Dr. Niamh Discusses Frown Lines

I’ve just had three video consultations and we’ve been talking about frown lines. So, I thought it’d a good time just to tell it to my patients. Frown lines, they appear in the middle of our forehead. We have always had them when we frowned but when you relaxed as a kid, they just went ping-back. As we age and our skin loses its firmness and its elasticity, then those lines don’t ping back as well, and you start to see them.

A lot of people come in saying, “Oh, I hate these lines, they make me look so old and grumpy” but in fact, it’s not the lines, really, it’s what’s going on underneath.

So, what is happening underneath? We have, obviously, a little group of muscles in the middle here, which pull up our eyebrows in and down. When you activate those, it makes you look tense, grumpy. When we’re looking at our video consultations and our phones and our computers at the moment, we’re all frowning and concentrating.

When you age, you lose a bit of bone underneath, and the tension in those muscles increases, and it increases even when you’re resting. And that’s what makes us look tired and old and grumpy. And it’s part of our so-called ‘resting bitch face.’

One of the things we can do is we can relieve the tension in those muscles by using botulinum toxin. I’m very conservative, as most of you will know and I think it’s very important that you can still move.

You’ve got to be able to communicate, especially as a mum or as a teacher, you can’t just be sitting there looking happy and not moving your face when you’re trying to bring some kids into line or when you’re trying to be serious or concentrate.

You need to have some movement, but you need to take the tension out of it and have it really nice relaxed when you’re not activating those muscles. That comes down to very much working out the dose and having a good technique so that we can just precisely place the toxin where we want it to work and you don’t get the frozen look.

Most patients will only have about three injections. It takes about a week to cut in and it will last about three to four months.

Some patients, we need to tweak a little bit because the eyebrows can shoot up when you immobilise the central part, so we need to put a tiny half unit or unit just at on the sides but generally, that’s all that’s involved.

Of course, there are some patients who want very minimal movement and want it relaxed totally and that’s fine, they just need a little bit more toxin. They may even need five injections into their frown area to stop the movement completely. It’s up to the patients what exactly they want.

I like to see my patients after two weeks and if I need to give you a little bit more, then l will give you a little bit more. We don’t charge for top-ups. So that about covers it. Here’s to getting rid of the bitch face. Happy face – here we come!



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