You’ve just perfected your hair and makeup as you prepare to embark on an afternoon of sunshine and rosé, and before scooting out the door, you decide to stop for a quick, window-lit selfie. Facing the camera, that gorgeous smile on your face turns into a scrunched, frustrated pout as you make out a collection of horizontal wrinkles across your forehead. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” you think to yourself, mid-pose.
While there are obviously worse things in the world than forehead wrinkles, they aren’t exactly the most pleasant thing to deal with. And you have every right to want to prevent or reduce the appearance of them. It just so happens that you’re lucky enough to be living in a time when an easy correction is totally possible.
First, when and why do forehead wrinkles form?
Wrinkles that appear on the forehead are considered “dynamic” wrinkles, which means they’re formed by repeated muscle contractions, explains Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, the medical director of New York’s Mudgil Dermatology. This muscle is referred to medically as the frontalis, which is responsible for lifting your eyebrows.
“The more you move your forehead muscles, the more wrinkles you'll form,” he says. “Sun damage and exposure to environmental toxins, like cigarette smoke, could accelerate this process.”
Not to be the bearer of unfortunate wrinkle news, but forehead lines are something that everyone will deal with at some point. Consider them a small cost of living, smiling, laughing, furrowing your brow while reading a good book, lifting your eyes out of delight — of simply existing. Some do get these lines later in life due to a lucky genetic draw or by taking necessary precautions (more on that soon), while others are more prone to developing them earlier.
“People with heavy eyebrows often get deep lines on their forehead due to the exertion of this muscle,” notes Suzanne Friedler, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Whether you have mild or deep forehead lines is usually genetically determined. However, spending lots of time in the sun or smoking will contribute to these lines deepening.”
As a general rule, forehead wrinkles can appear at any age, including as early as your late teens or early twenties — specifically in the case of those who forego SPF regularly — or as late as your forties or fifties.
Preventing forehead wrinkles
Genetics aside, there are some important ways you can delay forehead wrinkles, notes Jennifer Ahdout, MD, the director of dermatology at Beverly Hills’ Roxbury Institute.
Those include using sunscreen like your skin depends on it (because it does), getting your beauty sleep, proper hydration, nutrition, and maintaining a consistent skincare regimen that supports collagen and elastin production. Also, skip the cigarettes!
Once you’ve seen some moderate or severe wrinkles start to form however, Ahdout recommends injectable wrinkle reducers, a prescription treatment which works to temporarily reduce the activity in certain areas of the face, including your forehead. Because the muscle isn’t able to repeatedly contract, your wrinkles appear smoothed out. Depending on your location, dermatologist, and specific needs, you can expect to pay between $400 and $600 per visit with each treatment, which can’t be done more often than every three months (cost of treatment is subject to change). Also remember, as with all prescription treatments, there are risks (or side effects) associated with these products, so make sure to talk to your doctor and ask questions.
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To really combat existing wrinkles, Friedler recommends also considering in-office resurfacing treatments, including laser, microneedling, microdermabrasion, and peels. All of these may help to further soften deep lines. Thinking about a consultation? Chat with a trained aesthetic specialist to find providers near you!
Other Things to Try
Friedler also recommends utilizing creams, serums, and oils that are formulated with antioxidants, peptides, retinol, and hyaluronic acid as part of a maintenance routine. These over-the-counter products can be an effective part of your regimen.
While we’re at it, don’t forget the sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses either! Especially if you’re planning to spend a day in the sun sipping that rosé!