Eyebrow wrinkles (glabellar lines): causes, treatment, prevention
LAST UPDATED: Jun 03, 2022
5 MIN READ
HERE'S WHAT WE'LL COVER
Our skin changes as we get older—there’s no way around that. But, while wrinkles and fine lines are natural parts of aging, some people are eager to slow down the hands of time as it relates to their skin. This article specifically covers eyebrow wrinkles, how to get rid of them, and tips for preventing lines between the eyebrows.
What are eyebrow wrinkles?
Eyebrow wrinkles are the lines that form between or above your eyebrows. Often, people refer to the vertical wrinkles between the eyebrows as frown lines. The horizontal wrinkles that form above the eyebrows are also called glabellar lines (since the medical name for the forehead is glabella).
When you make facial expressions, the skin on your face folds and creases. Talking, yawning, frowning, laughing, smiling, and squinting in the sunlight all cause the muscles in your face to move.
Over time, lines may appear around your eyebrows and form wrinkles. Some people will also notice wrinkles forming on other parts of the face, such as around the eyes (crow’s feet) or smile lines around the mouth.
What causes lines between the eyebrows?
Skin naturally becomes less elastic as you get older, and skin stops returning to its usual shape.
Typically, wrinkles start as fine lines. Over time, these turn into more visible deep wrinkles. For example, you may first notice small, thin vertical lines between your eyebrows, which over time, may become deeper furrows between the brows.
While wrinkles are a natural part of aging, many other factors influence when and how they develop. Here are some of the factors that may impact how wrinkles form (Wong, 2021):
Genetics: Ethnicity and skin color may affect how soon wrinkles become noticeable.
Repeated facial expressions: Some facial expressions lead to more folds forming in the skin. Younger skin can bounce back and return to a smooth, even surface, but over time, skin loses elasticity, and repeated facial expressions create fine lines that slowly deepen into wrinkles.
Skin type: Dry skin may be more likely to show signs of aging than oily or combination skin types.
Environment: Exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution can increase wrinkling. Types of air pollution associated with wrinkles include soot, burning wood or charcoal, ozone, and traffic-associated pollution.
Smoking: Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk for wrinkles. And the more you smoke, the more likely you’ll develop wrinkles.
Nutrition: Your diet influences the health of your skin. A healthy diet full of vegetables and fatty acids may lower your risk for early skin aging.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol may lead to early skin aging and wrinkles. However, some studies don’t show an association between skin health and alcohol consumption.
Sun damage: Research suggests sun damage is one of the biggest contributors to wrinkles; the more sun exposure you have, the more likely you are to develop wrinkles and sagging skin.
Stress: Psychological stress could increase your risk of wrinkles. Stress leads to excess cortisol levels, which may interfere with the health of your skin barrier, allowing your skin to lose moisture. Signs of aging can be more apparent in dry skin (Choe, 2018).
Pressure on the face: Similar to facial expressions, repeated exposure to pressure on the face can lead to wrinkles. For example, if you sleep on your side at night, your skin may be pressed together, forming folds. Years of sleeping like this could impact wrinkle development (Sarifakioğlu, 2004).
How to get rid of wrinkles between eyebrows
If you’re looking to get rid of the wrinkles between your eyebrows, there are a variety of at-home or medical treatments available that may help.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends using a moisturizer to help hydrate the skin. Moisturizers help trap water on the skin’s surface, which may help your skin look plumper and younger (AAD, n.d.).
The best moisturizer for you depends on your skin type and concerns. Talk with your dermatologist about creating the right skincare routine for your needs.
Antioxidants are compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. Research suggests topical antioxidant creams can help reduce the signs of skin aging.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the skin and other areas like your eyes and joint fluid. Skincare products containing hyaluronic acid may help increase skin moisture and hydration. A small study suggests that using anti-wrinkle creams containing hyaluronic acid for three months may reduce wrinkle-depth and increase skin tightness (Poetschke, 2016).
Peptides are amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins. Your body uses amino acids to create collagen and elastin, essential for healthy and smooth skin.
A small study suggests products containing peptides may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles (Jeong, 2019).
Topical retinoids (which come from vitamin A) are popular for helping treat some types of acne and preventing aging.
Tretinoin is a prescription-strength retinoid. Lower strengths of retinol are available over-the-counter. Retinoids help stimulate skin cell turnover, which may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles (Zasada, 2019).
Tretinoin Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.
Chemical exfoliation with products like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) may help with skin texture and wrinkles.
These ingredients remove dead skin cells and reduce the thickness of the outer layer of skin. AHAs are commonly recommended for treating skin concerns like acne, scarring, hyperpigmentation, dry patches, and wrinkles (Moghimipour, 2012).
Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure, sometimes called collagen induction therapy. During this procedure, tiny needles repeatedly prick the skin to stimulate collagen production and treat skin concerns.
Research suggests that microneedling is a safe and effective treatment for scarring and wrinkles (Ramaut, 2018).
Botox, also known as botulinum toxin, is a popular cosmetic treatment and one of the most popular methods for managing wrinkles (Camargo, 2021).
It involves injecting compounds into the skin to paralyze targeted muscles under the skin to make wrinkles less noticeable. Depending on where it’s injected, Botox can limit your ability to make facial expressions, which reduces lines created from emotional expressions.
Soft tissue fillers like Juvederm, Sculptra, and Restylane are designed to mimic collagen and fill in wrinkles.
During this cosmetic procedure, dermal fillers are injected into the lines around the eyebrows to reduce their appearance. These provide short-term improvements in appearance and likely need to be redone to maintain results.
A facelift is a type of cosmetic surgery to tighten the skin on your face and neck. It’s the most expensive and highest-risk option for managing wrinkles.
When successful, these surgeries can provide longer-lasting results for wrinkle reduction. However, it can change how you look, and it’s difficult to know exactly how your skin will look once the surgery is complete.
Surgery carries more risks than other options, such as a higher risk of infection and a longer time to heal.
Can you prevent wrinkles between your eyebrows?
The best way to prevent wrinkles between your eyebrows is to incorporate anti-aging strategies as early as possible, even before wrinkles start to form.
While you can’t change all of the risk factors for developing risk factors between your eyebrows, there are still some things you can do to prevent wrinkles from developing, like:
Avoid or quit smoking.
Wear sunscreen daily, even when planning to stay mostly indoors or on cloudy days.
Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
Eat a balanced diet full of vegetables and healthy fats.
Manage stress levels.
Sleep on your back.
Use moisturizer and anti-aging skincare products.
Limit facial expressions and squinting when possible (but still enjoy life and try not to feel the need to keep a blank facial expression in every moment).
Wrinkles and forehead furrows are natural parts of aging. Still, taking good care of your skin and living a healthy lifestyle may help slow the development of wrinkles.
If you have any questions about your skin’s appearance, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to talk with a dermatologist about what options are best for you.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). (n.d.) Wrinkle remedies. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/wrinkle-remedies
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Choe, S. J., Kim, D., Kim, E. J., et al. (2018). Psychological stress deteriorates skin barrier function by activating 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 and the HPA axis. Scientific Reports , 8 (1), 6334. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24653-z. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5910426/
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