Facial exercise, also known as face yoga or facial gymnastics, isn’t a new concept, but do facial exercises really work? Almost 200 years ago, Dr Reinhold Berze noticed a substantial aging difference between the body and the face of a 40-year-old ballerina. Eva Fraser is one of the world’s most famous figures in face exercise and wrote a book on how to do it. But before I get ahead of myself, does it work?
As a general rule, facial exercises work by strengthening the muscles in your face and neck. This gives the muscles a defined tone and helps increase fullness and elasticity in your skin to reduce aging effects like wrinkling. Regular facial exercises can give you a more defined jawline and reduce a double chin.
Having said that, if you’re looking to slim down your face, I don’t think these exercises alone will yield any noticeable results. Your body consumes fat in the most efficient way possible and targeting your face for energy is the last thing it’s going to do.
With that out of the way, there are plenty of other benefits to talk about. By building and toning your facial muscles, your skin will appear smoother. Like how a beach ball smooths out when inflated. Over time, your face will get a natural lift and counteract sagging skin. The blood flow will increase in your face which leads to other health benefits.
The great thing about exercising your face is that you can do it while performing other activities. As long as you’re not interacting with anyone. While you work on your computer, walk the dog, or even while you’re watching TV.
I don’t think I’d have a right to talk about facial exercise without trying it for a few months. So that’s what I’ve done and I’ll share my experience with you.
Before and after photos are useless… Photoshop, so hear me out and try it yourself if you’re interested. You’ll be able to feel results within days, but to see results you’ll have to give it a few weeks.
Facial exercises work by strengthening and toning the muscles in your face so that they fill up the surrounding skin better. With increased muscle mass, you’ll have more well-defined features, especially in the jawline and cheeks. Facial exercise stimulates the skin and makes it healthier as well.
As we age, our muscle mass reduces, which leads to sagging skin. With stronger face muscles, your smile will be bigger, and your face will be fuller.
Face exercise increases skin elasticity because of the increased blood flow. Massaging your face during the routine will promote the production of collagen in your skin to increase skin elasticity even more.
Your face will have increased blood flow because you’re forcing your muscles to work harder than they normally do. This helps your skin heal faster and reduces the signs of aging like sagging and wrinkling skin.
Facial exercise decreases stress and improves skin tone because some exercises involve massaging the muscles. Massaging has loads of health benefits, even if you’re only massaging your face. It reduces anxiety, depression and improves recovery in damaged tissue. Massaging is especially useful for the face because it helps you to move muscles you wouldn’t normally be able to, like the ones in your forehead.
You probably know the feeling of waking up tired and rubbing your hands over your face to wake up. It’s a natural urge to stimulate the muscles in your face by moving them around. When you wake up, sit up straight on your bed and start going through some basic face exercises. This helps me wake up and get prepared for the day.
Facial muscle exercises don’t have permanent results. You’ll have to spend at least 30 minutes per day three days a week to reap the ongoing benefits. For faster and more noticeable results, exercise your face every day for 30 to 60 minutes. Work your face out in the morning, afternoon, and night for 20 minutes each.
Some of the best facial exercises involve repeating vowels, opening your mouth wide, puckering your lips, and using your fingers to make your muscles work harder. Other techniques include massaging your face muscles with your fingers. These are my favorite exercises along with what they do.
Say the letters A and O while opening your mouth as wide as you can. Hold each position for 1 second while switching between them. A…O…A…O… Repeat this for 1 to 2 minutes.
This is a good warmup, and it tones your cheek and jaw muscles.
Open your mouth as wide as you can while covering your teeth with your lips. Then bring your lips together to a puckering pose. Switch between these two poses for 1 to 2 minutes.
This strengthens and fills your cheeks and jawline and is slightly more intense than the A and O warm-up.
Massage your cheek and jaw muscles for relief and to increase the blood flow through them. Place your fingertips on the muscles and move in fast circular motions with only a bit of pressure. Do this for around 1 minute before moving on to the next exercise.
Pucker your lips together tightly as if you’re holding a pencil with them. Move your mouth in circular motions clockwise for 1 minute and anticlockwise for 1 minute. This helps for a more defined jawline.
These are just some of my favorites, but you can find entire routines on YouTube to follow every move.
You can feel fatigued and slight discomfort, especially in the jaw and cheeks. It’s the same type of feeling you get in the rest of your muscles when you strain them. It means it’s working!
During the workout, you’ll feel your face muscles warm and tense up. You also might hear your muscles and joints moving around in your face, which is normal.
After the workout, your face will feel rejuvenated and fresh. That’s how I feel afterward, and I believe it’s mostly because of the increased blood flow and because I’ve woken the muscles up.
Some plastic surgeons say that facial exercise can cause wrinkles instead of reducing them. Their reasoning is that more facial expressions cause more wrinkles, and they’re not wrong. Evidence to support the theory can be found in patients that have paralysis on one side of their face. The side that doesn’t move much has fewer wrinkles over months and years because of the lack of movement.
However, the average person moves their face a lot more during an average day compared to a 20-to-30-minute facial exercise session. We even use our facial muscles while we sleep. So, 20 to 30 minutes of strenuous face muscle exercise won’t make much difference in terms of aging wrinkles.
They also don’t seem to consider the benefit of increased blood flow in the face. Increased blood flow allows more oxygen and re-genitive blood cells to flow around the muscles that are being used and the surrounding skin. This helps to decrease blemishes, scaring, and wrinkling over time.
I can understand why a plastic surgeon would be hesitant to endorse a natural remedy for facial rejuvenation. It’s the same as asking a bottled water company what they think of tap water.
Less movement means fewer wrinkles over the years. That’s why cosmetic Botox exists, but for most of us that want full control over our face, exercise is a better option to reduce the signs of aging.
I think part of the reason we feel so rejuvenated after catching up with someone is because of all the facial expressions we go through during a face-to-face interaction. Forcing your muscles to work harder than they normally do forces them to stay in shape. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Considering that you’ll be moving your face whether with or without a routine, there’s no harm in trying it out yourself to make your own decision. I recommend starting with 15 to 20 minutes of facial exercise in the morning to wake your face up and get the blood flow going.
Sources: townandcountrymag.com, news.northwestern.edu, trends.google.com, healthline.com, niveinclinic.com, nbcnews.com, betterhealth.vic.gov.au, health.com, beautybyinga.com, thehealthsite.com, healthspan.co.uk