How to get rid of frown lines, according to a dermatologist

Learn how to get rid of frown lines with these tips, treatments and products

A woman with beautiful clear skin showing how to get rid of frown lines using skincare products
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

Learning how to get rid of frown lines begins with a few hard truths. Namely that if you already have deep-set furrows and aren't up for having injectable treatments, there is no 'magic wand' product or trick that will completely eradicate them. 

An easier pill to swallow is that if you learn about your frown lines, what causes them, and what your skincare routine can and can't do to treat them, you can achieve enough of an improvement arrive at a place of peace—or even happiness—with what's going on between your brows.

While it's true that not all wrinkles are created equal (and that frown lines are generally less welcome than twinkly characterful crow's feet) that doesn't mean battling 'number 11s' is a hopeless struggle. Here, our beauty editor and an expert skin doctor reveal everything you should know about how to get rid of frown lines, from causes to treatments and the skincare ingredients that really work. 

How to get rid of frown lines, by the experts

What are frown lines?

Frown lines usually appear as two furrows nestled between the eyebrows or horizontal lines straight across the forehead and tend to develop around our thirties. "Raising your eyebrows, concentrating, squinting, or frowning—whenever you move your face, your forehead muscles contract," explains Dr. Shaaira Nasir, Consultant Dermatologist at sk:n clinics (opens in new tab). "Years of frequent contraction, combined with environmental and lifestyle factors, causes lines and wrinkles to form." 

And why do the lines worsen with age? "The main cause is a decrease in the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. These proteins are responsible for our skin’s elasticity. However, production drops as we age. Stress, sun damage, smoking, drinking alcohol, dehydration, and genetics are also factors responsible for the development of frown lines," explains Dr Nasir. 

Pronounced frown lines don't necessarily mean you've been scowling excessively, but they can make you look grumpier than you feel and tend to develop earlier than other signs of ageing. "Although age makes them worse, some people have forehead lines before they have any other signs of aging skin," agrees Dr Nasir. 

How to prevent frown lines forming

As with all things skincare, prevention beats cure and the usual lifestyle rules apply, which means: 

  • Healthy habits: Cut down your alcohol consumption and eat a diet rich in omega fatty acids such as oily fish, nuts, and seeds. 
  • Avoid smoking: Tobacco can cause frown lines due to the fact that it narrows your blood vessels, which in turn allows less oxygen to reach the skin and degrades collagen.
  • Unclench: Stress can contribute to frown lines due to repeated facial tension. Facial massage can help, and try to be mindful of tensing up during stressful moments.
  • Hydrate: Dehydration makes lines look deeper. Drink plenty of water, keep the skin barrier in good condition to prevent water loss, and use the best face moisturizer for your skin type.  
  • Sun protection: "Wear a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen to block out harmful UV rays; this will help to preserve your skin’s natural collagen supplies for longer," advises Dr Nasir. 

The best pro treatments for frown lines

Woman showing her forehead free of frown lines on a grey backdrop

(Image credit: Getty images)

When you're thinking about how to get rid of frown lines, there is no denying that tweakments, such as injectable baby botox and facial fillers are the most effective route to go down. With any injectable visit a qualified medical professional, and have a thorough consultation beforehand. These are some of the most effective options: 

Botox
"Lines caused by muscle movement (such as when you frown, smile, or squint) are known as dynamic lines." explains Dr Nasir. "Dynamic lines are usually treated using anti-aging injectable treatments, which work to relax the muscles in the face to help prevent lines caused by repetitive facial movements." 

Facial filler
"Lines that are always present, even when you are not moving your facial muscles, are called static lines. Dermal fillers can also help to replace volume loss and reduce the appearance of deep or fine lines on the forehead," says Dr Nasir.

Ultherapy
Ultherapy is a treatment that uses ultrasound waves to heat the deeper layers of the skin and stimulate collagen production. It doesn't target specific lines, but can help you nail how to get rid of frown lines by giving the skin an all-around tightness and plumpness boost. 

Microneedling
Another general wrinkle improver rather than frown line specific treatment, microneedling works best for those who don't wish to completely freeze or fill their lines, just subtly soften them. The skin is repeatedly stamped with a needle-tipped mechanical penlike device, which creates a superficial 'trauma' that the skin rushes to heal by producing lots of new collagen. 

The best skincare products for frown lines

Prefer to stick with topical skincare? Certain ingredients are ideal for those learning how to get rid of frown lines. Look for: 

  • Hyaluronic acid: This moisturizing molecule famously holds 1000 times its own weight in water. Ideally, pick products that contain several molecular weights of HA as larger molecules sit at surface level and smaller ones penetrate deeply for twice the plumping action. 
  • Retinol: Everyone's favorite skin-rejuvenating active works by speeding up cell turnover, resulting in a smoother skin texture, increased collagen, and softened lines.
  • Peptides: These brilliant multitasking ingredients perform all sorts of functions in the skin, but in a nutshell, peptides energize the skin and get it to behave as if it is younger to help prevent the collagen and elastin degradation that causes static lines. 

From stick-on patches to plumping serums and the best red light therapy devices to re-boot collagen, learning how to get rid of frown lines is easy with so many effective solutions on the market. Here's our beauty team's pick of the bunch:

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Murad Targeted Wrinkle Corrector | RRP: $78/£70

This brilliant product offers long and short-term gains. A clever hyaluronic acid blend and line-filling polymers instantly plump, peptides get to work treating the skin while squalane (opens in new tab) quenches to prevent future lines. 

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Fillerina Dermo-Cosmetic Filler Treatment | RRP: $135/£99 

Despite appearances this cult 'filler' is actually a topical skincare serum, containing a super-potent blend of six hyaluronic acids which you administer through a highly targeted, non-invasive applicator.

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Skin+Me Daily Doser | RRP: £24.99 per month (UK only) 

Learning how to use retinol (opens in new tab) is key to tackle frown lines. This clever company takes all the guesswork away with a virtual dermatologist consultation and 'daily doser' of prescription-strength retinol, amongst other ingredients tailored to your skin goals. They gently up the dose with every monthly delivery so your skin can adjust without irritation. 

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Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase RRP: $60/£50

This silky pillowcase from Illuminage not only looks and feels fabulous, it also prevents nighttime creasing, so effectively future-proofs your face. It's also embedded with copper oxide fibers, which release ions as you sleep to boost skin's natural renewal. Sweet dreams indeed. 

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Indeed Labs Nanoblur | RRP: $19.99/£19.99

The product that launched a thousand copycats, Nanoblur can be smoothed on top of make-up, under it, or be mixed with moisturiser to give skin a soft-focus, smooth, plumped appearance. It won't make frown lines actually disappear, but they will certainly disappear to the eyes of your beholders, which is surely the next best thing? 

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Realine Beauty Frown Line Patches RRP: £28 for 30 (UK only)

The beauty industry's answer to those old Hollywood forehead taping tricks, these patches fight forehead lines and creases overnight with nothing more than a diamond of hypoallergenic sticky film. Pull your skin taut, pop on a patch, and turn in for the night while your muscles undergo 'retraining' for a smoother appearance. 

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The light Salon Boost LED Mask | RRP: $495/£395

LED light sends signals to your skin to produce collagen and elastin for a plumping effect, and this is the comfiest LED mask we've tried. It only needs to be used for a few minutes each night, feels pleasantly relaxing, and most importantly, is clinically proven to reduce wrinkle depth by 36% in four weeks. 


woman&home thanks Dr. Shaaira Nasir at sk:n clinics (opens in new tab) for her time and expertise

Fiona McKim
Beauty Editor, womanandhome.com

 As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.