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What Is Forehead Reduction or Hairline Lowering Surgery?

Leonardo da Vinci described the “ideal facial dimensions” by dividing it into equal thirds, the upper third being the distance from the hairline down to the eyebrows — the forehead. For some men and women, the forehead length may be longer. Forehead reduction or hairline lowering is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to balance the facial features by reducing the height of the forehead. The goal is to decrease distance between the hairline and eyebrows to improve overall facial harmony.

womans face split into thirds

Minimal Scarring

Dr. Lee uses an innovative “Irregular Trichophytic Hairline Incision” during the Hairline Lowering procedure— a small zigzag incision along the natural hairline that lies just behind the baby hairs. The scalp is then moved forward and secured into its new lower position and the excess forehead skin is excised. In most cases, the resulting small scar will be imperceptible! The success of forehead reduction depends mostly on scalp mobility, but in some cases, a tissue expander may be used to stretch the scalp prior to lowering the hairline.

The eyebrows are just as important to the overall facial balance and forehead dimensions! They can often appear low due to genetic factors or the natural aging process, but the eyebrows can also be elevated using the same incision made to lower the hairline. Thus a brow lift and forehead contouring are commonly performed at the same time as a forehead reduction surgery.

What causes a long forehead?

As we age, our foreheads naturally elongate. In other cases, a longer forehead can be genetic or a previous brow lift procedure can cause it. Regardless of the cause, a vast majority of these concerns are treatable if the patient desires it!

womans forehead

Who is a good candidate for Forehead Reduction and Hairline Lowering?

Our Beverly Hills Forehead reduction is recommended for men and women with a high hairline or an excessively large forehead. The procedure is also commonly performed to feminize the face. Good candidates for hairline lowering and forehead reduction are:

  • Those in good physical and mental health
  • NOT actively experiencing hair loss
  • No personal or familial history of hair loss
  • No previous history of a ‘coronal brow lift’
  • Patients with good scalp laxity and thick hair
  • Those who can quit smoking 4 weeks prior to surgery

Patients generally in good health and with reasonable expectations for the procedure will make especially good candidates for hairline lowering surgeries.

Why Do People Get Forehead Reduction or Hairline Lowering Surgery?

Forehead reduction or hairline lowering surgery can correct a large forehead or high hairline while preserving the natural flow of your hair, making this procedure ideal for patients who are finding it hard to conceal a large forehead with creative hairstyles. For those seeking better gender alignment, hairline lowering can make the face appear softer and more oval in shape.

blonde woman smiling

How Forehead Size and Shape Affects Facial Features

Typically, the most aesthetically-pleasing forehead size is about one-third of the face. When one has a high hairline, the forehead will then make up a disproportionate amount of the face. For women, this lack of balance of the facial features can create an undesirable, more masculine appearance. They also commonly find it more difficult to try out new hairstyles. While a high hairline in women is usually an inherited characteristic, it can also be the result of a previous cosmetic surgery. Both can be corrected at PERK plastic surgery!

Men with high hairlines usually inherit them as well, but they may also be the result of male pattern baldness. Those with high hairlines AND hair loss are, unfortunately, not ideal candidates. When the hairline continues to recede, the incision would become visible. Rather than hairline lowering surgery, we recommend hair replacement surgery for these individuals!

What is Recovery from Hairline Lowering like?

Very little post-surgical pain is associated with forehead lowering. In most cases, the surgery itself takes one to two hours, and recovery time will be 7-10 days. The most common side effect will be swelling, and patients typically return to normal activity within one week, avoiding any strenuous activities or heavy lifting for six weeks. After the surgery, swelling and inflammation will occur at the site of the surgery. Pain medications and ice packs can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Temporary numbness may also occur around the incision but this will resolve. Not smoking or drinking before surgery and during the healing process will speed recovery! Of course, recovery is lengthened when a forehead reduction is performed in combination with another procedure such as a brow lift.

Forehead Reduction Consultation Beverly Hills

The best way to find out if you are a candidate for hairline lowering, forehead reduction or a brow lift, is by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Michelle Lee. During the private consultation, Dr. Lee will review your health history and go over your aesthetic goals with you in detail. She will also perform a physical examination of your scalp and hairline. We encourage you to ask any questions you have about preparing for, undergoing, or healing from the procedure at this time!

If you are interested in learning more about Hairline Lowering or Forehead Reduction, contact the Beverly Hills office of Dr. Michelle Lee at (310) 881-8703 to schedule your personalized consultation and find out if this procedure is right for you!

Hairline Lowering and Forehead ReductionFAQ's

Is Hairline Lowering Permanent?

The results of a hairline lowering procedure are permanent. As a part of the normal aging process, some will eventually experience slight thinning of the hair immediately behind the hairline.

When can I wear my hair combed back and not attract attention?

The hairline sutures will dissolve within one week of surgery, however the hairline will be red for at least six weeks as hair grows through the incision. A small amount of makeup will hide this temporary change in color. The longer it is left uninterrupted the better, as more hair will grow through the incision to present an even better result.

Will I need hair transplants after hairline lowering?

With the procedure we use, hair transplants are rarely if ever needed.

What if my scalp lacks laxity?

Good scalp laxity (stretchiness) is important for this type of procedure, however those who lack sufficient enough laxity can be treated with a tissue expansion device and still achieve desired results.

Does a tight scalp compromise the results of the forehead reduction/hairline lowering procedure?

For patients with a tight scalp, a scalp expander is placed under the hair-bearing tissue of the frontal scalp. An expander is a deflated silicone balloon, which is slowly injected with saline over 6 to 8 weeks to stretch the overlying tissue. This will allow the hairline to be lowered to the desired location. The entire expander is placed under the scalp and will not be visible, even while healing. This incision, which ultimately will be removed when the hairline is lowered, is hidden with the hair the patient usually styles.

Why chose PERK for Hairline Lowering and Forehead Reduction Surgery in Beverly Hills?

Dr. Lee has extensive interest and experience in facial aesthetics and her research on surgical technique and efficacy in forehead rejuvenation has been published in the leading plastic surgery journal.

Why choose Dr. Lee for this procedure?

Dr. Lee has extensive interest in facial aesthetics. Her research in facial aesthetics has been published in the number 1 plastic surgery journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. In the article “A Reappraisal of Surgical Techniques and Efficacy in Forehead Rejuvenation”, Dr. Lee discusses comprehensively forehead rejuvenation technics including hairline lowering.

Endoscopic Correction of Frontal Bossing (PDF) Forehead Rejuvenation (PDF)

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