Your “glabella” is the skin on your forehead, between your eyebrows and above your nose. When you make facial expressions, that skin is moved by the muscles on your forehead.
Depending on your face shape, skin tightness, genetics, and how often you make certain expressions, you may notice wrinkles that look like wavy lines beginning to develop. These wrinkles are called glabellar lines, or more commonly, forehead furrows.
If you don’t like the look of these lines, there are home remedies, clinical treatment options, and prevention strategies to minimize their appearance.
Keep reading to learn more about glabellar lines, why they appear, and what you can do about them.
Glabellar lines are horizontal indentations that stretch across your forehead. They may intersect with another category of wrinkles called frown lines.
Glabellar lines vs. frown lines
Typically, frown lines are the vertical lines between your eyes, while glabellar lines appear above your eyebrows and run horizontally.
Frown lines don’t just come from making sad faces. When you smile, laugh, or look worried or surprised, the glabella muscles tug and pull the skin that covers them.
Your face is designed to convey emotions to the people you communicate with. Narrowing your eyes or raising your eyebrows is just another tool you have to express yourself.
As you age, your skin becomes looser, and the collagen bonds that form the structure of your face become less defined. Repeated movements that you make with your face can change the texture and shape of your skin, leading to skin that appears to sag or wrinkle.
For example, if you frequently “knit your brow,” your glabellar lines might be more pronounced or develop more quickly.
A number of products are available that you can use to soften and smooth the appearance of glabellar lines. Here are some at-home remedies worth considering.
Dermatologists recommend moisturizing overnight creams, as well as a daily moisturizer routine, to keep your skin hydrated. Skin that’s infused with the proper amount of moisture is more resilient and can hold its shape better over time.
Product to try: SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream
Key ingredients: Superoxide dismutase (an antioxidant found naturally in the body), antioxidant vitamins E and C, green tea leaf extract (another antioxidant), and sodium hyaluronate (helps skin retain moisture).
Added bonus: It’s cruelty-free (not tested on animals).
Antioxidant creams can help your skin fight the damage that comes from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the natural result of being exposed to air pollution and the toxins in your environment.
Skin cream that’s infused with antioxidant ingredients, such as green tea extract and vitamin E, may help stimulate new skin growth and keep your skin’s surface looking younger.
Product to try: Toulon Antioxidant Moisturizer for Face with Cucumber and Chamomile
Key ingredients: Antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, pure safflower oil (linoleic acid), shea butter, aloe, chamomile, and cucumber.
Added bonus: It’s free of parabens and is cruelty-free (not tested on animals).
Keep in mind that the heavy cream consistency might feel like too much for some skin types.
Hyaluronic acid has been shown to fill invisible gaps in your skin barrier, making it smoother to the touch. It also plumps up your skin after your skin absorbs it. Over time, hyaluronic acid can significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, according to
Product to try: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Key ingredients: 3 types of hyaluronic acid (low, medium, and high molecular weights hydrate skin on multiple levels), and vitamin B5 (helps heal dry and damaged skin by stabilizing the skin’s barrier function and promoting tissue growth).
Added bonus: It’s vegan, cruelty-free (not tested on animals) and formulated without parabens, phthalates, oil, alcohol, silicone, nuts, or gluten.
Peptides in your skin serums, cleansers, and lotions can help your skin look brighter and stimulate cell turnover. While this won’t correct wrinkles by itself, the effect can make your complexion appear smoother overall, while keeping your face muscles from twitching and contracting the way that they normally would.
Product to try: Peptide Complex Serum by Eva Naturals
Key ingredients: Botanical hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, witch hazel, organic vegetable glycerin, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.
Added bonus: It’s cruelty-free (not tested on animals).
If at-home skin care doesn’t smooth your forehead furrows to your satisfaction, talk to a dermatologist about medical treatments. The following options may help make your glabellar lines less noticeable.
Botox and other neuromodulators
In recent years, Botox has become more and more popular for skin that is showing signs of aging. While technically Botox is a brand name, many people use it to refer to any of several injectable ingredients that relax (paralyze, actually) the muscles under your skin, making wrinkles less noticeable.
Compared to other medical procedures, Botox is affordable, and the risk of side effects is minimal. On the other hand, Botox is a temporary fix that wears off after a couple of months. It also stops your face from showing its full range of expression, which can result in a stiff appearance.
Juvederm and other soft tissue fillers
Soft tissue fillers are meant to mimic the collagen and other structural components of your skin. Products in this treatment category include:
There are some notable differences between Botox and dermal fillers, but both have a low risk of complications. Dermal fillers do have a possibility of side effects, and they can be more costly than Botox.
The most expensive and high-risk way to smooth frown lines is a facelift. Facelifts are a type of cosmetic surgery that tightens the skin on your face and your neck.
These surgeries do produce permanent results when they’re successful. However, it’s hard to know exactly how you’ll look once the facelift is complete.
Other potential downsides to consider include:
- Over time, it’s possible that your wrinkles will begin to form again.
- Facelifts have a risk of infection.
- Facelifts require several weeks of downtime while you heal.
- Compared to other treatments, facelifts are quite expensive.
Some people swear by doing “facial exercises” to treat and prevent glabellar lines. However, there’s a lack of evidence in the medical literature to support this technique.
Since wrinkles and frown lines are actually caused by muscle activity, there’s little reason to believe that increased muscle activity from “facial yoga” or making surprised expressions in the mirror would improve the look of forehead furrows.
Remember that glabellar lines are caused by skin that is loose, fat loss, or collagen breakdown — not by facial muscles that lack definition.
The best way to avoid glabellar lines is to begin prevention strategies early, before those lines start to appear.
If you’re genetically predisposed to these kinds of wrinkles, you might consider following some of these wrinkle prevention tips:
- drink lots of water
- eat a diet rich in fiber and antioxidants
- avoid cigarette smoke
- wear sunglasses
- use sunscreen daily, especially on your face
- keep your face moisturized
- sleep on your back
You can also try to limit the facial expressions that you make, but if you find that this is impacting your quality of life — don’t!
The fact is, genetics, gravity, your diet, and your lifestyle have as much (or more) to do with forehead furrows forming than maintaining a stoic expression at all times.
For many people, forehead furrows are a natural part of aging. Taking good care of your skin and living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent glabellar lines.
If you’re concerned about the way frown lines and forehead furrows influence your appearance, there are skin care products you can try to make the skin above your eyes look smoother.
If your forehead furrows are affecting your daily life, you may want to speak to a dermatologist about cosmetic procedures for making them less noticeable.