon after injection.
Dermal fillers can be injected into this area using a cannula, which is like a needle with a round (rather than sharp) tip. This can help to reduce the likelihood of any potential side effects.
Although technically dermal fillers can be used in the frown area, we prefer to avoid this treatment as we believe the risk of serious complications of using dermal filler in the glabella (frown) outweighs any benefits that can be achieved.
For estimated volumes of dermal filler and/or anti-wrinkle units required and costs for this treatment please visit the Cosmetic consultation and treatments pricing page.
What are the benefits of frown line treatment?
Frown line treatment through anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers can remove or reduce the appearance of frown lines. Anti-wrinkle can prevent new wrinkles from forming from repetitive facial expressions.
Anti-wrinkle injections to the frown muscles can also improve your mood. Also, investigators at the Hannover Medical School in Germany found in 2014 that our emotions are expressed by facial muscles, which in turn send feedback signals to the brain to reinforce those emotions. Treating facial muscles with anti-wrinkle injections can interrupt this cycle.
Risks and side effects of frown line treatment
Side effects or complications resulting from anti-wrinkle injections are uncommon; many are transient and resolve themselves. These side effects include:
- Redness and small bumps at injection points
- Asymmetrical results
Diffusion of the anti-wrinkle injection into adjacent areas, such as the upper eyelid, can cause partial droopiness of the affected eyelid that usually takes a few months to resolve completely. This is called Ptosis. According to a study in the USA, Ptosis is an example of an infrequent but moderate complication that occurs in approximately 5.4% of patients. However, the same study acknowledged that many complications resulted from an incorrect technique, placement and dosage. The likelihood of this complication can be reduced through appropriate injection techniques/depths and limiting exercising or massaging the area for four hours post-treatment.
When dermal fillers are used, the arterial supply to the area between the brows can be compromised through the injection of dermal fillers, which can lead to skin necrosis (death) and scarring. The glabella (frown) is the most common area for necrosis in filler use, so we do not treat this area with dermal filler.
How do I prepare for frown line treatment?
There are no necessary steps to prepare for frown line anti-wrinkle injections. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce the chance of bruising. Avoiding painkillers like Ibuprofen, Aspirin or Aleve, fish oil tablets, Vitamin E tablets, or any other supplement that thins the blood is good to avoid before treatment. Do not cease any medication prescribed to you without consulting your prescribing doctor.
Twenty-four hours before the treatment, you should limit any alcohol consumption. It is a good idea to arrive without makeup and a clean face at your appointment.
What can I expect during frown line treatment?
You should arrive 5-10 minutes before your appointment to allow for photographs to be taken and any makeup to be removed. Your doctor will assess your frown and discuss the treatment, dosage and cost with you before administering the treatment. The area will then be marked out for treatment. An ultrasound may also be used to map out any veins and arteries so they can avoid these.
The actual process of injecting the frown is a quick procedure to perform. The doctor will use a thin needle to insert the injections into the desired area, and then they will advise you on any aftercare.
How do I care for my skin after frown line treatment?
Studies have shown that using skincare containing Vitamin A and Vitamin C can reduce visible signs of skin ageing. Additionally, regular use of sunscreen can delay skin ageing in healthy males and females.
To reduce the risk of infection or diffusing the anti-wrinkle injections, you should avoid applying any products to your face (including makeup and skincare) for 4 hours after treatment. Also, avoid strenuous activity, saunas and massages for 4 hours.
How long does the treatment take?
Most anti-wrinkle appointments are booked for 30 minutes to allow sufficient time for your treatment. The actual treatment does not take that long to perform. We schedule that amount of time so you can discuss your treatment with your doctor and ask any questions.
How long until I see results?
You should start to see results between 4 to 7 days after treatment, depending on the type of anti-wrinkle injection used. Aesthetic improvements occur after this point and generally last for 3 to 4 months on average.
Case Study – Frown Lines Treatment
This patient presented to the Victorian Cosmetic Institute, wanting to treat her frown lines. She had her upper face treated using a combination of anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. The static fine lines have been smoothed using dermal filler, and the cause of her dynamic frown lines has been reduced with anti-wrinkle injections.
What is a common treatment for glabellar lines?
A common way we treat frown lines is to have anti-wrinkle injections as anti-wrinkle injections help relax the muscles causing the frown lines.
Can you get rid of frown lines forever?
The effects of frown line treatment wears off after a few months, so regular appointments will be needed to maintain the results and soften frown lines. We recommend initially having the treatment performed every 3 to 4 months, which can then become less frequent if the muscles used to produce the frown have weakened.
How much does frown line treatment cost?
The average number of anti-wrinkle injection units used to treat a frown ranges from 20 to 40. This is only an average and can be less or more depending on many factors which need to be assessed during your initial consultation. For an estimated cost, please visit our pricing page.
How long do the results last?
You will start seeing results a few days after treatment, which should last for 3-4 months afterwards. If you continue to get regular appointments, the results may begin to last longer, and you will be able to reduce the frequency of your appointments.
How often will I need maintenance treatments?
You will need to have the procedure done every 3-4 months after the first one to maintain the results.
Why choose Victorian Cosmetic Institute to treat your frown?
The doctors at Victorian Cosmetic Institute will take the time in your initial consultation to assess your suitability for treatment and discuss your treatment preference and expectations. We use anti-wrinkle injections that are free from complexing proteins, which can cause the body to become immune to the effects of the anti-wrinkle ingredient.
Call our Customer Care team on 1300 863 824 to arrange your consultation. Alternatively, you may wish to book your consultation online.