Frown lines: What they are and how to get the best treatment

Frown lines are a concern for some of us as they can make us look constantly angry or displeased. Here’s why you may get frown lines and what you can do to find a treatment that looks natural on you.

What are frown lines?

Frown lines are the vertical lines that form between the eyebrows when we frown. When we’re young, the lines disappear as we relax our facial muscles. As we age, the lines may still be visible, even when our face is at rest.

The area just above the nose and between the eyebrows is called the glabella and therefore, frown lines are sometimes called glabellar lines.

Why do some of us get permanent frown lines?

When our facial muscles pull the skin repeatedly it will cause a “wear and tear” of the skin, and this will in time contribute to the formation of permanent wrinkles in certain places. If we tend to frown frequently, we may get wrinkles that are always visible between our eyebrows.1

There are many muscles involved when we frown (which you may hear about if you seek a treatment) such as the corrugator supercilii and procerus muscles.1

Another contributing factor to permanent lines is skin aging. As we age, the skin will progressively lose its support structure, it becomes thinner and weaker, and as a result we will develop more wrinkles.2

Lifestyle factors like sun exposure and smoking will further speed up skin aging and wrinkle formation.2

At what age can you get permanent frown lines?

We can get lines and wrinkles quite early in life. For example, one clinical study that investigated frown line treatments included people from the age of 18. However,  the mean age of the  participants was 48.3

It’s easy to get the impression that everyone else has a smooth forehead, especially when you look at photos on social media. A lot of the photos are filtered, however, and don’t reflect what people really look like.

Can you prevent frown lines from forming?

As explained above, frown lines are formed due to a combination of aging, repeated frowning, and lifestyle factors and they can therefore be difficult to prevent completely. We age, whether we want it or not.

Lifestyle factors are the easiest factors to do something about, like avoiding excessive sun exposure and smoking. High-quality skincare can also help by moisturizing the skin to give it a dewy glow.4 A moisturized skin reflects light better than dry skin and because of that, wrinkles tend to become less visible.

Can frown lines impact our confidence and self-esteem?

Our facial expressions communicate how we feel. Permanent lines and wrinkles may erroneously communicate that we’re angry, displeased, or annoyed.

This means there’s a mismatch between what we feel and what we communicate with our faces. People may think we have an angry disposition quite contrary to who we really are.

This disconnect between our emotions and facial expressions is often mentioned by people who seek treatments for frown lines.2 They want to correct the erroneous cues their faces express, so it’s not as much about looks and beauty as many people may believe.2




1. Walker HM, Chauhan PR, Anatomy, Head and Neck: Glabella, In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan.2022 Jul 25, 2. Finn CJ et al. Dermatol Surg 2003;29(5):450–455; 3. Kestemont P et al. Aesthet Surg J 2022;42(3):301–313;  4. by L’0réal, How to Get Glowing Skin: 25 Expert Tips — Plus the Best Products,


Article and image via Galderma

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