Adults get more lines across their foreheads as they age because they produce less collagen and elastin, the proteins that give skin its structure and flexibility, over time. The frontalis muscles in the forehead compound this issue by creasing the skin every time men frown, raise an eyebrow, or otherwise emote. For men, forehead lines are often a bigger issue than for women because men are more muscular, which means deeper wrinkles.
So don’t think of it as looking old. Think of it as looking like you have a strong face. Most men do.
“Skin is like a sheet of paper; the more it is folded, the more and deeper lines or creases will develop,” explains plastic surgeon Dr. Inessa Fishman. “Men, much like women, develop forehead lines due to activating the underlying muscles–whether in raising the brows or frowning.”
Like all face wrinkles, genetics can make forehead wrinkles better or worse for some people. Lifestyle factors also come into play. People who are chronically stressed, smoke, fail to wear sunscreen, fail to hydrate, or are vitamin deficient are more likely to have forehead wrinkles. One study found that forehead wrinkles may be a sign of heart disease as well. But, in most cases, they’re a benign sign of aging, and occasionally, a few bad habits. Because the depth and severity of forehead wrinkles is directly correlated with how muscular frontalis muscles are, surgeon Zachary Farris explains that men who use those muscles are more likely to have wrinkles. Got an expressive face? You’re going to have a lined forehead. That’s why they call it character.
For me insecure about their forehead lines — and some are despite the inevitability of the condition — botox is the clearest answer. How does it work? By weakening muscles with botulism. Weaker muscles mean fewer, less severe forehead wrinkles. But it also likely means repeated treatments. Three months shot intervals are common practice. Dr. Fishman says she has seen an uptick in male clients over the last few years, many brought in by their wives and girlfriends. Men, it seems, are interested in erasing some lines in surface of looking both younger and less angry.
“Social media makes aesthetic treatments more regular,” Fishman says. Put differently, these concerned-looking older men are doing it for Insta.
But just because procedures are becoming more common does not mean that there is a practical solution for dads who wear the evidence of their caring around like a crown. Men concerned about wrinkling can wear more sunscreen, drink more water, and attempt to manage stress, but the wrinkles are likely to come regardless. Products with vitamin C, linolenic acid, and retinol may also help curb wrinkles. But, again, the endgame is probably going to be the same.
Unfortunately, stressing out over forehead wrinkles will only make them more severe, so dads might as well let the lines fall where they may.