Opinion: A focus on frown lines in facial skin care

Katerina Steventon discusses the ‘frown zone’ and makes a case for holistic wellbeing in facial skin care

Dr Katerina Steventon is a skin scientist and columnist with experience of working at the interface of commercial, clinical and research health care sectors. Her research interests are skin health, appearance and ageing. She specialises in difficult-to-treat skin types and innovative perspectives on consumer needs in facial skin care.


Katerina Steventon, Consultant

Facial appearance matters; the value of the anti-ageing facial skin care market is increasing year-on-year. Our scientific understanding of the physiology of different facial zones has advanced into designing complex, continuous maps of non-invasive, biophysical parameters of facial skin. Facial skin differs from the skin of the body, and it is the distinctive skin types and concerns that drive skin care product personalisation.

Bringing holistic wellbeing into the mix is the next challenge for the skin care industry. This would leverage the ability to compete with current benchmarks in anti-ageing, namely retinoic acid and botulinum toxin injections. People have an innate feel for judgments of age, health and fertility when looking at faces.

Certain facial zones are more important than others, yet these perceptions are about more than facial skin. The underlying tissues – the muscles and fat layers – play an important role.

Facial expressions convey emotions important to successful social communication, creating an emotional language of the face. People judge six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, fear and anger/aggressiveness in others every day. Empathy affects this judgment; highly empathetic people perceive threatening faces as more angry and pleasant faces as happier. Eye tracking-based research shows that when gazing at new faces, people focus on the central triangle unless there is a difference from the norm. Smiling further exacerbates the perception of a difference.

But are we looking for happiness in others? The ‘face in the . . .

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