Skip to main content

What Are Glabellar Rhytids (Frown Lines)?

By October 1, 2020August 4th, 2022Eyes

Causes, Prevention, and Treatment 

Glabellar Rhytids, also known as frown lines, the 11s, worry lines, or forehead furrows, are mainly caused by aging. As we age, our faces start losing their structure and elasticity. Our skin starts sagging, stretching, and thinning. Due to the loss of elasticity and repeated movement of the facial muscles, glabellar rhytids start to form.

Figure 1 – Glabellar rhytids are most commonly seen when frowning the brows inwards but can form to be visible at rest and are a more advanced form of skin wrinkle.

Why Do Glabellar Rhytids Affect Facial Aesthetic?

Glabellar rhytids make people look sad or angry all the time. Frown lines appear when you raise your eyebrows or frown, glabellar rhytids appear. These temporary lines become permanent as we age forming deep vertical lines between the eyebrows that are visible while at rest.
It is one of the first signs of chronic stress and early aging of the face, especially after the thirties.

What Causes Glabellar Rhytids?


Ageing is the first cause of glabellar rhytids. As we age, our skin starts losing its ability to produce collagen and elastin. The face loses its elasticity and becomes exposed to sag and stretch.
Facial expressions, especially aggressive facial expressions such as worry and stress, and repeated movement of the facial muscles make glabellar rhytidids worse since they prevent the skin from returning to its original place. (1)


If early glabellar rhytidids are common among your family members, you may develop them early. Skin types differ genetically. Some skin types are more prone to fine lines and wrinkles while others can delay the development of these ageing signs. (2)


People who are exposed to the sunlight all the time develop fines lines and wrinkles earlier than others. The Ultraviolet rays (UV) break down the collagen and elastin in the skin and reduce the production of new collagen and elastin. (3)

Repeated Facial Expressions

Your face is more likely to develop glabellar rhytids if you smile, squint, frown, or do any other facial expression too often. The temporary lines turn into permanent lines over time. (4)


Glabellar rhytids are also known as worry lines. Stress causes facial tension, which leads to the formation of frown lines over time. Stressed people always look worried due to the development of frown lines. (5)


The repeated facial expression associated with smoking leads to the development of frown lines around the mouth. Smoking also participates in making glabellar rhytids and other types of wrinkles and fine lines worse because it constricts blood vessels, which means less oxygen and nutrients reaching the face. (6, 7)

How To Prevent Glabellar Rhytids?

Many people think that the only way to get rid of glabellar rhytids is Botox injections. However, there are many things to try first before going for treatments.

A Healthy Diet & Hydration

Eating a healthy diet that contains high amounts of antioxidants is essential for having good skin and fighting inflammations. In addition, hydration helps in relieving tension and defending against wrinkles and fine lines.
Try to increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids either by eating omega-3 containing foods or by taking a supplement. (8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

Sleep Well

Sleeping well is highly recommended for refreshing your entire body, including your skin. Avoid sleeping with your face against the pillow since this sleeping position may contribute to the development of glabellar rhytids over time. (13, 14)

Use Sunscreen & Wear Sunglasses

Try to apply sunscreen on your face daily. Remember that the Ultraviolet rays of the sun are always there.
In addition, wear sunglasses to keep your eyes from squinting and protect the area between and around your eyes. (15, 16, 17)

Moisturize and Exfoliate

People usually ignore the area between their eyes and eyebrows while moisturizing your face. It is recommended to moisturize your face at least 3 times per day.
Also, exfoliate your face three to four times per week using a high-quality exfoliating scrub to remove the dead skin cells. (18, 19)

Figure 1 – (A) Participant 5 and (B) participant 27. Unretouched baseline photographs were taken before treatment; unretouched photographs at months 4 and 20 were taken prior to retreatment with onabotulinumtoxinA. No treatment was given at months 1, 24, and 26.

How to Treat Glabellar Rhytids?

Silicone Pads

Since repeated facial expressions contribute significantly to the development of frown lines, silicone pads are effective in treating them. Make sure that the silicone used is 100% medical.
Silicone pads prevent the area between the eyebrows from making the facial expressions that lead to frown lines. They also hydrate, heal, and fill in the rhytids. People who use silicone pads regularly say that their skin becomes more youthful over time. Find high-quality silicone pads and apply them by pressing on the aging areas. Forehead creases, frown lines, and other aging lines can be treated by silicone pads.
If you have hereditary frown lines, silicone pads can be your best solution. (20, 21)


Retinoids refer to products made mainly of vitamin A. They are among the best topical products that can prevent the appearance and development of anti-aging signs.
Retinoids are proved to enhance the turnover of skin cells and stimulate the production of collagen. Using retinoids regularly will diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines including glabellar rhytidids.
Retinoid products are recommended for people who are looking for a long-term solution for glabellar rhytidids. They take about 3 to 6 months to show results according to the severity of fine lines and wrinkles.
It is recommended to start with low amounts, especially if your skin is sensitive. (22, 23)


Microneedling has been more popular among people who want to rejuvenate your face quickly. The process depends on the use of ultra-fine needles. The needles are inserted in the skin, which triggers skin healing and regenerating new skin cells. The use of Microneedling results in stronger, younger skin. Microneedling can be done at home using a dermal roller but it is highly recommended to visit a dermatologist to assess and evaluate your glabellar rhytids and other aging signs.
The procedure can be uncomfortable. If you are going to use a dermal roller, apply a numbing cream first to soothe any discomfort. (24, 25)


Botox, Xeomin, and other injections are used to treat any aging signs including glabellar rhytids. The injection of neurotoxins prevents the overactive muscles from causing wrinkles.
Injectables are the best and most effective way to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. Within a week, your glabellar rhytids will be gone completely. (26, 27)

Figure 2 – Model demonstrating the placement of topical adhesive pads (Frownies;B&P Company Inc, Dayton, Ohio) for the treatment of the glabella (A) and the glabella and the central forehead area (B).


How QOVES Studio Can Help


Skin Retouching

Our range of skin retouching services can help you hide the appearance of a range of ageing signs among other cosmetic improvements for Instagram, commercial modelling or E-commerce productions.

Facial Aesthetics Report

Have your facial proportion and harmony be analyzed into a comprehensive report and learn about how you can improve your aesthetic.

Facial Morphs

Have our team of photo editors morph your face into more ideal proportions for a visual look at what can be achieved with surgery, exercise and muscle hypertrophy.

Find A Doctor

We’re working on building a comprehensive directory of approved plastic surgeons and practices near you that show a strong understanding of aesthetic medicine with a proven track record.


1. Langsdon P, Petersen D. Management of the aging forehead and brow. Facial Plast Surg. 2014;30(4):422-430. doi:10.1055/s-0034-1383555
2. Makrantonaki, E., Bekou, V., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Genetics and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology4(3), 280–284.
3. Flament, F., Bazin, R., Laquieze, S., Rubert, V., Simonpietri, E., & Piot, B. (2013). Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 6, 221–232.
4. Piérard GE, Lapière CM. The microanatomical basis of facial frown lines. Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(8):1090-1092. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670200066010
5. Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. (2014). Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Inflammation & allergy drug targets13(3), 177–190.
6. Ernster, V. L., Grady, D., Miike, R., Black, D., Selby, J., & Kerlikowske, K. (1995). Facial wrinkling in men and women, by smoking status. American journal of public health85(1), 78–82.
7. Koh JS, Kang H, Choi SW, Kim HO. Cigarette smoking associated with premature facial wrinkling: image analysis of facial skin replicas. Int J Dermatol. 2002;41(1):21-27. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.2002.01352.x
8. Cao, C., Xiao, Z., Wu, Y., & Ge, C. (2020). Diet and Skin Aging-From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients, 12(3), 870.
9. Schagen, S. K., Zampeli, V. A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 298–307.
10. Mekić S, Jacobs LC, Hamer MA, et al. A healthy diet in women is associated with less facial wrinkles in a large Dutch population-based cohort. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019;80(5):1358-1363.e2. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.03.033
11. Palma, L., Marques, L. T., Bujan, J., & Rodrigues, L. M. (2015). Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 413–421.
12. Choi JW, Kwon SH, Huh CH, Park KC, Youn SW. The influences of skin visco-elasticity, hydration level and aging on the formation of wrinkles: a comprehensive and objective approach. Skin Res Technol. 2013;19(1):e349-e355. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0846.2012.00650.x
13. Sundelin, T., Lekander, M., Kecklund, G., Van Someren, E. J., Olsson, A., & Axelsson, J. (2013). Cues of fatigue: effects of sleep deprivation on facial appearance. Sleep, 36(9), 1355–1360.
14. Poljsak B, Godic A, Lampe T, Dahmane R. The influence of the sleeping on the formation of facial wrinkles. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2012;14(3):133-138. doi:10.3109/14764172.2012.685563
15. Shanbhag, S., Nayak, A., Narayan, R., & Nayak, U. Y. (2019). Anti-aging and Sunscreens: Paradigm Shift in Cosmetics. Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin9(3), 348–359.
16. Randhawa M, Wang S, Leyden JJ, Cula GO, Pagnoni A, Southall MD. Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging. Dermatol Surg. 2016;42(12):1354-1361. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000000879
17. Marzoli D, Custodero M, Pagliara A, Tommasi L. Sun-induced frowning fosters aggressive feelings. Cogn Emot. 2013;27(8):1513-1521. doi:10.1080/02699931.2013.801338
18. Pinsky M. A. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of an Anti-aging Technology for the Treatment of Facial Wrinkles and Skin Moisturization. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology10(12), 27–35.
19. Levin, J., & Momin, S. B. (2010). How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology3(2), 22–41.
20. Mazzarello V, Ferrari M, Bulla A, Piu G, Montella A. Antiwrinkle effect of topical adhesive pads on crow’s feet: How long does the effect last for?. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;17(3):484-490. doi:10.1111/jocd.12395
21. Puri, N., & Talwar, A. (2009). The efficacy of silicone gel for the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery2(2), 104–106.
22. Mukherjee, S., Date, A., Patravale, V., Korting, H. C., Roeder, A., & Weindl, G. (2006). Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical interventions in aging1(4), 327–348.
23. Zasada, M., & Budzisz, E. (2019). Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii36(4), 392–397.
24. Ablon G. (2018). Safety and Effectiveness of an Automated Microneedling Device in Improving the Signs of Aging Skin. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology11(8), 29–34.
25. Iriarte, C., Awosika, O., Rengifo-Pardo, M., & Ehrlich, A. (2017). Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology10, 289–298.
26. Satriyasa B. K. (2019). Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: a literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspect. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology12, 223–228.
27. Frampton JE, Easthope SE. Botulinum toxin A (Botox Cosmetic): a review of its use in the treatment of glabellar frown lines. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(10):709-725. doi:10.2165/00128071-200304100-00005

Dr Khaled Mahmoud

A medical researcher with more than 5 years of professional academic and medical writing experience. My main goal is to provide readers with evidence-based, data-driven, detail-oriented content to help them make the best choices.