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20.02.20 - Knowledge

Frown Lines: 3 Ways to Deal With Them

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Words by Antoinette Barnardo

Unlike smile lines that denote a lifetime of happiness, frown lines are less desirable since they represent unhappiness, anger, or worry. This is even more so when your furrows become permanent, lending you an air of constant negativity.

Yet, frown lines are not a lost cause. There are ways to reduce their appearance and even prevent them from happening in the first place. Here, we will explain how frown lines are formed, the best skincare ingredients to treat them, and healthy habits that can help ward off these furrows.

What Are Frown Lines?

Frown lines between your eyebrows and on the lower part of your forehead are known as glabellar lines. These furrows are usually formed due to repeated facial muscular contractions caused by frowning or squinting. Vertical and oblique frown lines may also be accompanied by forehead lines and crow's feet when you make a negative facial expression.

Types of Frown Lines

The type of frown lines you have can be categorized into five different glabellar contraction patterns:

  • "V" pattern
  • "U" pattern
  • "Converging arrows" pattern
  • "Omega" pattern
  • "Inverted omega" pattern

These contraction patterns are dependent on how you frown and your face's natural resting pose.

Which Muscles Are Used When You Frown?

Frown lines are made by the facial muscles that make up the glabellar complex. According to this 2019 scientific article, the glabellar complex is responsible for maintaining "a balanced brow position and shape." This complex comprises of the following muscles:

  • Procerus: This muscle sits between your eyebrows and when contracted, it creates a transverse line at the top of your nose bridge.
  • Corrugator supercilii: This tiny muscle in the middle of your eyebrows  causes the brows to be pulled down when you frown. This creates vertical frown lines.
  • Depressor supercilii: It's located on either side of the procerus muscle and plays a role in frown lines by depressing the eyebrows.
  • Orbicularis oculi: This muscle surrounds your eyes and when contracted repeatedly, leads to fine lines and crow's feet.

Another muscle that is not part of the glabellar complex but is equally important in creating glabellar facial lines is the frontal belly of the occipitofrontalis. When this muscle contracts, it raises your eyebrow and upper lid. As such, it works in tandem with the procerus muscle to create horizontal forehead lines.

Last but not least, the transverse part of the nasalis muscle also plays a role in forming frown lines, even though it's technically not a glabellar muscle. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Surgical & Cosmetic Dermatology, the transverse nasalis works with other glabellar muscles to form frown lines in an "inverted omega" pattern.

What Causes a Frown Line to Become Permanent?

Facial lines such as frown lines and smile lines have the potential to become permanent furrows over time. All facial lines start as dynamic wrinkles — temporary fine lines that appear when you frown, laugh, squint, or yawn. These dynamic wrinkles disappear once you stop making a particular facial expression.

However, repeated facial movements can cause dynamic wrinkles to evolve into static wrinkles. Static wrinkles are fine lines permanently etched into your skin, causing them to be present even when you're not frowning or smiling. That's why the first facial line you witnessed in your 20s has now taken up permanent residence between your eyebrows as the years passed by.

This problem is further compounded by your skin's natural aging process. As your skin ages, less collagen and elastin are produced, leading to a drop in skin elasticity. What this means is that your skin becomes less likely to bounce back into its original position and is permanently set in deep furrows. As such, unwanted frown lines are formed.

Other Causes of Frown Lines

Apart from recurring facial expressions and aging, other factors could also contribute to the formation of permanent frown lines.

UV Rays

A 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology discovered that UV rays account for 80% of visible signs of aging on your face. Moreover, sun exposure results in photoaging that manifests as fine lines and deep furrows on the skin.


When you're stressed, you experience negative emotions which may cause your face to be set in a frown or a pout. Frequent and prolonged negative facial expressions will eventually lead to frown lines and crow's feet.

Poor Vision

Not wearing glasses when you need to or not having the right prescription may cause you to squint at your computer screen or smartphone.

Prolonged periods of near vision work without taking regular eye breaks can further worsen the issue of poor vision. This not only results in digital eye strain and tension headaches, but it could also be the culprit behind your eyebrow furrows and crow's feet.

The Best Ingredients for Banishing Frown Lines

So how can you treat and reduce the appearance of your frown lines?

If you're not a fan of injectables such as Botox and dermal fillers, which can be painful and costly, topical skincare products are your best bet. With the right ingredients, topical skincare products are equally effective in reducing and preventing the appearance of frown lines in the long run.

1. Peptides 

Peptides are a key active in many anti-aging products. Per a 2012 study in the Journal of Dermato-Endocrinology, topical peptides help to promote dermal collagen production to reduce signs of aging. This makes peptides a must-have in your skincare products to counter frown lines.

As such, try YORA's Dynamic Eye Concentrate which contains peptide ARGIRELINE® and tetrapeptide EYESERYL® — a tetrapeptide is a peptide made up of four amino acids.

ARGIRELINE® targets facial lines caused by repeated facial muscular contractions. Unlike injectables that use botulinum neurotoxins to paralyze the muscles, ARGIRELINE® is a safe but equally effective alternative. It works by reducing muscle contractions, thus lessening the formation of eyebrow furrows.

Also, EYESERYL® reduces eye puffiness, under-eye bags, and dark circles for an improved eye contour appearance. Together, these actives make the Concentrate an effective skincare product in fighting off frown lines and crow's feet.

2. Hyaluronic Acid

While we're on the topic of hydrating your skin, hyaluronic acid is another potent ingredient to have in your skincare arsenal. Widely known for its hydrating powers, hyaluronic acid is frequently used in dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm. When used in conjunction with neurotoxins such as Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin, these injectables smooth out your furrows within a few days.

However, these treatments can take a toll on your finances and not everyone is a fan of needles. What you can do instead is incorporate products with hyaluronic acid into your daily routine. An ideal topical would be the Revitalise Face Serum. It uses YORA's unique hyaluronic acid blend of PRIMALHYAL 50 and PrimalHyal™ 300 to intensely moisturize your skin. The result is smoother, plumper skin with minimized frown lines and wrinkles.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an all-around favorite when it comes to potent skincare ingredients. It not only helps with hyperpigmentation and protects your skin against sun damage, but vitamin C is also a known anti-ager to fight against facial lines.

According to a 2013 study by the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, applying a 5% vitamin C cream for six months improved the appearance of photoaged skin. Topical vitamin C is also known to promote collagen content.

This is why the Conditioning Face Balm, formulated with vitamin C, is perfect to smooth away eyebrow furrows and fine lines. Moreover, it contains Suberlift™, a clinically proven botanical instant smoothing tensor that lifts and firms the skin. Together, both actives stimulate collagen content in the dermis for smoother, more supple skin.

Healthy Habits to Reduce Frown Lines

For best results, pair your skincare routine with a healthy lifestyle by practicing good habits that would reduce and prevent the formation of frown lines.

1. Sun Protection

We all know that sun protection is key in preventing visible signs of aging. But if you already have frown lines on your face, will a sunscreen do you much good?

The answer is yes. As discovered by a 2016 study in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, consistently using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 has the potential to reverse and prevent further sun damage. To further bolster your sun protective efforts, wear a pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. This will help to minimize squints and sunburns.

2. Manage Stress

As noted above, stress could be the reason behind your constant frown. Learning to manage stress will not only help with your emotional health but also reduce the appearance of negative facial expressions.

Pick up a stress-relieving activity such as yoga or meditation. Get enough sleep so that you can face challenges with a well-rested mind. And above all, think positive. 

3. Eye Care 

If you're having trouble reading small fonts on your screen, it could be time for a new pair of eyeglasses. Schedule an eye exam every one to two years to ensure your prescription is up to date.

Additionally, take frequent breaks when doing near vision work. Use the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, look at something that's 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more.

Turn Your Frown Upside Down

Instead of being mistaken as a constantly angry or worried person, you can deal with your frown lines by using the right skincare products and practicing healthy habits.

Choose topical skincare products that contain proven ingredients to smooth out fine lines and reduce the appearance of deep furrows. For greater effectiveness, team up your skincare routine with healthy habits that will prevent these facial lines from appearing too often. With a wholistic approach, the appearance of frown lines can be reduced or even prevented in the first place.

Words by Antoinette Barnardo

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