What are glabellar lines?

Glabellar lines are the vertical lines on the human face that look like the number 11 and are visible when a person frowns. Two major muscles of the upper face called the corrugator and the procerus contract to form the glabellar lines between the eyebrows. These lines disappear as soon as a person stops frowning.

As a person ages, the skin becomes less elastic and the glabellar lines become more pronounced; in some cases, they remain permanently on the face, making it appear that the person is always frowning or angry, even if they are cool and relaxed. A person who begins to experience degenerative changes, such as having static wrinkles, may see a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist for medical assistance. There are two options for addressing glabellar lines: botulinum toxin, known as Botox™ injection; and brow lift, also known as foreplasty.

Botox™ injections work best on glabellar lines that are just beginning and are still shallow. The muscles that have become stiff, thus forming the lines, are injected with small doses of Botox™ to relax the muscles and move them back to their relaxed position. The treatment, however, will not totally eliminate the lines. Injectable fillers can complement treatment for a smoother, almost wrinkle-free forehead. Generally, the effect of the treatment will only last a few months and another round of Botox™ injections should be done to keep the lines away.

Deep glabellar lines are treated by cosmetic surgeons through a browplasty, which has longer-lasting results than Botox™ injections. The surgery aims to weaken the muscles that form the glabellar lines by removing some of these muscles. The surgery can be performed in two ways: the hairline or coronal technique, or the endoscopic technique. The coronal technique is a popular option because the scar is not visible as the incision is made along the hairline.

A person undergoing surgery to remove glabellar lines should keep in mind that the effect of the treatment is temporary just like with Botox™ injections. The forehead plasty will not make the biological clock stop. Aging will continue but at a reduced rate. The lines will reappear but only after a few years and not just after a few months as is the case with Botox™ injections. Still, the bottom line is that aging will continue; a person generally needs to accept this fact and avoid lifestyles that can hasten the development of unsightly lines on the face.

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