Remember when your mother said, “make a face and it will freeze like that.” As it turns out she was right, sort of. Repetitive frowning, squinting, and furrowing of the brow cause the muscles in the forehead, particularly the corrugator muscles, to lose their elastic bounce-back quality, which results in deeply set wrinkles, the dreaded number 11’s.
The furrowed brow can be reversed or helped to relax with exercise, diligence and patience. Very different than injecting Botulinum toxin into the site in order to paralyze the muscle, we’re going to be using the muscle in a more conscious way. A recent study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology by Dr. David S. Becker, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, shows when the muscle is paralyzed in this way, the surrounding muscles will pitch in and take over some of the work. New lines and wrinkles can form from the repetitive use of these secondary muscles.
Because this is a muscle control issue, we’ll need to locate the muscle so we can begin to give it a workout. First of all, you’ll need to do some investigation into how your forehead got to this point. Do you have a habit of squinting? If so, maybe you need to wear better glasses or sunglasses. Do you draw your brows into a quizzical face in order to show people that you are being attentive? If so, try to catch yourself creating that face and choose another expression or bodily action to show your interest. By now, you get the idea. Find out what you do repetitively in the brow area and become more aware of it.
The exercises are pretty simple. Begin by smoothing the brow from the center to the temples by making long, slow strokes with your 4 fingers held together. Focus on separating the number 11 wrinkle. This will help to relax the area. If you’d like, you can use a few drops of lavender essential oil on your hands to further the effect.
It’s time to step in front of a mirror and place a curled index finger over each of the lines and right against your eyebrow. You will now make a frown in order to feel the grip of the muscle against your finger. Then stop the frown and feel the muscle as it relaxes. This is the most important part of the exercise. The muscle has to become strong and resilient enough to bounce back to its original position. If you have frown lines, it probably has lost some resiliency. Don’t worry. Keep practicing.
With your fingers in the same curled position, slowly tense and release the muscle ten times. See if you can feel the release of the muscle as strongly as you feel the tensing. Draw the brows in together and draw them apart. You can use your fingers to help pull the brows apart at first, then try to let the muscle perform the task on its own. Pause and repeat this set 2 more times, for a total of 30 pulses. Then tense the muscle as slowly as possible drawing the brows together and just as slowly draw them apart. This will be a little more difficult than the first part of the exercise. Keep trying. It’s worth it.
Experiment with one side, with just one finger against the brow. Then switch to the other side. If one of your creases is deeper than the other, you will probably notice a significant difference in the perceived strength of the muscles. This can be done any time that you have one hand free – remember to practice the exercise often throughout the day. You are retraining your muscles. Repetition got you into this and repetition will get you out of it as well.
Here is another nice way to relax the brow. Get a round or egg shape polished stone about the size of a ping pong ball or use the rounded end of a quartz massage wand. Massage the area between the brows slowly with this cool stone (E) or piece of quartz. You can use any gem or stone, as long as it is smooth and polished. The heaviness of the stone helps to iron out the wrinkle and the coolness can be very relaxing. Refrigerate it beforehand for even more cooling effect.
Now you can finish up by putting a good quality anti-wrinkle serum into the newly relaxed creases for even more wrinkle reduction.