Forehead Wrinkles

Nicknamed “frown lines” or “the elevens” because of their resemblance to that number

There are two types of forehead wrinkles. Most common are “forehead rows,” the lines that run horizontally across the entire forehead. But many people also develop deep vertical wrinkles between the eyebrows. These are nicknamed “frown lines,” or sometimes “the elevens” because of their resemblance to that number. Technically, however, they’re called glabellar lines.

Unfortunately, both types of forehead wrinkles can make you look always angry or unhappy.

What Causes Glabellar Lines?

Forehead wrinkles form as your skin loses collagen and elastin. This is a natural result of aging, but the wrinkling can be accelerated by several factors. Too much exposure to the sun is a leading culprit, although genetics is also involved. If you have a lot of forehead wrinkles, you simply may have inherited a tendency toward them from your parents.

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Your normal facial movements can also exacerbate the appearance of forehead wrinkles. If you’re a very animated person and raise your eyebrows and forehead a lot when talking, you will appear to have deeper-than-normal forehead rows. And frequent squinting can deepen the appearance of glabellar lines—a good reason to get in the habit of wearing sunglasses outdoors on bright days.

What Treatments are Available?

Surgery-a brow and temple lift-can permanently rejuvenate the forehead. Today, this surgery is usually done with small incisions hidden in the hairline.

But there are other, less invasive treatments available to lessen the appearance of forehead lines. Botox injections immobilize the muscles that cause these wrinkles, thus smoothing them out. The effect is only temporary; you’ll need maintenance treatments every three to four months. Some people find, however, that the injections actually encourage the muscles to become less animated over time, leading eventually to fewer treatments and/or smaller doses. Another product for forehead wrinkles, Dysport, is expected to receive the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for use in the United States in 2009. Dysport works similarly to Botox, but early reports suggest that it may last two to three times longer.

The vertical glabellar lines on the forehead can also be treated with various dermal fillers. The fillers fill in the spaces under the wrinkles, thus giving the skin a smoother appearance. Depending on the filler used, this treatment can last from 4 to 9 months, or sometimes even longer. Side effects are usually very minor—just some mild redness and/or bruising for a few days. Your doctor can help you choose the dermal filler right for you and your skin.

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