Forehead Wrinkles: How to Minimize and Reduce Their Appearance
There is no magic formula to reverse aging. Over the years, the regular assault of time is perhaps the most visible on your skin. In addition to being the largest organ in the body, your skin also reflects your internal well-being. In other words, the appearance of your skin is an indicator of your health and vice versa.
Time may be the main reason for skin aging, but it’s not responsible alone for adding years to your face. The skin gradually loses its elasticity and suppleness with age due to several factors, some of which are beyond your control while others can still be avoided. You may not be able to completely escape aging skin, but you can certainly delay the process and lessen its effects.
Some of the most common physical manifestations of skin aging include the surfacing of wrinkles around the eyes, fine lines around the lips, and age spots on the hands.
The most visible and stubborn pattern of wrinkles that appears on the face develops in the form of vertical or horizontal folds on the forehead. Once these forehead wrinkles have set in, it can be difficult to get rid of, and they usually last a lifetime, unless certain cosmetic procedures are performed, such as cosmetic injections and laser resurfacing.
Additionally, there are reasons to believe that deep forehead wrinkles can be more than just harmless cosmetic concern.
A research document presented in 2018 established an association between deep forehead wrinkles and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The results of the study showed that the risk of cardiovascular mortality in subjects tended to increase with their wrinkle score.
Although the exact logic behind this relationship remains to be established, researchers suggest that it may have something to do with atherosclerosis or the buildup of plaque inside your arteries.
Because the forehead blood vessels are relatively small, they can be more vulnerable to plaque buildup. Thus, the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead could in fact result from the aging of the vessels and be a sign of it. However, these results have not been confirmed and further studies are warranted to establish these results.
What are the causes of forehead wrinkles?
- Aging: Collagen is the main structural protein responsible for the firmness and suppleness of your skin. As you age, your body’s collagen synthesis naturally decreases, causing your skin to lose its elasticity. The decrease in collagen production linked to age is perhaps the main contributor to the development of fine lines and wrinkles, which become more significant and permanent over the years.
- Sun damage: Exposing your skin to the sun’s UV rays can accelerate skin aging like nothing else. The only good thing about sun-induced skin damage is that it’s something you can control, unlike time and genetics. Whether you spend a day at the beach or go shopping, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by looking for shade, covering yourself with clothing, and using a broad spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen and water resistant. You should apply sunscreen daily on all skin types that are not covered by clothing.
- Smoking: People who smoke are more likely to age prematurely due to the harmful effects of nicotine, a major component of tobacco. Nicotine narrows your blood vessels and stifles the blood supply to your skin. As a result, your skin does not receive enough oxygen and nutrients that travel through the blood, and the damage begins to manifest itself in the form of premature aging of the skin. Exposure to other chemicals in cigarette smoke only worsens the damage by directly hindering the production of collagen and elastin, the two essential building blocks of your skin. Thus, with each puff of cigarette smoke, you practically make your skin lose its inherent suppleness and youthfulness.
- Repetitive facial expressions. Permanent puckering of the forehead due to repetitive facial expressions is caused by the frequent contraction of the underlying muscles for many years. Wrinkles that develop on the skin due to repeated contractions of the underlying muscles attached to them are called dynamic wrinkles. When the muscle contracts, the overlying skin collects, forming wavy lines between the muscle mass. Repeated contraction of the same muscles strengthens this wrinkle and makes the resulting wrinkles more permanent. Forehead wrinkles often result from frowning or excessive puckering.
- Low water consumption: Insufficient water intake can leave your skin dry and dull. If your skin does not get the moisture it needs, it will become dry, tight, dull and scaly. The drier your skin, the more it is prone to wrinkles.
- A poor diet: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet helps provide your body with a wide range of skin-friendly nutrients. Your skin, like any other part of the body, needs a healthy dose of certain vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. If you do not supplement these nutritional needs with your diet, the deficiency will begin to manifest on your skin. Undernourished skin is increasingly sensitive to premature signs of aging.
- Unfavorable sleep positions: If you have spent a good part of your life sleeping on your side or on your stomach, repeated compression of your face can cause wrinkles on your chin, cheeks and forehead. These facial folds are called “sleep lines”. As your face remains partially crushed in the pillow for several hours a night, each night, the blood flow to your facial skin is restricted, resulting in weaker skin that is more prone to wrinkles. For the youngest, their skin being generally more resistant, it can instantly rebound to its normal state even after being compressed overnight. However, adults have a lower level of collagen and elastic tissue and should consider sleeping on their backs as much as possible. If you are used to sleeping on one side more than the other, the sleep lines will be largely limited to that particular side of your face.
- Stress: People who are prone to take a lot of stress, either inevitably due to their hectic lifestyles or a strength of habit, tend to age faster. The primary stress hormone, which is called cortisol, is mainly to blame, as it has been linked, among other things, to the degeneration of collagen in your skin. The higher the stress level, the higher the cortisol production in the body. Over a period of time, increased cortisol levels make your skin cells unable to naturally reconstruct elastin and collagen, as they did before. In addition, the premature appearance of wrinkles is largely attributed to unhealthy lifestyles associated with chronic stress.
Medical treatment for forehead wrinkles
- Botulinum toxin injection (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) is a cosmetic treatment strategy used to treat wrinkles caused by repetitive muscle movements. It prevents these dynamic wrinkles from becoming deeper and thus from becoming more pronounced and permanent with repeated contractions of the underlying muscles. It is commonly used to smooth wrinkles that appear on the forehead, between the eyes (glabellar region), around the corners of the eyes (crow’s feet) and in the lips.
- Injectable fillers, such as Restylane, Juvederm and Radiesse, provide a temporary solution to wrinkles. This treatment works on the facial volumization mechanism, after which the doctor may recommend skin resurfacing techniques to treat deeper wrinkles that go beyond the injectable fillers.
- Laser skin resurfacing, also known as laser spray and laser peeling, can make your wrinkles, scars and facial blemishes visibly lighter. As the name suggests, this technique brings fresh and intact layers of skin to the surface. With advances in laser technology, plastic surgeons have now acquired a new level of autonomy in laser surfacing, allowing for extreme precision, especially in sensitive areas.
- Chemical peels help speed up the skin regeneration process by increasing the cell renewal of the skin. As you lose the worn layers of facial skin at a faster rate, the visible signs of skin aging tend to subside, at least to some extent. Thus, chemical peels not only reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but they also help smooth the overall texture of the facial skin. People with a minimum degree of wrinkles can opt for over-the-counter chemical peels which are usually mild in intensity and pose no real threat. However, it is always best that you run it first through your dermatologist, just to avoid any unwanted side effects later. Deeper chemical peels, on the other hand, can only be administered by an experienced clinician or doctor because the risk involved is much higher. Deep chemical peels can even cause scarring or skin tone changes. This type of invasive treatment has a deeper effect and guarantees a longer recovery period as well as greater precautions such as little or no exposure to the sun until the skin is well healed.
- Dermabrasion involves the use of a small brush or a high speed rotating metal file to scrape away damaged epidermal layers. This erosion inadvertently triggers the growth of new skin cells. As the fresh layers of skin up, your face appears visibly smoothed. Dermabrasion is generally used to treat acne scars, large wrinkles and sun leather and uneven pigmentation. A relatively less invasive form of this technique, known as microdermabrasion, is used to treat mild to moderate photoaging. This involves the use of tiny particles that pass through a vacuum tube to gently erode aging skin and stimulate skin regeneration.
- Retinoids are synthetic derivatives of vitamin A that have emerged as a popular treatment for photo-aged skin. They can reduce discoloration of the skin, degradation of elastic tissues and fine wrinkles by improving the natural production of collagen and elastic fibers. Note that retinoids can irritate the skin and cause dryness and photosensitivity – extreme sensitivity to the sun. They are available only by prescription.
Which treatment to choose?
There are a number of cosmetic treatments to decrease the appearance of wrinkles on your forehead, but each one comes with its own set of precautions and side effects. Only a certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, or healthcare professional qualified in cosmetic facial care would be able to advise the ideal treatment option for your problem and skin type.
It is important not to make hasty decisions because you will have to live with the consequences if something goes wrong. You also need to know what to expect from each treatment option, in terms of both positive and negative results, before deciding whether to follow them or not.
To avoid disappointment later, it is important to remember that these treatment methods can only improve your condition to a certain extent. You should go down the brass tracks of the whole process by discussing it with your clinician. Staying informed will help you realistically manage your expectations.
Some points to consider when choosing a treatment option:
- Botox injections are largely ineffective against deep wrinkles caused by aging and damage caused by the sun. Combination treatments are the best.
- Skin fillers are useful to remedy the loss of volume.
- If you want to correct sagging skin, deep wrinkles and extra fat, the only appropriate option is cosmetic surgery.
- Laser facial resurfacing has been associated with changes in the skin pigment (color) and is therefore not suitable for people with dark skin.
Home remedies for forehead wrinkles
Here are some natural ways to delay or decrease the appearance of forehead wrinkles. These are less invasive and safer alternatives to standard medical therapies.
1. Keep yourself hydrated
Keeping your skin well hydrated by drinking enough fluids is perhaps the easiest way to prevent premature signs of skin aging. Low water consumption is bad for your health, but the damage is more visible on the skin. This is mainly due to the fact that the water you drink reaches all of the other organs before it enters your skin.
Our bodies lose water every day, mainly in the form of sweat and urine. It is therefore important to make a concerted effort to replace the loss of fluids daily.
If your skin does not get the moisture it needs, it will inadvertently become dry and scaly. Dry skin is more sensitive to premature aging, while well-hydrated skin is much more resistant to it.
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. It may sound simple, but works wonders for general skin care, rather than wrinkles.
2. Exercises to reduce wrinkles on the forehead
The visible signs of skin aging are not limited to lax skin and superficial light damage alone. The development of fine lines and wrinkles can also be attributed to a loss of fat and muscle volume under the overlying skin.
There are a number of facial exercises specifically designed to solve these deeper structural problems, possibly by inducing underlying muscle growth. In fact, these simple facial exercises or facial “yoga” have gained popularity with the general public to reverse facial aging.
Here is a forehead smoothing exercise that will help release the tension built up in your forehead muscles and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles:
- Make a fist with both hands and place the knuckles of the middle fingers and forefinger in the middle of your forehead.
- While applying light pressure, slide your fists to each side.
- Repeat this exercise routine 3 to 5 times a day.
3. Apply a cold compress
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery offers cold therapy as a safe, effective, non-toxic and non-invasive alternative to conventional anti-wrinkle treatments. The application of cold compresses to reduce the appearance of wrinkles has given significant clinical success with high subject satisfaction and no serious adverse events.
Treating your skin with such targeted cold therapy provides it with adequate hydration, nutrition and oxygen and leaves it well stretched and visibly smooth. In fact, cosmetic cryotherapy has often been used in procedures relating to the breast and upper or lower limbs to provide satisfactory firmness and is also used in anti-wrinkle therapy such as cryobonding.
1. Apply aloe vera gel
The fresh gel extracted from aloe vera is recognized as a certified skin balm because of its wide range of beneficial attributes. Different concentrations of this gel have been found to be useful in improving the viscous and elastic properties of the skin structure.
Aloe gel also acts as a hydrating agent, which helps restore moisture to the skin, keeping it soft and supple. Aloe vera gel with a concentration of up to 0.5 percent is safe for topical application and can help hydrate your skin without toxic side effects.
This natural skin healer owes much of its therapeutic potential to its synergistic antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and UV protective properties.
2. Try a coffee mask
A 2013 study published in Complementary and evidence-based alternative medicine has demonstrated the antioxidant activity of coffee trees (Coffea arabica), which has been shown to be mediated by powerful antioxidant polyphenols, in particular chlorogenic acid, condensed quinic acid and ferulic acid.
The results of this study showed that the topical application of the coffee extract reduced the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation and visibly improved the overall appearance of the skin.
- Take an organic egg and separate its white from its yolk.
- Transfer the egg white to a bowl and whisk.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground coffee beans to the bowl.
- Continue to whip the solution until the coffee is well mixed and foaming.
- Wash your hands and make sure your fingers and nails are perfectly clean before proceeding to applying the mask.
- With light circular movements, smooth the mixture over your freshly cleaned face.
- Let the mask sit for 20 to 30 minutes until it dries, then peel it off your skin.
3. Massage your skin with manuka oil
In an animal study conducted on mice to test the effectiveness of manuka oil in the treatment of wrinkles, it was found that the topical application of this oil suppressed the UVB-induced increase in the thickness of the skin and the classification of wrinkles in a dose-dependent manner.
Manuka oil has also been shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing UVB-induced skin inflammation.
Overall, a significant improvement in the appearance of wrinkles has been reported in terms of reduced length, depth and coverage. Topical application of 10% manuka oil had a mitigating effect on the loss of collagen fiber content and epidermal hyperplasia, which explains its effectiveness in reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
- Simply put a few drops of manuka oil on your fingers and massage it over your forehead until it is absorbed into the skin.
The following remedies, unlike those listed above, are not supported by scientific evidence or approved by our doctors.
Nevertheless, these complementary therapies have given positive results for a considerable number of general users, who speak of their effectiveness. If you intend to use these anecdotal remedies, you should do so at your own discretion.
1. Apply honey and lemon to improve the quality of your skin
Honey is reputed to be a natural humectant, which means it helps restore and seal the moisture in the top layer of your skin. This viscous skin tonic is therefore a boon for people with particularly dry skin, which is often considered as an agent precipitating premature wrinkles.
Honey works particularly well when combined with lemon. These two ingredients work together to lighten the appearance of facial wrinkles and leave you with well-hydrated, evenly toned, soft and supple skin.
- Mix equal amounts of honey and lemon juice in a bowl until they are completely mixed.
- Apply this solution on your wrinkled skin.
- Then gently massage the mixture in circular motions for 5 minutes so that it seeps deep into your skin.
- Let it dry for the next 15 minutes.
- Rinse it off with water.
- Use this method daily or at least four times a week.
You can use raw honey (preferably manuka honey) to give your whole body a deeply hydrating massage every time you shower.
- Apply a generous amount of honey to your skin from head to toe, including hair and lips.
- Let it sit on your skin for a few minutes so that it penetrates deeply.
- Finally, rinse the honey that remains on the surface of the skin when entering the shower.
Pampering your skin with honey will make it smooth, mat and hydrated.
2. Try coconut oil for its moisturizing effect
Coconut oil is one of the most readily available ingredients you can add to your anti-wrinkle arsenal. This all-natural moisturizer is easily absorbed by the skin and helps protect it from free radical damage. Many people with wrinkles or sagging skin consider coconut oil to be a safe and effective healer.
- Because coconut oil becomes solid at room temperature, you will need to melt a small amount of coconut oil in a bowl.
- Soak a cotton ball in oil and dab it on your skin, applying it evenly all over your face.
- Use clean fingers to gently massage the oil deeper into your skin for at least 5 minutes.
- Leave it overnight to give the skin enough time to absorb the oil.
- Rinse your face with water the next morning.
While these remedies are largely preventative measures to delay the onset of skin aging, they also help reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles in people who already have them. Plus, all of the ingredients used are completely non-toxic and safe, so there’s no harm in trying.
How to prevent forehead wrinkles?
Take the following preventive measures to minimize your risk of developing wrinkles on your forehead.
- Some people tend to repeat certain facial expressions, usually out of habit. This repeated contraction of the same underlying muscles for many years can worsen the folds that develop on your skin as a result. You should try to overcome such a habit as it will only leave you with permanent wrinkles and fine lines on your face. For example, if you frown without knowing it, frown, or squint too much, ask family and friends to stop you as soon as they notice you make such an expression.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to meet the nutritional needs of the skin. Eating well plays a very important role in preventing precursor skin damage which ultimately opens the way to premature skin aging. Conversely, a diet rich in sugar or refined carbohydrates can accelerate the skin aging process.
- Limit your alcohol intake as it can be very rough on the skin. It can be extremely dehydrating for the whole body and the damage is more pronounced on the skin.
- Sunscreen and moisturizer are two of the most basic elements of an effective skin care routine, and the same goes for your average anti-aging regimen. You should always use top quality sunscreen and an anti-aging moisturizer to give your skin much-needed protection, especially when you go out in the sun. Choose a broad spectrum, water resistant, unscented and non-comedogenic sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Apply it on all exposed areas of your skin at least 20 minutes before going out. Much of the skin damage responsible for premature wrinkles comes from the sun’s UV rays. Meanwhile, an anti-aging moisturizer essentially helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines.
- Wear sun protection clothing and accessories such as sunglasses or hats to protect from the sun.
- Always remove your makeup before bed. Cleansing, toning and hydration make it an infallible night care routine.
The difference between fine lines, wrinkles and furrows
The skin is the outermost and largest organ in the body, which has three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis (also called the subcutaneous).
The outermost surface or layer is called the epidermis, which contains regenerative layers of skin cells and provides a tight barrier to your body from the elements.
The layer below the epidermis, called the dermis, contains connective tissue (i.e. collagen) and other fibers that give the skin strength and elasticity, as well as hair follicles and sweat glands. The deepest layer, which falls under the dermis and is known as the subcutaneous or hypodermis, consists mainly of fat.
Wrinkles are generally classified according to their depth of penetration into these skin layers. When the damage is limited to the surface layer or the upper dermis, fine lines may appear etched in the skin. Medium wrinkles extend deeper to reach the middle dermis, while deep wrinkles extend to the deep dermis and subcutaneous.
- Alam M, Walter AJ, Geisler A et al. Association of facial exercise with the appearance of aging. JAMA dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5885810/. Published in March 2018.
- Palmer FR, Hsu M, Narurkar V, et al. Safety and effectiveness of targeted cold therapy for the treatment of hyperdynamic forehead wrinkles. Dermatological surgery: official publication of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25654195. Published in February 2015.
- Herman J, Rost-Roszkowska M, Skotnicka-Graca U. Skin care during menopause: non-invasive beauty study procedures. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907896/. Published in December 2013.
- Binic I, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, Mojsa J, Sokolovic D. Skin aging: natural weapons and strategies. Complementary and evidence-based alternative medicine: eCAM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569896/. Published in 2013.
- Binic I, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, Mojsa J, Sokolovic D. Skin aging: natural weapons and strategies. Complementary and evidence-based alternative medicine: eCAM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569896/. Published in 2013.
- Kwon OS, Jung SH, Yang BS. L’administration topique d’huile de Manuka empêche le photovieillissement cutané induit par irradiation UV-B chez la souris. Médecine complémentaire et alternative factuelle: eCAM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3677636/. Publié en 2013.