Skin-care

Forehead Wrinkles & Fine Lines: Top Causes And How To Fix Them

Medically reviewed by Justice Choi, M.D. — Written by Elizabeth Willson

Let’s talk forehead wrinkles. We all know that the dreaded lines are a normal part of the aging process. Time is not always on our side. But as it turns out, in this case, there are many things we can control—not only to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place but also to treat existing lines. If there’s one great thing about aging, it’s that the older you get, the wiser you get. So wise up, and kick those forehead wrinkles to the curb.

What Actually Causes Forehead Wrinkles?

These uninvited visitors seem to show up without any warning. Where do they come from? To grasp that, we have to realize there are many kinds of fine lines and wrinkles, and each has a different root cause:

  • Elastotic wrinkles: These are caused by the natural loss of elastic structure in the skin, which happens over time but is accelerated by environmental factors.
  • Gravitational folds: Ouch, gravity strikes again. When collagen levels diminish and tissues deflate, gravity causes wrinkles to form. 
  • Expression lines: These result from the muscles underneath the skin being used repeatedly in the same way, i.e. when we raise our eyebrows or smile big.
  • Compression creases: These are lines caused by squishing your face, like when sleeping against a pillow or leaning on your elbow.
  • Atrophic lines: The dreaded “number eleven.” These parallel wrinkles between your brows appear strongly upon scrunching but disappear in younger faces when the skin is taut. When they stick around, it’s due to the thinning of skin and loss of elasticity.

While there are plenty of inevitable reasons for forehead wrinkles, there are also quite a few external factors that can play a part, like:

  • Smoking: Quit while you’re ahead! Nicotine and many other chemicals found in cigarettes cause blood vessels to constrict, meaning the skin receives less oxygen and fewer vitamins. The result? Skin that matures faster than it should.
  • Drinking Alcohol: After a night of serious drinking, you may see lines from dehydration. Drink heavily for years on end, and it can actually lead to permanent, visible skin decline.
  • Dry Skin: Whether due to dehydration, the weather, or even hormones, a lack of moisture in the tissues translates to a lack of plump, bouncy skin. Say hello to sagging and fine lines.
  • UV Rays: That sun-kissed glow just might not be worth it. Studies show that UV rays are responsible for 80% of the visible signs of skin aging, forehead wrinkles included.
  • Lack of Sleep: Research shows that sleep deprivation affects our skin’s ability to bounce back after being exposed to environmental stressors like air pollution and sunlight.
  • Stress: First, there are the not-so-cute faces we make when we’re stressed that contribute to dynamic wrinkles (the result of repeated muscle movements, which form creases over time). But the scariest part? Stress raises cortisol levels in the body—and cortisol has such a profound effect on skin aging, that it even impacts our skin’s DNA

How To Get Rid Of Deep Forehead Wrinkles And Fine Lines

Okay, so it’s pretty hard to stop showing all signs of emotion, and it’s definitely impossible to stop the hands of time. Truth be told, forehead wrinkles are a pretty inevitable side effect of a life well-lived. But just because you got them doesn’t mean you have to live with them! Here are the top ways to banish those forehead wrinkles for good.

Face Acids And Exfoliation

If you’ve never heard of face acids, they might sound scary. But rest assured, face acids are a highly effective treatment for wrinkles—and they can often be used even on sensitive skin. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the skin, and when applied topically, it can moisturize tissue and have a plumping effect that minimizes the appearance of forehead wrinkles. More exfoliating acids like glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, and lactic acid work by removing dead skin cells, thereby smoothing fine lines. Then there’s retinoic acid (aka Vitamin A or Retinol), the queen of anti-aging face acids. This one requires a little getting used to, but it’s been scientifically proven to combat the signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines.

Not quite ready to dabble in the world of acids? Start with some old-school physical exfoliation with a gentle scrub up to three times a week.

Masks And Beauty Patches

Moisture is your best friend when it comes to ironing out those forehead wrinkles. Try a hydrating mask with skin-friendly ingredients, like a DIY honey or avocado mask—or step it up with a leave-on patch, one of the best products for forehead wrinkles.

The full Youth Lock System patchs is super effective at driving moisture to the skin and smoothing fine lines. Made from medical-grade silicone, it actually creates a microclimate that supports skin healing and rejuvenation. How does it work? First, the occlusive layer of the pad draws moisture up from the lower layers of the skin, hydrating tissues from the inside out. Then, the moisture rises to the outer layer of the skin, allowing it to plump and fill in lines. And as a bonus, compared to a mask that sits on top of the skin, the patch actually uses compression to flatten existing lines, while simultaneously preventing new ones from forming. Win-win.

Facial Massage

Facial massage is one of the oldest forms of anti-aging skincare, dating all the way back to the 5,000-year-old science of Ayurveda in India, and used by many cultures all over the world. Massage increases circulation, which stimulates tissue regeneration and can help to even out creases. It also encourages lymph drainage, making for a smoother, more contoured appearance. To give yourself a facial massage, start with clean, dry skin. Get your hands on high-quality face oil, and massage clean fingertips in circular motions over your forehead and brow area. Ready to get deep? Try incorporating a gua sha crystal or jade roller. 

Professional Treatments

On the less fun (but highly effective!) side of things, professional dermatological treatments like laser resurfacing and chemical peels can be game changers for those pesky lines on your forehead. And for the most stubborn ones, Botox and fillers have you covered. Botox works by blocking the signals between the nerves and muscles in the forehead, weakening their ability to contract upon moving the skin; and fillers like Restylane and Juvederm rely on hyaluronic acid to actually fill in the gaps.

3 Simple Ways To Prevent Wrinkles & Lines On Your Forehead

Genes and time are powerful influences, so in order to prevent forehead wrinkles, we have to look at the external lifestyle factors. Here are three simple things you can do each day to keep those wrinkles far, far away:

1. Stay Out Of The Sun

UV exposure is just about the worst perpetrator when it comes to skin aging, and forehead lines are often the first to make an appearance. The harmful rays are not only damaging to the skin surface, but on a deeper level, they weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself over time. And keep in mind that, although exfoliating and using peels or acids in your skincare routine can be highly beneficial forehead wrinkle treatments, they make us even more sensitive to those golden rays. So double and triple up with a hat, some sunnies, and lots of SPF.

2. Eat, Sleep, Breathe

Getting plenty of shut-eye is so important for every organ in the body, and the skin is no exception. Our cells need downtime in order to regenerate, and we wear signs of sleep deprivation right on our foreheads. Aim to get 7-9 hours a night for your best face forward. And for bonus points, try sleeping on your back, which prevents your head from smushing up against the pillow and forming creases.

It also doesn’t hurt to integrate some skin-healthy foods into your diet, like fruits and veggies high in vitamin C or wild fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which mitigate skin damage from the environment. Feeding the skin from the inside out is a great way to keep your complexion (and your body!) vibrant and youthful.

Lastly, keep stress levels under control. Meditation, yoga, and therapy are all effective ways to reduce stress, but be sure to get professional help if you’re feeling hopeless. Stress can negatively impact the entire body—and when it comes to the face, tension not only causes us to frown or clench up but can have long-term internal effects on the skin, too.

3. Move Mindfully

We communicate with every part of our face; it’s just human nature. But being mindful of what expressions we tend to make over and over again is one way to prevent forehead wrinkles from sticking. Wear sunglasses to keep from squinting, and avoid leaning your head on your arm so as not to compress the delicate skin. We also sometimes subconsciously clench our foreheads or brows when working or reading, so be aware of your facial movements when you’re in the zone. And have your eyes checked if you think poor vision could be to blame for your squinching or scrunching. 

The Takeaway

When it comes to forehead wrinkles, there are a lot of factors at play: genetics, mannerisms, lifestyle, and good ol’ Father Time. But by putting a little extra love into your skin routine and avoiding triggers like smoking, drinking, and tanning, you’ll age smoothly and seamlessly. Bring it on!

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