When you hit 30, sometimes before, sometimes after, much to your dismay you’ll start to notice lines on your face. A furrowed brow refers specifically to those horizontal lines that show up across the forehead and those vertical lines that appear in the zone between the eyes. Since everyone equates smooth skin with youth, we dislike facial lines in general. But furrows in these areas are particularly bothersome because they can give the impression that you’re tired or sulking.
WHAT GIVES RISE TO FURROWED BROWS?
Everybody’s skin is different, so genetics may be partly to blame for these furrows. Lifestyle is another big factor. Exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays or bad habits like smoking, eating poorly, or not getting enough rest may not cause facial lines to appear, but it can make them show up prematurely. Also, not wearing sunglasses can inadvertently lead to a furrowed brow due to squinting.
However, these lines mainly arise when two things combine: the passage of time, with its corresponding loss of skin elasticity, and the automatic gestures that cause a repeated contraction of facial muscles. In this case, it would be the muscles underlying the forehead and the area between the eyebrows.
IS A FURROWED BROW INEVITABLE?
You can’t change your genes, and to the extent that these lines are the result of aging, a furrowed brow can’t be entirely prevented, at least not until someone discovers the actual Fountain of Youth.
We can, of course, take good care of our skin from an early age. This includes healthy habits and lots of sunscreen. A facial skincare routine is vital, especially if your furrowed brow isn’t very marked yet. It should incorporate formulations that mimic the substances produced by skin when it is young. Ingredients like Vitamin C and E that block the oxidative processes of the skin, the ones that accelerate wrinkles, are key. So are components like microscopic spheres that penetrate the skin and appear to fill in and eliminate the furrows by increasing the volume of water.
As for contracting our facial muscles, we do this when we spend hours in front of the computer straining our eyes, perhaps without the necessary eyeglasses. But mainly it’s because we make facial expressions. In fact, a furrowed brow is an example of mechanical expression lines, so called because they are linked to the repetition of the same facial expressions over and over.
Frowning is common when you make expressions associated with worry or anger. You can make a greater effort to manage these negative feelings, but bear in mind, these are the same muscles needed to look surprised, delighted, or exhilarated. So, a lot of people will tell you that a furrowed brow is evidence of a life well-lived. If you have one, you’ve experienced joy, marveled at sights, and felt excitement.
Let’s face it, though, we’d rather these sensations live in our memories and photographs, not on our faces.
TREATMENTS TO MINIMIZE THE APPEARANCE OF A FURROWED BROW
So, you’ve tried getting in the habit of relaxing your expression. You’re getting a handle on stress, perhaps through yoga or meditation. You consistently use a good anti-wrinkle cream, maybe even one prescribed by a dermatologist. Still, you may be past preventing a furrowed brow and ready to do something to lessen its appearance. It’s time to see what aesthetic medicine can do.
Creams can’t always erase these grooves because they act on the skin, not on the underlying muscles. Changing the muscular response is key to erasing a furrowed brow. That’s where Botox, a renowned treatment for facial lines, comes in.
Botox consists of botulinum toxin, a natural substance that works by blocking certain nerve signals that cause muscles to contract, thus relaxing them. By producing this blockage, they inhibit the movement of the muscles. So, as long as the effect of the toxin lasts, the cause of the wrinkles disappears. This is why Botox’s fundamental application in aesthetics is the treatment of expression lines such as a furrowed brow.
A simple treatment, Botox is applied by means of injections into the skin. Depending on several factors, the effect lasts from four to five months. Many people choose to have it applied two or three times a year.
While substances like Botox that modulate the nerves of muscles are very effective at treating furrowed brows, they have downsides. Besides requiring periodic application, Botox can be costly. To some people, the end result is a forehead with an unreal appearance, almost as if it’s been ironed. If you’re not ready for Botox, there are other treatment options.
Botox works by relaxing the muscles. Injectable dermal fillers reduce furrows by adding volume. There’s a wide variety of fillers available, but they tend to be divided into two groups:
• Hyaluronic acid-based
Naturally found in skin tissue, hyaluronic acid is a substance we lose as we get older but which is fundamental for maintaining skin elastic and firm. Hyaluronic acid’s function is to attract water and retain it, thus keeping skin hydrated, which in turn makes it look plump. As furrows are filled up, they regain their original volume, making it look like they’ve disappeared.
• Non hyaluronic acid-based
Radiesse is one example of an injectable filler that is not based on hyaluronic acid. It’s composed of biocompatible calcium hydroxyapatite mixed with a carboxymethylcellulose gel. This filler also helps reduce the appearance of furrows by adding some volume. More importantly, though, it will work to gradually stimulate the body’s production of collagen, the missing ingredient for naturally younger, smoother skin.
Another way to get the body to produce more collagen is through a technique called microneedling. It’s a treatment consisting of repeatedly passing a device called a derma roller over the skin. This roller is equipped with a multitude of tiny needles that make micro-holes in the epidermis. The goal is to convince the body to treat those holes as injuries so that it will produce collagen during the healing process. Microneedling tends to produce the best results when used on facial lines that are only just beginning to form.
It is a similar procedure to microneedling, but it’s known as the “next generation” microneedling. The procedure consists of using a special needling device, but the needles are hollow inside. The needlehead is fixed on a glass vial which you fill with various nutrients, such as hyaluronic acid, glutathione, vitamin C and special mesotherapy cocktails containing peptides, amino acids and minerals. An example of such device is Aquagold Fine Touch. As for nutrients and solutions, Anna’s Cosmetics sells the best range of vitamin injections as well as highly effective mesotherapy cocktails Dermaheal, Filorga NCTF 315 and 135 HA and Jalupro.
Whichever of these courses of action you choose, you’ll be sure to see a softening and reduction of the appearance of your furrowed brow. Start early enough, and you may help delay the arrival of these lines for years.