How do I get rid of forehead wrinkles?

Forehead wrinkles are extremely common, I will go on to explain what forehead wrinkles are, what causes them and how it is possible to get rid of your forehead wrinkles.

Are forehead wrinkles normal?

Forehead wrinkles are a normal part of ageing and will happen to everyone to some degree. Most people will have some signs of forehead wrinkles at 25 years old.

What is the cause of forehead wrinkles?

There are two main types of skin ageing: Intrinsic ageing and extrinsic ageing.

Intrinsic ageing is also sometimes known as chronological ageing. It refers to changes in our skin which naturally occur with time (like thinning of the dermis), which cause signs of ageing and wrinkling over time, as we get older. Intrinsic ageing is a natural part of ageing and genetics play a part.(1, 2) What’s important is that you can’t control intrinsic ageing.

Extrinsic ageing is to do with external factors that cause signs of ageing and, importantly, it tends to occur due to things you can control. By far the most important cause of extrinsic ageing is sun exposure, accounting for probably 80% of the signs of facial ageing. Some people even use the term photodamage or photo ageing almost synonymously with extrinsic ageing.(1, 2)

Secondary factors – which can possibly be considered uncontrollable intrinsic factors – that may cause wrinkles include the effects of gravity pulling down on the skin, positional pressure on the face (e.g. during sleep), and the effects of the facial muscles pulling on the skin.(3)

There are two main types of forehead wrinkles, dynamic and static wrinkles. Static wrinkles are visible all the time, even when the facial muscles are relaxed, whereas dynamic wrinkles are made visible by facial muscle contractions when making facial expressions.(3)

How do you prevent forehead wrinkles?

As mentioned above wrinkles are caused by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. Intrinsic ageing is an inevitable part of growing older and cannot be prevented. However as extrinsic ageing is caused by external factors, mainly UV from the sun, it is preventable to some degree by careful UV protection. We would recommend protective clothing, including broad-rimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, vigilant use of sunscreen when being exposed to sunlight and use of shade during periods of most intense sun.

Can forehead wrinkles go away?

As we get older a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors progressively cause signs of ageing including wrinkles. A pivotal study found that collagen I formation was 56% lower in the papillary dermis in photodamaged skin compared to skin protected from the sun and was correlated to the degree of photodamage.(4) Collagen is the most important protein found in our skin offering structure and support.(1) Collagen provides tensile strength to the skin and prevents it being damaged by overstretching.(5) 

So once they are there, the only way to get rid of wrinkles all together is to either ‘freeze’ the muscle underneath the skin that moves it (and this is how neurotoxin or ‘botox’ works) or tightening the skin via a surgical procedure such as a facelift. 

How do I get rid of forehead wrinkles?

When it comes to cream treatments, there are lots of wrinkle creams and other wrinkle treatments which are available, but which ones are actually effective?

Retinoids are a group of natural and synthetic molecules that have biological actions related to vitamin A. Retinoids bind to retinoic acid receptors in the skin which in turn control “retinoid sensitive genes.” This leads to many processes including increased collagen production and decreased collagen degradation, which in turn has been shown to lead to an improvement in wrinkles.(6) Tretinoin, which is the most widely studied retinoid for its anti-ageing properties, has been shown to increase collagen in the treatment of photodamaged skin by 80% compared to a 14% reduction in collagen with vehicle use alone.(4)

It is possible to buy over the counter products containing retinol, which is converted into retinoic acid (tretinoin) in the skin. However prescription strength tretinoin is 20 times more potent. There is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of prescription strength tretinoin, compared to very little evidence for retinol containing products found on the high-street.(6)

Take our skin consultation today to find out what prescription is best for your skin. 

  1. Baumann L. Skin ageing and its treatment. The Journal of Pathology: A Journal of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 2007;211(2):241-51.
  2. Gilchrest BA. Skin aging and photoaging: an overview. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1989;21(3):610-3.
  3. El‐Domyati M, Medhat W, Abdel‐Wahab HM, Moftah NH, Nasif GA, Hosam W. Forehead wrinkles: a histological and immunohistochemical evaluation. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. 2014;13(3):188-94.
  4. Griffiths C, Russman AN, Majmudar G, Singer RS, Hamilton TA, Voorhees JJ. Restoration of collagen formation in photodamaged human skin by tretinoin (retinoic acid). New England Journal of Medicine. 1993;329(8):530-5.
  5. Calleja-Agius J, Muscat-Baron Y, Brincat MP. Skin ageing. Menopause international. 2007;13(2):60-4.
  6. Darlenski R, Surber C, Fluhr J. Topical retinoids in the management of photodamaged skin: from theory to evidence‐based practical approach. British Journal of Dermatology. 2010;163(6):1157-65.


Dr Tom King
Dr Tom King
Dr King is a dermatology specialist registrar working for an NHS trust in South Yorkshire. He is actively engaged in dermatology research and is involved in clinical trials for inflammatory skin diseases. Medical education is one of his keen interests, and he is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Medical Education (MMedSci) at the University of Nottingham.
Originally published March 25 2019, updated July 03 2019

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