Forehead Lines: Causes, Prevention, and Treatments

Written by Laura Buford, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on September 30, 2020 2 Comments

forehead lines

Forehead lines, also referred to as worry lines or simply forehead wrinkles, are the horizontal wrinkles that span your forehead above the eyebrows. Forehead lines often become more pronounced when one makes a facial expression that raises the brow. Over time, however, forehead wrinkles can become static and appear without any such facial movement.

While not harmful to one’s health, forehead lines are among the most unwanted facial aging symptoms our patients cite as a concern. While it’s impossible to fully stop the development of forehead lines, it is possible to minimize their severity by taking care of your skin health. Once forehead lines develop, there are also many great treatment options to revitalize the area.

What Causes Forehead Lines?

Dynamic wrinkles, those that appear only with certain facial expressions, are the first stage of wrinkle formation. Forehead wrinkles are typically considered to be dynamic as they result from repeatedly furrowing the brow and raising the eyebrows over the course of a lifetime. Nearly all facial expressions involve the eyebrows. This, combined with the thin skin of the forehead means forehead lines are often the first wrinkles to appear as you age.

Over time forehead lines become more static in nature. Wrinkles are made more apparent after the age of 30 as collagen and elastin decline. Collagen is the structural protein that supports your skin, while elastin gives skin its ability to reshape after being compressed or stretched. As collagen levels degrade, the appearance of forehead lines becomes near permanent even when expressionless.

forhead lines
An example of forehead lines

Can Forehead Lines be Prevented?

While it’s impossible to completely prevent forehead lines, proper skin care and nutrition can keep the skin looking youthful by maintaining higher levels of collagen and other skin healthy proteins. These tips can help minimize the severity of forehead lines:

Avoiding the sun is a must for wrinkle prevention. Exposure to UV rays hastens the aging process by damaging collagen production. If you must be outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat and use a high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB light. Go with a spray tan instead of lying in a tanning bed or out in the sun.

If you smoke, quit. Smoke and other air pollutants also damage collagen. Smoking in particular puts these pollutants quite close to your face, resulting in early onset wrinkles and other signs of premature skin aging. Environmental pollutants generate free radicals which also damage skin.

Eat a nutritious diet. Your diet matters when it comes to skin aging. Vitamin C and Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly helpful in maintaining collagen. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals. Keep these nutrients in your diet by eating plenty of healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.

Stay hydrated. Wrinkles will be more prominent if your skin is dehydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and limit alcohol, caffeine and sodium intake.

Practice facial exercises. When the musculature of the face is strong, skin is supported and sags less. Target forehead wrinkles by doing the following facial yoga exercises daily:

  • Place your palm flat against your forehead with your thumb up
  • Keep pressure between your hand and your forehead
  • Widen your eyes without lifting your eyebrows
  • Move your eyeballs only to the top left, and then to the top right 5-10 times
  • Move your eyeballs up and down 5-10 times without moving your eyebrows

Massage your forehead. Massage increases blood flow to an area which brings with it healing nutrients that can repair tissue. Make fists with both hands and press your two forefingers to the center of your forehead. Keep pressure between hands and forehead as you slowly bring your fist toward your temples in an outward, smoothing motion. Repeat 5-10 times. Do this nightly before you go to bed.

Treatment Options for Forehead Lines

For the best outcome, forehead lines should be treated as early as possible when they are still dynamic wrinkles. Early treatment can help prevent forehead lines from becoming too deep. However, even more severe (deeper) forehead lines can be corrected with the proper treatment.

The best treatment option for each patient depends upon the wrinkle severity, patient age and tolerance for downtime. We encourage everyone to discuss these popular forehead wrinkle treatments with their dermatologist:


Botox is a safe and extremely common method for eliminating forehead lines. The medication injects a toxin into the muscles of your forehead that prevents them from contracting, and thereby prevents wrinkles from appearing. Botox results typically last 3-4 months.

Dermal Fillers

There are several types of injectable dermal fillers, but each works by building lost volume to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Some fill wrinkles with a natural gel-like substance, while others work by increasing the body’s own collagen production. Dermal fillers last 6 months to years, depending on the type.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels work by deeply exfoliating the top layers of the skin. This process encourages new skin formation and an increase in collagen production. Results include a more even texture and tone, which results in less visible wrinkles. Results of a deep chemical peel can last for years with proper maintenance.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing uses heat to damage skin cells below the surface. This stimulates new collagen production as skin cells heal. Treated areas appear tighter and smoother which decreases the appearance of wrinkles. Laser skin resurfacing results last for 1 year or longer.


Microneedling works by wounding the upper layer of the skin with several tiny pin pricks. The rejuvenating skin treatment plumps and smooths the skin in the short term by causing inflammation and in the long term by stimulating collagen production. Microneedling results last 4-6 weeks.

Laura Buford, MD

Laura Buford, MD attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, where she earned a Doctor of Medicine with Special Distinction. Dr. Buford is active in various medical organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology, the Texas Medical Association, and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. Her professional interests include adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer prevention and treatment, and cosmetic dermatology.

2 Responses to “Forehead Lines: Causes, Prevention, and Treatments”

  1. Avatar Sarah says:

    Excellent post, thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Avatar Peter says:

    I agree with all your tips, especially the facial and massage exercises. Being stressed and unhappy is not suitable for our skin. Thank you for this great post!

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