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What Are Forehead Creases (Forehead Rhytids)?

By July 31, 2020August 4th, 2022Forehead

Causes, Prevention, and Treatment 

F orehead Creases or Forehead Rhytids are very common in most people as we age; they are inevitable. Despite being that common, most people do not know how to deal with or get rid of them. They look in the mirror every morning and try to cover up them to look younger, but all the styling techniques fail usually fail to hide them.
Many reasons contribute to the development of Forehead Rhytids such as aging, exposure to the sun, hormonal changes, and chronic stress. On the other hand, there are many ways to get rid of forehead wrinkles. Following certain skincare tips and preventive measures can provide you with a smooth forehead that is free of creases. In addition, many treatments are available to give you a wrinkle-free forehead.

Figure 1 – Computer generated woman with horizontal forehead rhytids (the most common type).

Why Do Forehead Creases Affect Facial Aesthetic?

As we age, our skin starts to lose its elasticity, our muscles’ support starts to decrease, and our soft tissues start to change. Forehead creases develop because of the action of the frontalis muscle, which contracts while raising the eyebrows. The lines across our forehead increase over time, especially in people who are more expressive and use their eyebrows a lot. Most people with forehead wrinkles believe that they look unattractive and older feel stressed. In conclusion, forehead creases are an indicator of age and stress. (1)

What Causes Forehead Creases?

Many conditions contribute to the formation of forehead wrinkles. For example, some people are more stressful than others and maybe genetically predisposed to the development of wrinkles. The causes of forehead creases include

Hormonal Aging

Hormonal aging in women occurs after the menopause. The production of estrogen in postmenopausal women deteriorates dramatically, which leads to deterioration in the strength of elastin and decreases the production of collagen. Eventually, the skin loses its firmness and wrinkles worsen. (2, 3)

Genetic Aging

Aging is a natural process resulting in breaking collagen down and weakening elastin throughout life. The less and weaker collagen and elastin become, the more wrinkles you will have, including forehead wrinkles. (4)

The Sun

The sun and its Ultraviolent rays accelerate the aging process and enhance the appearance of aging signs significantly. It exposes your body to more free radicals, which cause inflammations and damages your skin, and inhibit the production of elastin and collagen. The sun is considered a main contributing factor to the appearance of forehead creases. (5, 6)


Chronic stress leads to premature wrinkles, especially forehead wrinkles if you are an expressive person. Being stressed for a long time increases the production of Cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol breaks down collagen and inhibits its production. It does not only accelerate the aging process but also prevents your body from rebuilding itself. (7)

Repetitive Facial Movements

Repetitive facial movements contribute to the development of forehead wrinkles over time. You wrinkle your forehead more than you think while frowning, thinking, and expressing your feelings. Over time, your skin finds it hard to get back in its normal place and the temporary lines become permanent. (8, 9)

How To Prevent Forehead Creases?

Aging is inevitable. However, you could have a healthy, smooth, wrinkle-free forehead for as long as possible if you followed a good skincare routine and chose a healthy lifestyle.

Sun Protection

Use a high-quality Sun Protection Factor (SPF), especially on the days that you must be exposed to the sun for a long time. SPF should be of at least 15 to be effective. (10)

Manage Stress

Reducing your stress level prevents the formation of forehead wrinkles significantly. Your cortisol levels will be reduced, which enhances collagen and elastin production. In addition, your repetitive facial movements will be reduced too. (11)

Hydration & Proper Diet

Proper diet and staying hydrated are essential for maintaining an attractive, wrinkle-free face and forehead. Antioxidant-rich diet stops free radicals’ damages. Staying hydrated also exfoliates skin and enhances the production of collagen and elastin. (12, 13)

Anti-Wrinkle Skincare Products

Forehead wrinkles do not appear suddenly; they develop over time. It is never too late to start using anti-wrinkle creams, serums, and treatments to enhance skin health and slow the aging signs down. (14)

Figure 1 – Image on the left is the forehead wrinkles due to prolonged exposure to the UV rays while the image on the right is the same forehead after anti-wrinkle treatment.

How to Treat Forehead Creases?

Forehead creases are usually treated using neurotoxins, but some practitioners nowadays prefer the use of dermal fillers and cold therapy. Combination treatments are also used for severe forehead wrinkles.

Botulinum Toxin Type A Injections (Botox Injections)

Botulinum Toxin Type A is a neurotoxin, which has been used for decades to treat horizontal forehead lines. It limits the contractions of facial muscles, especially in the upper face. This limitation is usually temporary; that is why the injections must be repeated every few months.
The injections do not need recovery time, but the injecting procedure should be done by an experienced plastic surgeon since it should be precise for the optimal results. (15)

Focused Cold Therapy

About 25% of people who have wrinkles do not like the idea of injecting toxins in their foreheads. Focused cold therapy is a non-surgical treatment that does not use toxins. It is effective and safe with nearly no serious side effects. Most doctors recommend it as the best alternative to common wrinkle treatments. It takes from 7 to 120 days to provide the person with a wrinkle-free forehead. (16)

Hyaluronic Acid Gel Fillers

Dermal fillers are another non-invasive, non-surgical alternative for the correction of facial defects such as forehead wrinkles. Forehead wrinkles are classified into dynamic and non-dynamic. Dynamic forehead creases respond well to Botox injections while non-dynamic wrinkles respond well to hyaluronic acid gel fillers. (17)

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing improves skin appearance and texture. CO2 Laser Resurfacing uses light energy to get rid of superficial skin layers. It depends on minimal heat and takes 14 to 21 days to recover. Erbium Laser Resurfacing can treat deep wrinkles, but it leaves minimal burning and leads to some side effects such as redness, hotness, swelling, and minimal bruising. It is more effective than CO2 Laser Resurfacing, but it takes a longer time to recover. In addition, Erbium Laser Resurfacing is better for people with a darker skin tone. (18)

Figure 2 – Photographs showing improvement in wrinkle severity from baseline to immediately after Focused Cold Therapy. Subject at
rest, full glabellar contraction, and full frontalis contraction.

Fillers can be a useful tool if they’re used to address the underlying issues that cause nasolabial folds, explained previously. Properly correcting this cosmetic flaw requires increasing the midface volume loss, reducing skin laxity and compensating for the stretched-out ligaments. Without correctly supporting the sagging soft tissue and replacing lost volume, the problem will only return with a vengeance in due time. A routine of only dermal fillers themselves can cause the fold to migrate to the middle which is worse for aesthetics and gives the characteristic ‘botched’ look. Applying dermal fillers to this region needs special care to avoid the facial artery which is why the application is often done with multiple smaller volumes.

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Dr Khaled Mahmoud

A medical researcher with more than 5 years of professional academic and medical writing experience. My main goal is to provide readers with evidence-based, data-driven, detail-oriented content to help them make the best choices.