Age and wrinkles

Repetitive frowning may cause some of your worry lines, but aging and loss of skin elasticity, sun exposure, and genetics may also be to blame.

Still, don’t rush to your stylist for bangs to cover up those wrinkles just yet. You may be able to reduce the appearance of forehead wrinkles with lifestyle changes and cosmetic products.

Your lifestyle has an enormous impact on your skin’s health and the development of wrinkles. Take these steps to keep your skin smooth and to help prevent premature aging:

1. Be sun savvy

Long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays contributes to premature aging and wrinkles. According to research, daily use of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen slows skin aging and reduces the risk of dark spots and wrinkles.

2. Manage stress

Worrying leads to wrinkling your brow, which leads to forehead wrinkles. It’s hard to get rid of all stress, but it’s important to keep it under control. To help manage stress, try:

  • meditating
  • practicing yoga
  • diaphragmatic breathing
  • aromatherapy
  • eating a healthy diet
  • getting enough sleep
  • talking to a therapist
  • journaling
  • exercising daily

Read more: 10 simple ways to relieve stress »

3. Stay hydrated

Dry skin makes wrinkles appear more prominent. Well-hydrated skin helps diminish the look of forehead wrinkles. It’s important to hydrate from the inside out, though. To stay well-hydrated, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. When you exercise, or spend time in the sun, you’ll need to drink more.

You can change up the flavor of your water by adding lemon or using a fruit infuser.

4. Eat a balanced diet

When it comes to wrinkles, the saying “you are what you eat” is true. According to 2007 research, diet plays a significant role in skin aging. Researchers found that higher intakes of vitamin C and linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) reduced the risk of dry skin in American middle-aged women. Vitamin C was also linked to a lower risk of looking “wrinkled.” A diet high in fat and carbs increased the risk of wrinkles and skin atrophy.

Keep reading: Tips for a balanced diet »

5. Stop smoking

If an increased risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease aren’t enough to make you stop smoking, maybe the thought of premature aging and wrinkles is.

Smoking is a main cause of premature aging and wrinkles. According to 2008 research, the chemicals in tobacco smoke reduce collagen production and damage the skin’s elasticity, which leads to premature aging and wrinkles.

Many cosmetic brands claim to have the magic bullet for getting rid of wrinkles — and many are useless. Some beauty products, however, may actually help. These include:

1. Products with retinol

Retinol is a milder form of the prescription vitamin A byproduct known as tretinoin. Tretinoin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat acne and wrinkles. Retinol improves skin cell turnover and supports collagen production. Retinol doesn’t hold up well in sunlight, though. For best results, use products containing retinol at night.

2. Exfoliating products with glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid used to exfoliate the skin to reveal healthier, younger-looking skin. Glycolic acid is the main ingredient in many chemical peels. It’s also in some leave-on, over-the-counter exfoliants. Glycolic acid may cause sun sensitivity, so be sure to wear sunscreen after using glycolic acid products.

3. Primer

Just as paint primer prepares a surface for paint, face primer prepares your skin for foundation. Primer won’t get rid of forehead wrinkles, but it’s an inexpensive way to make them less noticeable. Primer comes in powder, gel, or cream forms. It “smooths” wrinkled skin and helps foundation stay put throughout the day.

4. Botox

If needles don’t scare you, you may want to consider Botox injections to fight forehead wrinkles. Botox is a medication made from the botulinum toxin. When injected into specific muscles, it temporarily paralyzes them so they can’t contract. In other words, when you frown, your forehead won’t naturally wrinkle. Botox injections aren’t for everyone, though. They carry a price tag, and Botox may cause uncommon side effects such as:

  • pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site
  • headache
  • flu-like symptoms
  • dry eye

The ongoing battle against aging is unlikely to end anytime soon. Even so, there’s not much scientific research on products that minimize forehead wrinkles. Most evidence is based on individual accounts, so they may not be reliable.

It may be hard to get rid of forehead wrinkles entirely, but there are steps you can take that may make them less noticeable. The best way to slow aging and prevent wrinkles is to live a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, avoiding prolonged sun exposure, exercising regularly, and managing stress are the most effective ways to keep your skin and the rest of your body healthy.