There is more than two dozen individual muscles on either side of your face, but you won’t find any equipment in your gym to help you strengthen or tone them. If you’ve been diligent in exercising your body, can you do the same for your facial muscles?
Many experts say it’s totally possible, as long as you stick to a consistent practice of facial yoga.
And while many pricey spas and salons offer “facial gym” type services, you can do facial yoga at home, for free. Here’s what the experts are saying.
Does science back it up?
“Many people have tension on their face, and facial yoga can help ease that tension,” physical therapist Sandra Gail Frayna says HuffPost. “Face-focused yoga exercises can help you achieve a more sculpted, leaner look by allowing muscles to relax and look younger,” she says.
There is scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of facial toning exercises, also known as facial yoga. For five months Northwest Medicine Study, a daily or alternating 30-minute facial exercise program improved the facial appearance of middle-aged women, making them look younger, with fuller upper and lower cheeks. Evaluators observed a nearly three-year decrease in the appearance of age over the five-month study.
“There is evidence that facial exercises can improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” said lead author Dr. Murad Alam, vice president and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School. of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine dermatologist, when the study was released. “Exercises enlarge and strengthen the muscles of the face, so the face becomes firmer and more toned and has the shape of a younger face.”
Stronger facial muscles can do wonders for sagging and aging fat pads. “If the facial muscles get bigger, the skin has more padding underneath and the firmer muscles seem to make the face shape look fuller,” said study lead author Emily Poon, a research professor dermatology assistant to Feinberg when the study was published. “It increases facial volume and counteracts the effects of age-related fat thinning and sagging skin.”
How Facial Yoga Works
The facial exercises used at Northwestern were developed and provided by Gary Sikorski of happy face yoga, co-author of the study. A certified facial toning yoga instructor, he told HuffPost, “These exercises are a natural alternative to plastic surgery. Isometric and resistance work is like using weights to train the body for strength.
Sikorski suggested facial yoga can help increase blood circulation and said improvements are often seen in just two to three weeks. “The skin will become more elastic and softer to the touch,” he said. A consistent program can also “widen the eyes, lift the cheeks, lift the corners of the mouth, and firm the jawline.” And, as muscles are toned and lifted, skin will be tightened and smoothed, helping to smooth out fine lines.
Research participants did a series of 32 exercises, holding each for about a minute. Here are some good starting points for your practice:
Cheek enhancer: Open your mouth and form an O, position your upper lip over your teeth, smile to lift the cheek muscles, place your fingers lightly on the upper part of the cheek, release the cheek muscles to lower them and come back up. Repeat by lowering and lifting the cheeks.
Sculpture of happy cheeks: Smile without showing teeth, purse lips, smile, forcing cheek muscles up, place fingers on corners of mouth and slide to top of cheeks, hold for 20 seconds.
lion pose: Dermatologist Jeanette Graf recommended this pose to HuffPost. First, sit in a comfortable position. Bend your arms forward, hands stretched out on the floor. Take a deep breath and, on an exhale, open your mouth and make a loud “haaa” sound, like a lion’s roar. Exhale completely pointing your tongue towards your chin. “Over time, you’ll notice benefits in the smoothness of your breath, your throat chakra, your neck, your eyes, and your skin,” she said.
Take it slow – and be consistent
The good news is that you don’t need to sweat to put yourself through these exercises, which could easily be done on routine Zoom calls (camera off, of course). Elsa Jungman, who has a doctorate. in skin pharmacology and began her career working in research and development for L’Oréal in Paris, takes a relaxed and holistic approach to facial toning.
“The #1 reason for skin issues is mental health issues,” she told HuffPost. “Research shows that when you’re stressed, you produce cortisol, which affects the skin. Doing facial yoga exercises can help so much. But Jungman views the practice less as strenuous exercise and more as gentle self-care. “It’s more of a chance to reconnect with your skin and help it relax. In France, where I come from, people are not so intense. We recommend only a few minutes of exercise per day. On her site, she offers short exercise videos like ear pinching, Puffed raspberries and Victory of the eyes. There is even a Serum Ceremonywhich consists in applying the products in a more conscious way.
Like any other health-related activity, it will only work if you keep going. “The only downside is that you have to do facial exercises consistently – 20 to 30 minutes a day, six to seven days a week,” the dermatologist said. Shilpi Khetarpal, associate professor of dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic, told HuffPost. “And it takes at least three to four weeks before you start noticing results.”