Tweakment Finder TWEAKMENT



Frown Lines

Written by: Alice Hart-Davis

Last Updated: 22 September 2023

What are frown lines?

Frown lines, also known as ‘eleven’ lines (or ‘glabellar lines’, as doctors call them) are those vertical creases that appear between your eyebrows. We make these creases when we knit our brows together while frowning and, as we age, our skin loses the ability to bounce back, and the lines set in, particularly if frowning has become such a habit that we hardly know we’re doing it. If you want to soften these lines, there’s a lot that can be done—both with skincare and with tweakments. You might be thinking that, when you frown, horizontal lines appear on your forehead, too; but when we talk about ‘frown lines’ we’re generally just referring to the elevens—after all, ‘forehead lines’ can also appear when you’re surprised, smiling, sceptical, etc. Scroll down for answers to all the FAQs about frown lines.


Find a Practitioner


Brands We Recommend

Emface logologo


You can download all this information in one handy e-book - just fill out this form and it's yours.

FAQ ABOUT Frown Lines

Why do I have frown lines?

The forehead is expressive. We use it to communicate a great many emotions to the people around us: frowns, raised eyebrows, sympathetic looks, brows raised in delighted surprise – a whole range. The muscle movements involved in such facial expressions are known as ‘dynamic’ movements by cosmetic doctors, because they move the skin on top of them, forming creases where the skin folds to accommodate these movements. If you are always pulling your eyebrows together when you frown, creating the vertical ‘eleven’ lines between your eyebrows, these wrinkles start to set in.

Why these lines become entrenched as you age is because your skin becomes gradually less firm and springy. This is because the levels of collagen (the protein that keeps your skin firm) and elastin (the one that keeps your skin springy) drop as you get older. Then, when the skin is continually squashed into a crease, it loses its ability to bounce back.

How much does it cost to use toxins to get rid of frown lines?

toxins, or other anti-wrinkle injections, will cost upwards of £100 per treatment area—and most people need more than one area to be treated. The price varies greatly according to the practitioner’s location and expertise, so use my practitioner finder to find a reputable practitioner who can give you a quote.

How do I get rid of frown lines between my eyebrows?

Start with skincare. First things first, you need a moisturising sunscreen, and you need to wear it every day if you want to get rid of your frown lines. This is crucial because ultraviolet light, which the sunscreen protects against, really hastens ageing and the wrinkling process.

Secondly, dry skin wrinkles more quickly than well-hydrated skin, so consider adding a moisturising serum containing hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine. Despite technically being an acid, this is one of the gentlest ingredients you can use, and we naturally have it in lots of places in our bodies, including the skin. It’s incredibly hydrating and sinks into the upper layer of the skin, where it hangs on to water—each molecule of hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water—and plumps up the skin. Use it under moisturiser, sunscreen, make-up, or whatever you’re putting on your face. It works best when sealed into place with a product on top of it.

A third tip is to add a vitamin A cream for regeneration into your skincare regime. Retinol (part of the retinoid family) is one such vitamin A derivative, and an ingredient that you’ll see cropping up everywhere. It works to kick-start collagen production, and simultaneously reduce the rate of collagen breakdown in your skin. This means that existing collagen lasts longer, and new collagen is made faster. It also speeds up the rate at which ageing skin cells renew themselves, which has an exfoliating effect on the skin, and has additional effects (unclogging blocked pores and reducing excess pigment production) that make the skin look clearer and less wrinkled as a result.

It’s important to know that retinol can easily irritate the skin, particularly if you use too much of it too quickly. Side effects of overuse of retinoids include redness, dryness, itchiness and skin peeling. That said, there are new types of active retinoids being launched all the time which are really effective at improving the skin, and are much less irritating than some of their older siblings.

Because of this potential for irritation, when you start using a retinoid cream, use it twice a week only, and no more, for two weeks. Your skin needs a while to get used to it, and you need to work out what kind of dose your skin can tolerate. This is also important because it takes three days for a reaction from a retinoid to show up in your skin, so you have to be very cautious and wait to see what the irritation’s like before you reapply the cream. Everyone’s skin is different, and tolerance of retinoids is no exception. Before you get overzealous with use of a retinoid, remember that with skincare you are running a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s better to be gentler to your skin and build up slowly than crashing in headfirst. If you’re finding the retinoid a bit drying, pop a moisturiser over the top of it. As well as just being moisturising, this can have the added benefit of helping to ‘buffer’ the retinoid and soften its effects.

Most retinols and retinoids should be applied at night. This is because they’re sensitive to daylight, which makes them break down and lose their effectiveness. There are, however, some new forms which have been engineered to not be affected by daylight in this way—so, whichever product you use, follow the instructions when you apply it. Lastly, using a retinoid will make your skin more sensitive to daylight, so using sunscreen is more important than ever here. You want to protect the fresher, clearer skin that the retinoid is giving you, not waste it.

Anti-wrinkle injections, and other tweakments

I think we all know what’s coming next… Anti-wrinkle injections made from botulinum toxin A are the main way of softening lines on the forehead, and toxins is the best-known brands of these. Softening frown lines with toxins is the most common tweakment there is.

It works because toxins is a dilute form of nerve toxin. When injected into the facial muscles that help to pull our faces into expressions, it interferes with the nerve signals which tell the muscles to contract. This stops these muscles from folding the skin up and causing wrinkles, giving the skin a chance to renew itself, softening the appearance of these wrinkles or lines. It’s quick and effective, and the results will last for several months. Once the effects of the toxin have worn off (this typically takes a few months), the muscles fully regain their function.

People worry about anti-wrinkle injections because (a) they’re nerve toxins and (b) we’ve all seen photographs of celebrities with badly-done toxins in the past, giving the impression that toxins freezes the face totally. However, while it is undeniably a toxin, it is also a prescription medication and has many medical uses alongside its cosmetic applications, so it is one of the best-studied and most thoroughly researched cosmetic treatments out there—all to ensure it’s safe. And it is. The data shows that botulinum toxins are well-tolerated and that adverse side effects are more to do with the use of a needle than it is associated with what’s being injected.

As for the frozen face, a good practitioner would hate for anyone to even be able to spot that their regulars have had wrinkle-relaxing injections at all—they want it to look natural, so their work is cautious and subtle, and every treatment is personalised to fit that patient’s face and style. Some people want to get rid of the lines altogether, and they’ll have heavier treatment. But most people want just a softening and a freshening of the face that leaves them able to move their faces.

So how do you avoid bad toxins? The answer: find an experienced practitioner who has a reputation for giving their clients a natural-looking result. It’s also always a good idea to book in for a review two weeks after treatment. The full effects of the treatment will be showing by then, so if, say, one eyebrow has ended up arching slightly higher than the other, the practitioner can even things out with a small adjustment. You can also always ask for just a gentle dose the first time you have treatment if you’re nervous about it – ask for ‘baby toxins’ or ‘mobile toxins’. If you want more information, for example about potential problems (bruising, over-treatment or drooping eyelids), head over to my page about toxins or anti-wrinkle injections in general.

All this said, anti-wrinkle injections are not the only tweakments which help to reduce the appearance of frown lines, so if you object to needle-based tweakments or dislike the idea of toxins, you do have other options. Here are four of the best:

Skin peels. These are exfoliating treatments using alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic or lactic acid. They work by painting the peel onto the face, where it helps to loosen the chemical bonds that hold the dead skin cells onto the surface of your face, so those old cells can be swept away, revealing the fresher skin beneath.

Laser skin rejuvenation. Lasers sound heavy-duty, but they can be great for smoothing and tightening the skin. There are many types of lasers that work on the skin in different ways—including ablative lasers, non-ablative, and fractional lasers. Ablative lasers work by scorching away the surface layers of skin (effective but requires a lot of recovery time, and they’re not used much these days), whereas non-ablative lasers work by creating heat in the skin (which boosts collagen production, improving the appearance of the skin) without actually doing any injury to the skin’s surface. Fractional, or fractionated lasers, are those which are fired through a grid of tiny holes. This means that between every channel of damage that is burned into the skin, there is a scrap of intact skin, which reduces the damage on the skin’s surface and speeds up the healing process. Speak to your chosen practitioner about which type of laser treatment would be best suited to you, and have a look at our page on laser treatments here for more information.

Radiofrequency skin tightening. This, like with fractional laser treatment, is another way of creating heat in the skin, to convince the skin cells that they have been injured badly enough to kick-start the wound healing response that freshens and tightens the skin. While laser works mainly on the surface of the skin, radiofrequency travels a short distance into the skin and takes action a bit deeper down. Radiofrequency also has the added benefit of making the existing collagen contract—because of this, it’s sometimes described as having a ‘shrink-wrapping’ effect, tightening up the skin on the face slightly.

Microneedling. This treatment uses tiny, super-sharp needles to create multiple punctures in the surface of the skin (a bit brutal, but effective) and these minute wounds stimulate the wound-healing response that floods the skin with growth factors and creates new collagen and elastin, creating — over the next few weeks – a fresher, smoother and firmer surface.

Can I have filler to get rid of frown lines?

Injections of dermal filler can be used on frown lines, but you would only want this to be done if your frown lines are really deep grooves. Otherwise, when your forehead is relaxed and not pulled into a frown, the fine lines of filler may be visible on the surface.

Can I use a chemical peel for forehead wrinkles?

Yes! See the section above on how to get rid of frown lines – the chemical peel works just as well for forehead wrinkles as it does for frown lines.

How can I prevent frowning when I am concentrating?

This is easier said than done, but it is possible. In the mirror, frown at yourself, then relax your forehead and eyebrows, and observe the difference. Breathe in, breathe out, and stay relaxed. You might think you can’t learn to do this in real life, but with a bit of practice, you can. Frownies (mentioned below) can help with this.

Do frownies work?

Frownies are small patches of paper with adhesive backing, which work to reduce the appearance of forehead wrinkles by helping you to train yourself not to frown when you are concentrating. You stick them onto your face when it is relaxed, and then as soon as you start to scrunch up your face or frown, the patch tugs at your skin and you become very aware of your facial movements. Of course, it is possible to replicate this effect with sticky tape—but this is a little less kind to your skin when you take it off. Frownies won’t get rid of your wrinkles, but they can help you to stop them from getting (significantly) deeper.

An added benefit of using Frownies is that, in the same ways that forcing a smile even when you’re not happy can lift your mood, relaxing your face, even when you’re stressed, can help you to feel that bit calmer.

Can I use exercises to get rid of my frown lines?

Facial exercises tend to aim to plump up muscles in the face more than preventing wrinkling—but what you can do is, as mentioned above, practice relaxing your facial muscles when you’re concentrating, or any time you would normally scrunch up your forehead.

How can I get rid of eleven lines naturally?

Unfortunately, beyond training yourself not to wrinkle your forehead when concentrating and staying healthy and eating well to strengthen your skin, there’s very little that can be done ‘naturally’ to get rid of or prevent the eleven lines from forming. However, there are plenty of tweakments which can do wonders, and many skincare options too for those who prefer a less invasive solution.

Do anti-wrinkle serums stop frown lines?

‘Anti-wrinkle serums’ encompass two things: products which strengthen the skin, which can make frown lines less obvious (including retinoids and moisturising serums, as mentioned previously) and topical ‘toxins’ gels which claim to have the effects of toxins without needing invasive injection. In my opinion, these are a total waste of money and not your best option—but there is now some evidence from trials that topical gels including 10% argireline can relax fine lines from dynamic muscles. If this is something you’re curious about, try a gel with this concentration of this ingredient—it might be worth a shot.


Alice answers your question. Want to ask Alice a question? Pop it in here and check back in a few days for the answer.

Hey Alice, just recently I found your Tweakments Guide and it has become my best read. I wanted to ask your opinion. I’m 56 and take good care of my skin but I still have deep wrinkles in my forehead, some around eyes and clear...

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Your question cut off, but to answer the part about wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes – wrinkle-relaxing injections will easily sort these out.

I have a very deep line across my forehead. I hate it so much – what do you advise, please?

I'd suggest you made an appointment with a great practitioner to get their view on what has caused the line, and what the best way to soften it might be. Most of the horizontal lines on our foreheads are from the way we raise our eyebrows, and the lines settle into place over the years. Because these lines are caused by muscle movement, wrinkle relaxing injections of botulinum toxin A should help soften your line. For lines which are really deep, it may make sense to treat it with a soft kind of hydrating filler, but a skilful practitioner will know just what to do....

Two weeks ago I had some toxin and now my right eyelid has a droop. The last toxin I had was over three years ago previous to this.

Sounds like your practitioner has over-treated/ hit the wrong muscle – if you have toxin injected in the muscle that lifts the eyelid, it weakens the muscle, so the eyelid will droop. The muscle will recover its function in a couple of months. Maybe next time, choose a practitioner with more experience with toxin?

I’m 38 and still get acne on my cheeks but skin also dry and sensitive skin, and I can see the ageing… I use ZO end to end but not sure it’s the answer, plus it’s very £££. I looked at your Acne Fixers Bundle but how do I also tackle...

Dry and sensitive skin suggests that your skin barrier isn't in great shape. Work on this by focussing on gentle, hydrating products – a hyaluronic acid serum, sealed in with a moisturiser and, in the morning, topped with sunscreen. Once your skin is feeling stronger and more comfortable, start using a product with retinol or another retinoid (start slowly, with tiny amounts and twice a week at first) to help with acne management. Taking lots of omega-3 supplements can really help with skin hydration and skin quality, too. These are my current favourites....

Sagging, thin, dry, ageing skin – what one thing should I try? I wear sun cream every day and take HRT. I lost a little weight and my neck skin looks crumpled and my face has started sagging with lines. I work for the NHS and am not wealthy but if...

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. It sounds like a course of injectable moisturiser injections on the face and neck would be your best bet. Have a look at some of the different brands here to get an idea of what they offer (they all differ slightly based on their ingredients and composition) – some are better at tightening sagging skin than others. All will smooth out the crumpling/ crepey texture that you mention and reduce your lines. You’ll also get a lovely, refreshed glow and ‘springier’ skin. And most importantly, use the Practitioner Finder to find someone we recommend near you who offers this treatment....

I am wondering if I can get some advice – I had baby toxin in February for my forehead and 11 lines. Two weeks later, I started to have a rash on my neck and swollen under-eyes, which kept occurring over a two-month period. Both my practitioner...

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Alice and I aren't medical practitioners and aren't qualified to give any medical advice, but it does sound to me that it was unlikely the toxin that gave you that reaction, simply because of where the rash and swelling occurred – nowhere near your injection sites. From what we know it is technically possible to be 'allergic' to toxin, but as your practitioner and GP said, it's extremely rare. Have you definitely been able to rule out anything else that could have caused the reaction? Did the reaction last for two months or did it go away and come back a few times within that timeframe? Have a think if there...

Hello, I am 48 and really starting to look old, especially when I look at photos. What do you recommend as the most effective way to look fresher and better without toxin or filler? Is it HIFU or profound or another treatment? Or would I really need...

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Dr Strawford will be best placed to answer all these questions for you once he's assessed your face and talked to you about your exact concerns. He is an expert practitioner with a great deal of experience. The tweakments you mention – HIFU, Profound (RF microneedling), toxin, and filler – all do different things that work towards making you look fresher and younger, but not in the same ways. Toxin for example won’t do anything about sagging skin but HIFU will, Profound will stimulate collagen production to tighten and plump the skin, but won’t replace lost volume in the ways filler will. So it all...

Can you recommend the best home device for wrinkles and texture for smoothing the skin on the face, please?

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. There aren't really any devices as such for treating texture at home. Aside from DIY microneedling with a roller – which Alice and I rarely advise – your best bet will be a home peel and active skincare, something with smoothing AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) to regulate textural issues. This will also help address wrinkles at the same time, as will a retinol product – which you should absolutely be using in your daily routine. If you did want to invest in a device for your wrinkles alone, you could try the NuFace Line Fix Smoothing Device, which is particularly good around the eyes and mouth, but it's not...

I have a deep line across my forehead. What treatment would you recommend?

I'd suggest you made an appointment with a great practitioner to get their view on what has caused the line, and what the best way to soften it might be. Most of the horizontal lines on our foreheads are from the way we raise our eyebrows, and the lines settle into place over the years. Because these lines are caused by muscle movement, wrinkle relaxing injections of botulinum toxin A should help soften your line. For lines which are really deep, it may make sense to treat it with a soft kind of hydrating filler, but a skilful practitioner will know just what to do....

Hi Alice, I've just watched your video on Secret RF. I'm having the treatment in a few weeks. Did you think it's worth the money for the results seen? Thank you.

I only had one round of Secret RF when filming it (at my age, I'd need about three sessions to see proper results) so I only saw a bit of skin-smoothing. But I know from practitioners who have the device that they absolutely love it for the results it gives, so yes, I'd recommend it.

Monthly Hydrafacial or monthly Caci? I’m 43 with skin in reasonably good condition but starting to notice some signs of ageing, so planning to treat myself to a monthly facial.

Hiya, editor Georgia here. In an ideal world, budget permitting, you'd do both! HydraFacials are more geared towards extractions and hydrating the skin, improving surface issues like breakouts or dry skin. You do get some collagen stimulation from the LED light element but if your main concern is signs of ageing then I’d go for monthly CACI treatments instead. CACI is specifically for combatting signs of ageing by stimulating the facial muscles using electrical microcurrent. If you're new to CACI, you'll be advised to book a course of treatment and to have the first few treatments a fortnight apart. Find out more here....

I’m 56 years old – post-menopausal. My skin is ageing – fine lines, wrinkles and loss of volume. Bit nervous of treatments. Injectable moisturisers or radiofrequency? Any advice please.

Well, it slightly depends what result you're after. Injectable moisture treatments are great for hydrating and re-conditioning the skin and will give a certain amount of smoothing and a bit of tightening. They cost around £400 a session and you'll need two or three of them to see a result – click here to read our detailed article on the cost of these treatments. RF microneedling is better for skin tightening and smoothing – it's a much more aggressive procedure that provokes wound-healing and remodelling of the collagen over the following three months – and it's much more expensive, it costs between £850 and £1,500 per session, and...

How do I get rid of downward lines on my forehead? Vertical at the sides of my face I think from squishing my face into the pillow at night. toxins? I have regular toxins for my frown lines on my forehead so I don’t appear to be cross when I’m...

If your practitioner says toxins won't work on these lines, maybe that is because they're being made by the way you sleep, as you suggest, rather than by muscle movement. It might be worth trying something simpler than tweakments, like the Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask, which looks like a normal sleep mask but has small silicone bumps on the inside that press on muscle receptors in the face to relax them (it's clinically proven to relax frown lines between the brows). These slight bumps are set in a pattern that goes over the eyebrows and around the sides of the eyes, and they grip the skin very gently and I find that these stop me from...

Qualified nurse does my toxins in North West England. She said it costs her £120 to buy the amount that does 3 areas on me (crow's feet, frown lines & forehead). Is it too cheap to be real/ safe toxins? Im concerned after seeing your post on unsafe...

Hiya, editor Georgia here answering on Alice's behalf. This is a difficult question to answer as toxins is bought by the vial but priced for the consumer (you) by the unit (usually there are 100 or 200 units to a vial) or area – whichever way your practitioner chooses to price it. Unless your practitioner is offering it to you at cost price – meaning she wouldn't be making any money – I'd say £120 in total for the three areas you mention is cheap enough to raise alarms. Better to find a practitioner you trust than risk it. Enter your postcode into our Practitioner Finder to find someone reputable near you to visit instead. It's...

Hi Alice, is there an age you’d say is too young for toxins? I’ve turned 28 and am considering it around eyes. Thank you!

Hiya, editor Georgia here answering on Alice's behalf. 28 is probably around the youngest age I'd advise having toxin, as long as you can afford it – bear in mind that if you like the results it will be an ongoing investment around every 3 months or so. It's also worth using a decent eye cream if you don't already, either before you decide to have toxins or alongside, as a good one really can make a difference to crow's feet, assuming that's what you're looking to treat. Here are some we recommend. Finally, as you're young, stick to a small amount so you don't inhibit too much expression around your eyes....

I had toxins for the first time with an experienced dermatologist. It didn’t work so we did two top-ups, which also didn’t work. Then we tried two different brands but also didn’t work. Seems like I have antibodies. Any tips about where to...

It sounds like you are resistant to the drug, but this is really quite rare. Manufacturer clinical trials showed that no more than 1.5% of patients develop “neutralising antibodies”, and the figures are something like 1 in 10,000 that it doesn’t work for. Usually, if the treatment doesn’t work, it can be because of the dosage (not everyone’s the same, and some people need a higher dose) or the dilution of the product. But you say the practitioner was an experienced dermatologist. It’s hard to tell if you had all the treatments at the same clinic. It may be worth getting a second opinion, but you could be wasting your money if...


Hello, how can we help?

Hi, I’m The Tweakments Chatbot.

I have been designed to help you get information and advice on your concerns. I am currently in training. In case I am unable to answer your question, I would like to ask for some details, so that Alice or one of our team can contact you and ensure you get all the advice you need.

Thank you for using The Tweakments Chatbot. We would like to know how was your experience with us today. Can you spare a minute to share your feedback?

Was the chatbot helpful in finding what you were looking for today?

Yes No

In few words could you please tell us why, so we can improve your experience in the future.

Would you use the chatbot next time you visit the website?

Yes No

In few words could you please tell us why, so we can improve your experience in the future.

Overall, how would you rate your experience using The Tweakments chatbot.