If you’re like us, you probably didn’t think much about your forehead before you turned 40. And then one day, you caught a glimpse in the mirror and noticed that your brow was suddenly staying furrowed long after you’ve relaxed it. And unfortunately, unlike the finer lines we’ see’ve seen pop up near our eyes or around our mouths, these thicker, deeper, angrier lines seem to be screaming “Hey! I’m old!” Hence the question we suspect many of you may be searching on Google post 40’s: how to get rid of forehead wrinkles.
What you’ll discover? Forehead wrinkles are an inevitability of aging — but wanting to keep the zone above your eyes looking as smooth, healthy and youthful as possible for as long as possible, is a natural response. And luckily there are many ways that go about it that don’t involve a needle or breaking the bank. Here, the best derm-approved creams, serums, products and strategies that can help you get rid of forehead wrinkles and prevent new ones from popping up so you can stay line-free longer at an affordable price point — some are even free!
What exactly causes the skin on the forehead to wrinkle?
“Forehead wrinkles develop for two reasons: one, as a result of the loss of collagen and elastin as we age, and two, repeated muscle movement over time,” explains Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at the Shafer Clinic, NYC.
As far as Dr. Engelman’s first point goes, collagen and elastin are proteins that provide structure to the skin and allow it to move and return to its baseline state, and they both naturally decrease with age. As for the second point, Dr. Rebecca Marcus, MD, board-certified dermatologist who practices medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology and is the founder of Maei MD explains, “When muscles contract, the overlying skin creases. Repeated contrition and creasing over time eventually causes static lines to form in the skin.”
How to get rid of forehead wrinkles topically
Here, 5 affordable ways to smooth the pesky lines from the comfort of your own home. Discover the one that best suits your needs:
1. Reach for a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid
When you’re looking to plump your lines to make wrinkles soften, hyaluronic acid is a must. Dr. Engelman calls it “a powerful humectant, which can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water.” In other words, it draws moisture into your skin, making it swell slightly as it hydrates.
Try: Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide 24 Gel Face Moisturizer (Buy from Amazon, $34.99). This face gel moisturizer provides supercharged hydration without a sticky, tacky feel. Bonus: It’s great for sensitive skin since its fragrance-free
2. Try an overnight patch
If you’ve been on social media recently, you may have seen folks touting the effects of wrinkle patches or facial tape, meaning adhesive strips that hold your wrinkles immobile while you sleep. They may seem too good to be true, but Dr. Engelman insists they do reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The caveat here is that the effects aren’t permanent and will likely fade by the time you go to bed; But, you can simply sleep in them again the next night.
Dr. Engelman’s pick: SiO Beauty Brow Lift Face Patches (Buy from Amazon, $29.99), which, she says “are made of medical-grade silicone, making them suitable for all skin types.” They’re also reusable, so you get a lot of bang for your buck!
3. How to get rid of forehead wrinkles: With a vitamin C serum
Vitamin C has been proven to be an anti-aging, photoprotective wonder for aging skin. The trick is finding one that truly works. Dr. Marcus explains, “In order for Vitamin C to be active in the skin, it must be able to penetrate the epidermis and must be stable enough to retain its function — and Vitamin C is a notoriously unstable molecule.” So she says you want to go for one that is either stabilized with other ingredients or contains a form of vitamin C called 3-0 ethyl ascorbic acid, which is inherently more stable. One hint that it’s no longer active: If the color of your cream changes, it’s oxidized and the vitamin C is likely no longer active.
Try: Sephora Collection Super Glow Serum with Vitamin C+E (Buy from Sephora, $20) This product contains the stabilized form of vitamin C, so using it won’t require any bells and whistles to keep it active in the formula. Plus, it won’t just firm up wrinkly skin, the vitamin will help leave your skin radiant and even toned.
4. Try a retinoid cream
There’s a reason vitamin A derivatives, called retinoids, get name-checked in every anti-aging regime: ”They are among the most powerful topical anti-aging ingredients,” insists Dr. Engelman. “Retinoic acid (the active substance that retinoids are converted into in the body) is an extremely effective cell-communicator that signals cells within the skin to behave as if they are younger and healthier. The skincare benefits include increasing cell turnover, stimulating collagen production and fortifying the barrier, all of which contribute to a more youthful appearance.”
Retinoids can be a bit harsh at first, so if you’re just starting out with a OTC retinol, the key is to begin slowly. Try it once or twice per week in the beginning and work your way up to a more frequent application as your skin adjusts to it.
Try: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Face Moisturizer Cream with Hyaluronic Acid (Buy from Neutrogena, $27.99) Dermatologists love this option because it not only had retinol, but it’s also made with super-hydrator, hyaluronic acid which helps counteract the retinol’s drying effects.
4. How to get rid of forehead wrinkles topically: With a peptide serum
One secret ingredient to firmer skin: Peptides. Dr. Marcus explains, “These are strings of amino acids that act as building blocks for collagen and elastin in the skin. They have the ability to send a signal to the body to activate a healing-type response in the area.” That means that when you apply them to the skin, they can signal your body to produce more collagen and elastin in that area.
Try: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum (Buy from Sephora, $17.50). Not only is it chock full of peptides, but dermatologists love this serum because it works well with normal, dry, combination and oily skin — and it will reduce the appearance of crow’s feet too!
5. Try an EGF-infused formula
Another acronym to add to your skincare lexicon: EGF, which stands for epidermal growth factor, and research hints that it could be good for everything from wound healing to acne to skin aging. Dr. Engelman says, “It’s a powerful ingredient for anti-aging, as it signals cells to produce more collagen and aids in strengthening the skin barrier.”
THE SPLURGE: Glo Skin Beauty Bio-Renew EGF Cream (Buy from DermStore, $175) is Dr. Engleman’s pick for forehead wrinkles since it’s not only packed with EGF but vegan EGF, bio-recovery peptides and a phyto-retinol blend — all potent ingredients to smooth those thick lines.
THE DUPE: The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum (Buy from Amazon, $14.99). You can get similar results for much less with this vitamin C and EGF combination formula which will firm and brighten dull, wrinkled skin.
6. How to get rid of forehead wrinkles topically: With a relaxer
Dr. Marcus says the closest thing he’s seen to Botox in a bottle is in Revision Skincare Revox™ Line Relaxer (Buy from Amazon, $154), which was formulated to work along with injectables but also shows effects on its own thanks to its special patent-pending LineRelax Technology made of five peptides and gamma-aminobutyric acid that reduces the appearance of expression lines. She says, “It acts within about 15 minutes by sending signals to the muscles to relax and decrease movement.” The effects wear off by the end of the day, so it’s not a long-term solution. It’s also a pricier option, but since it also doesn’t require a trip to the doctor and is far less expensive than neurotoxin injections (about $300 per session), it may feel like a steal to some.
4 ways to get rid of forehead wrinkles with lifestyle changes
Keep reading for changes you can make in your daily routine to smooth forehead wrinkles.
1. Add an hour to your beauty sleep
“Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for the skin’s overall appearance because our skin repairs damage and rebalances moisture levels during sleep,” says Dr. Engelman. “If our bodies do not access deeper levels of sleep, daily damage to our skin and cells does not get repaired, and this damage can accumulate, eventually causing or exacerbating fine lines and wrinkles.” She insists that she’s seen these effects in her patients almost instantly! “Even after just one or two nights of poor sleep, the effects can be seen in the skin as puffiness, dark circles and deeper wrinkles.” Simply sleeping an hour or more a night can help make the difference.
2. Dial down stress
Unfortunately, stress not only impacts our well being, it can also affect our skin. Explains Dr. Engelman, “When we are stressed, our bodies release hormones, primarily cortisol, that can actually break down collagen and elastin, causing accelerated aging.” What’s more, she says stress can also inhibit the skin’s natural reparative processes. Plus, she says, “Indirectly, stress often interferes with healthy lifestyle habits and choices like sleep and diet, which also impact the health and appearance of the skin.” Need help getting yours under control? Check out our guide to keeping stress in check.
3. Take a look at sugar
Could quelling your sweet tooth lead to a smoother forehead? Perhaps. According to Dr. Marcus, “A diet high in sugar and refined carbs can cause inflammation, as well as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) to form in the skin.” That matters because AGEs can damage collagen. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut out all sugar — simply cutting down may have a positive impact. One way to do it with ease? Try sugar substitute allulose. (Click through to discover how allulose can also spur weight loss.)
4. Reach for sun protection
Yes, it’s true, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year is vital for holding off signs of aging. “One of the causes of fine lines and wrinkles is damage from free radicals, which our skin is exposed to daily from environmental aggressors like UV rays and pollution, “ says Dr. Engelman. “Free radicals are unstable ‘scavenger’ molecules which steal electrons from stable molecules, causing damage in the skin.” Sunscreen acts as a shield that helps block these effects.
Another thing to have in your sun-blocking tool kit: Sunglasses. “They are helpful simply because we don’t squint as much when wearing them!” explains Dr. Marcus. Tip: Look for lens with UV protection to up the benefits.
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