Glabella Lines: Causes & 6 Amazing Preventions

Glabella lines are lines you might have seen when you knit your brows, they appear on your foreheads. You have a skin on your forehead, usually between your eyebrows and above your nose, this is known as the glabella. When you make facial expressions like frowning or laughing, the forehead skin is moved by the muscles in the skin.

Wavy and horizontal lines will start to form on your glabella due to factors like age, genetics, shape of face, tightness of your skin and certain expressions. In this article, we will go over what glabella lines are, the difference between vertical forehead and glabella lines, treatment and preventive measures to reduce their appearance.


Glabella lines are horizontal lines that run across the forehead. They just appear when you yawn, laugh, talk or make expression. They are affected by the activities of the muscles underneath the surface. 

Some factors or combination of causes can cause these glabella lines to remain permanent thereby making the forehead to have wavy furrows. These factors can be the shape of the face, activities of the muscles, skin tightness, and genetics. If the glabella lines are not treated, they may become worse over time.


Some people mistake frown lines to be glabella lines if they want to describe the lines above the nose and around the forehead. In fact, some refer to these lines as glabella frown lines. Both frown lines and glabella lines are lines that appear on the same area of the face but they are not the same.

Glabella lines appear above the eyebrows on the forehead, they are horizontal lines that run from one eyebrow to the other. Frown lines appear between the eyes, adjacent to the eyebrows. They have deep creases and vertical lines that run from above the side of the nose to right above the eyebrows.

Both glabella lines and frown lines are emotional wrinkles, this is because they are mostly seen when you show emotions like laughing, frowning or other facial expressions. Laughing, frowning and other facial expressions should not not have much effects on your forehead muscles and eyebrow when you are younger.

But, as you get older, your facial expressions have effects on your face. The reason for this is that the skin loses its elasticity as we get older, the collagen binds becomes weaker and loose with time. So, movements on your face will cause wrinkles and lines to appear on the face.

Glabella Lines
Glabella Lines


Glabella lines appear at irregular intervals at the initial stage, you only see them when you frown. As time goes on, these lines become deep and more permanent gradually till there are always fixed lines present on your forehead. Glabella lines are deep because the skin between the eyebrows and above the nose is thick compared to the thin lines at the outer ends of the eyes that cause crow’s feet.

Glabella lines develop due to the actions and activities of the underlying muscles, the corrugator supercilliaris, the procerus and the depressor superciliis. As these muscles develop, they pull the central ends of the eyebrows inwards and downward, this leads to furrows appearing on the forehead. 


There are many causes of the horizontal lines on your forehead (glabella lines). They can be grouped into intrinsic and extrinsic causes. 

1. Intrinsic Causes

These are causes that are natural, inborn and innate, they include:

  1. Hormones: The hormones especially estrogen plays a very important role in hydration, thickness of the skin and how blood flows to the skin. For women, when the estrogen level is less, there is a greater chance of developing wrinkles on the skin. This is the reason why most women who are in their menopause age have more wrinkles. This can be corrected by undergoing hormone replacement therapy for estrogen.
  2. Genetics: Genetics makes it easier for some people to develop wrinkles at an earlier age than others. Genetics determines the speed of gene deterioration, so if you have genes that deteriorate at an early age, you may develop glabella lines and other wrinkles faster than your age.
  3. Glycation: This is a process whereby sugars like fructose and glucose cross-link with nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids. Glucose is a very essential sugar needed by the cells and body but when there is much exposure to this sugar, the collagen fibers (exposed to glucose) can become brittle and increase wrinkles on the face.
  4. Free Radicals: Atoms and molecules with electron bond that can be unpaired in the body. This can lead to many issues in the body like changing DNA, increase the risk of developing cancer, damaging the structure of the collagen bonds in the face, leading to wrinkles. These free radicals can be gotten from pollutants from the environment, ultraviolet light, and bodily production.

2. Extrinsic Causes

These causes are not natural, they are caused by external and outside factors.

They include:

  1. Facial Expressions: Facial expressions like laughing, frowning and others plays a very important role in the formation of wrinkles in the face. They cause emotional wrinkles and the residual tension caused by smile, frown or laugh gradually decrease the natural elasticity of the skin. With time, these wrinkles become permanent.
  2. Smoking: Smoking damages the skin because the active ingredient in cigarettes destroys the collagen in the skin when exposed. This makes the skin of smokers to be worse than those who do not smoke. Also, smoking reduces hydration and how blood flows to the skin leading to less nutrients, oxygen and drier skin.
  3. Exposure to sunlight: Exposing the skin can cause wrinkles to develop. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes great damage to the collagen in the skin. The damage of the collagen causes loss of the body’s natural elastin. Although it is possible for the body to repair the damage caused by the ultraviolet rays but the newly-produced collagen fibers create uneven repairs beneath the skin that cause wrinkles.
  4. Sleeping positions: Sleeping positions may not be a major cause but it is a factor. Sleeping with your face against the pillow, and staying in this position every night can cause pressure on a specific part of the face.


There are medical methods that can make your glabella lines less visible, you can talk to a dermatologist for the best option for you.

Some medical treatments for reducing glabella lines are:

1. Glabella lines botox 

Botox has become a popular treatment for aging skin or skin with lines and wrinkles. It uses botulinum toxin type A, specifically OnabotulinumtoxinA, to paralyze muscles surrounding the injection sites. Botox works by blocking muscle contractions and nerve signals temporarily, this reduces the appearance of glabella lines.

Botox is affordable with minimal risk of side effects. However, botox is not permanent, it wears off after few months. Botox makes it unable for your face to show full range of its expressions.

Time lapse of botox on glabella lines

There are some factors that will determine the length of time botox will last on glabella lines. These factors include the amount of botox injected, how thick your facial muscles are, how often you use facial muscles and how active you are. People who use botox to reduce the appearance of their glabella lines will notice effects between three to six months, on average. You can repeat the injections if you want to achieve your desired look.

2. Glabella Lines Filler

Using dermal fillers to treat glabella lines can be very effective. Dermal fillers contains hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in the skin. They keep the skin hydrated, add more volume, nourish and refresh the elastin and collagen. 

Dermal fillers are injected in small amounts to fill out wrinkles and lines like the glabella lines or frown lines. They smoothen out these lines, soften their appearance making them less noticeable and deep. Dermal fillers include Restylane, Sculptra and Juvederm. They are not permanent and would need to be topped up every three to six months. 

3. Facelift

This method is very expensive with high risks but it can smoothen out glabella lines and other wrinkles. Facelift works by tightening the skin on your face and your neck. If this surgery is successful, the result is permanent but it is hard to know how you will look after the surgery is done. Some drawbacks of facelift include the risk of infection, the wrinkles may appear again, long recovery process and it is expensive compared to other treatments.


  1. Moisturizing treatments: Moisturizing the skin overnight will help to keep the skin hydrated. You can use moisturizing creams and have a daily moisturizer routine. If the skin is moisturized, it will be strong enough to hold its shape and elasticity for a longer time.
  2. Antioxidant cream: Antioxidant cream can help the skin to fight against damage caused by exposure to air pollution and the toxins in your environment. Some antioxidants can also help new skin to grow.
  3. Peptides: Lotions, serums and cleansers containing peptides can help the skin to look brighter while cells turnover. This does not really smoothen glabella lines but it makes the complexion to look smoother and you muscles will not twitch or contract like they normally would. Products with peptides will also increase the level of collagen in your skin and increase tolerance to stand stretching.


Preventing glabella lines from appearing is better than looking for treatment methods when they form.

Some preventive tips are:

  1. Drinking lots of water
  2. Staying away from cigarette smoke
  3. Wearing sunscreen every day on your face
  4. Wearing sunglasses to prevent ultraviolet rays
  5. Moisturizing the face regularly
  6. Sleeping on your back.


Glabella lines are horizontal lines on the forehead, they are most times interchanged with frown lines. However, they are two different things. You can reduce the appearance of glabella lines by using medical methods or home remedies.

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