“I’m tired of people thinking that I’m angry or worried all the time.” Plastic surgeons frequently hear complaints like this from men and women who are bothered by frown lines. Deep wrinkles across your forehead and between your eyebrows can keep you from looking as open and relaxed as you feel. Fortunately, there are a number of effective methods for reducing the appearance of frown lines.
The most permanent solutions for frown lines are surgical. The particular surgical technique that your plastic surgeon recommends will depend on many factors such as the position of your eyebrows, the amount of excess upper eyelid skin and the height of your hairline. A forehead lift, also called a brow lift, can modify or remove parts of the muscles that cause wrinkling and frown lines. It can also remove excess skin and lift your eyebrows to a more pleasing level. Depending on the technique used, one or more incisions may be placed at the front of the hairline or within the hair. If your main concern is frown lines between your eyebrows or across the top of your nose, a surgical procedure through an incision in the upper eyelid may be recommended.
Temporary solutions for frown lines include injectable fillers such as collagen or fat. Some people are allergic to bovine collagen. That’s why you will need a “patch test” before treatment. If you have a reaction, there are other options. For example, a small amount of your own skin can be used to make “autologous” collagen. This collagen – which comes from your own body, so it won’t cause an allergic response – is injected later to fill in lines and wrinkles. Or, using local anesthesia and a syringe, a small amount of fat can be removed from your abdomen or another area. Just like collagen, this fat can be injected to plump up facial lines. For both collagen and fat, repeat treatments will be needed to maintain the results.
Periodic injections of Botox® tame your frown lines by temporarily paralyzing the over-active muscles that cause them. After the procedure, these lines will be improved at rest, and frowning will no longer create as deep a furrow. The effects of Botox® usually occur within 24 to 48 hours after injection. Results last, on average, about four months. Some surgeons have reported that the effects seem to last longer with each treatment, but so far this has not been proven scientifically. A small percentage of patients may experience no improvement at all following the injections.
Taking certain medications (specific antibiotics, for example) may increase the potency of the Botox® injections. It’s important for patients to provide a full disclosure to their plastic surgeon of all medications they are taking. If you are pregnant or nursing, you’ll want to discuss this with your surgeon before undergoing treatment with Botox®.
Other injectable materials may also be recommended, in some cases, for treating frown lines. Your plastic surgeon can update you on what is currently available and advise you on which treatment will work best for you.(From “Your Image,” a publication of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.)