Look: We’re human beings. We laugh, we cry, we emote, all of which cause our skin to crease and create expressions. Over time, this can lead to wrinkles—and as our forehead accounts for a sizable portion of our face’s surface area, forehead wrinkles tend to cause the most concern. Fortunately, they’re also among the easiest lines to treat.
“Wrinkles are normal, and though we can limit the formation and depth of the wrinkle, dynamic wrinkles help with portraying expression,” says board-certified dermatologist Chris Tomassian, MD. But while forehead wrinkles are a natural part of aging, that doesn't mean they can't be addressed. Learning how to treat and prevent forehead wrinkles comes down to an understanding of physical aging, skincare, and the ever-expanding world of cosmetic options.
Let’s start with understanding. “As individuals grow older, there's a natural decline in the production of collagen and elastin, which maintain skin elasticity and fullness,” says Dr. Tomassian. “This reduction weakens the skin's resilience, making wrinkles more likely.”
But what of forehead wrinkles specifically? Read on to learn how to treat and prevent any unwanted lines.
Meet Our Expert
Chris Tomassian, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles.
Karen Kagha, MD, is a Harvard-trained board-certified dermatologist.
Causes of Forehead Wrinkles
The frontalis muscle is responsible for raising our eyebrows, which causes the horizontal lines across our foreheads. “Habitual muscle activities, like frequently raising eyebrows, contribute to expression lines on the forehead,” says Dr. Tomassian. “The more one repeats these expressions, the deeper and more noticeable these lines become.”
As with all things skin, certain external factors can contribute to, and potentially worsen, forehead wrinkles. Too much time spent in the sun sans proper SPF application, chronic dehydration, smoking, and skimping on skincare can all contribute to wrinkles. “Extended and unprotected contact with the sun’s UV rays leads to deterioration of collagen and elastin in the skin, while smoking not only hampers blood flow to the skin but deprives it of essential oxygen and nutrients,” says Dr. Tomassian. “Also, stress and lack of sleep lead to increased cortisol levels and collagen degradation, increasing the chance for wrinkles.”
Internally, genetics are a factor, too. In fact, studies have shown that up to 60 percent of physical aging can be attributed to genetics.
Preventing Forehead Wrinkles
To prevent forehead wrinkles, start by addressing the factors within your control. “Wearing sunscreen regularly can shield the skin from harmful UV rays, thereby slowing the aging process and the onset of wrinkles,” says Dr. Tomassian, who also recommends maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.
A quick pause in the mirror to observe your expressions can help you to understand how you communicate non-verbally, and if there are any frequently used habitual expressions you could shift, ever-so-slightly, to ease the depth of wrinkles.
Should you want to take the stave-off a step further, preventative botox is an increasingly popular means of forestalling deep-set wrinkles. “Preventive botox involves injecting botulinum toxin before deep wrinkles form, helping to relax facial muscles and reduce the intensity of expression lines over time,” explains Dr. Tomassian.
Reducing Forehead Wrinkles
The biggest shift you can make on the mission for a more youthful, wrinkle-free complexion is to commit to self-care. “A holistic approach to health is always optimal for natural anti-aging: Decrease stress, get enough rest, exercise, stay hydrated, and eat whole, unprocessed, colorful, and nutrient-dense foods,” says Dr. Kagha. “For neurotoxin treatments [botox, etc.] preventative treatment is always better than playing catch up once resting lines are already in place.”
Investing in your daily skincare routine helps, too. “It starts with skincare,” says Dr. Tomassian. “Retinoids, vitamin C, sunscreen, and peptides all can improve collagen and fade fine lines and wrinkles.” Though sticking with good-for-you (and good-for-your-skin) routines can be a monotonous task at times, the internal and external benefits provide an unparalleled payoff—and one that treatments will never be able to entirely emulate.
Treating Forehead Wrinkles
Should you have your lifestyle, skincare, and preventative cosmetic routines down to a science, treatments like microneedling, radiofrequency microneeding, chemical peels, Fraxel, and injections can help treat forehead wrinkles.
“Microneedling is a targeted method of creating microwounds in the skin, which then prompts the skin to repair itself,” says Dr. Bowe, who notes that tiny amounts of filler can help with those dealing with deeper wrinkles. Radiofrequency microneedling takes the treatment up a notch, addressing deeper layers of the skin and using RF energy to further stimulate collagen.
As for Fraxel, the resurfacing laser treatment is gaining in popularity, and for good reason. “Every fall, without fail, my Fraxel laser is booked out for months,” says Bowe. “It makes a huge difference in the appearance of skin tone, including smoothing skin texture and addressing discoloration.”
Forehead wrinkles are a natural part of life, and embracing that reality is the first step in addressing them. Once you understand why and how your skin is aging, take stock of your internal and external habits, improve upon them where you can, and then chat with your dermatologist and develop a treatment plan. The coolest part? Skincare and cosmetic sciences are improving and expanding at rapid rates, primarily in the realm of prevention. Aging ain’t what it used to be.
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