Face yoga: can facial exercises help reduce wrinkles?
Looking for a complementary way to fight against skin aging? Find out how practicing face yoga can help bring your skin back to a more youthful appearance.
Does your skin feel dry and droopy? Are you seeing more noticeable wrinkles? It may be time to give your face a workout. Introducing face yoga, the latest trend in anti-aging! Quick and easy to do, here’s everything you need to know about including it in your routine, to reduce the signs of aging for firmer, younger looking skin.
What causes skin aging?
The aging process works like this: your skin ages naturally, but exposure to internal and external harmful factors can speed it up. Premature aging is associated with a decrease in fundamental substances like collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. This results in the skin becoming thinner and losing its plumpness, as well as the appearance of wrinkles.
And how to know if you are experiencing premature skin aging? A telltale sign would be a generally worn-out looking or sunken appearance: dry, loose skin, dull complexion and dark spots, along with noticeable fine lines and wrinkles formation around the mouth, eyes and forehead(1). Folds and sagginess on the neck and cheek areas are another major indicator(1). But there is a way around these issues - and that’s where face yoga comes in.
What is face yoga and what are the benefits for your skin?
A series of daily facial ‘workouts’ known as ‘face yoga’ can help tone and relax the face as way to lessen the effects of skin aging. You can create a personalised set of relaxing massages and muscle exercising techniques to target certain sections of the face. Though face yoga is still a relatively new concept, its effectiveness explains it’s growing popularity. In one study, middle-aged women between 40-65 years old underwent training from a facial exercise instructor, and continued to do these exercises for 20 weeks. After this period, before and after images were compared, and the raters noticed an increase in upper and lower cheek fullness, and estimated the women’s ages to be lower in the after images (2). “Face yoga is highly recommend to anyone no matter the age or skin type, but particularly for women ages 30 and over,” says dermatologist Dr. Nina Roos. Due to its gentle nature, even those with sensitive skin can incorporate face yoga into their routine.
This practice can help reduce signs of skin aging, as well as act as a powerful preventative measure in order to avert premature signs of skin aging. “Remember, practicing face yoga alone won’t completely improve the look of your skin,” she explains. Instead, it should be seen as a necessary addition to an already complete anti-aging skin care routine that involves plenty of moisturizing.
How to do face yoga
A face yoga sequence can range from 5-30 minutes a day, depending on your needs, and should be tailor made to each individual by mixing and matching a wide range of different exercises. Essentially, face yoga can be broken down into two major components - muscle exercises and relaxation techniques.
Some studies show that facial exercises can actually show signs of improved muscle function(3). This happens because growing muscle can fill in under the skin in the cheeks, neck and jaw area, rounding out facial contours for more fullness and less sagginess. Even something simple as holding a fully engaged smile for 60 seconds can lift around the lip area.
If your cheeks droop down underneath your eyes, try squeezing your entire face as tightly as possible for 10 seconds. Then stretch open the entire face with your tongue out in an exaggerated manner for another 10 seconds, and continue doing so for a total of 10 repetitions. You can also open your mouth to form an ‘O’ shape, then use your muscles to smile upwards then release. Continue this movement for 10 ‘lifts’, with the last lift being the strongest muscular push and hold for 20 seconds.
To tone the jaw and neck area, slowly roll the neck clockwise then counterclockwise, while gently extending the chin and behind the head. You can also hold a 10 second count when looking left and right, then up and down. Another exercise would be to open your mouth wide while making an ‘ahh’ sound. “Make sure to really stretch and fully engage the jaw and neck muscles,” Dr. Roos adds. Hold this form while pushing the lower part of your jaw forward, as if in an underbite position. Then lift your lower jaw very slowly towards the sky while tilting your head back. Continue for 10 slow repetitions, holding for 10 seconds on the last count.
Facial relaxation techniques can not only promote muscle growth but also cell turnover(4).“The best time to try a relaxation technique is on clean skin,” instructs Dr. Roos. “You can slowly massage in your moisturizer after the cleansing steps of your routine”. Massaging all over the face in circular motions or lightly patting the skin while applying a gentle pressure from your fingers will help to slowly awaken facial muscles and release tension. Spreading your moisturizer with full palms smoothing up and away from the face is another effective relaxation technique. Stick with this anti-aging strategy and shave years off your look!
1. Krutmann, J. et al, “The skin aging exposome” in Journal of Dermatological Science 85.3 (2017) pp. 152-161 [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27720464]
2. Alam, M. et al, “Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging” in JAMA Dermatology 154.3 (2018) pp. 365-367 [Accessible at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2666801?redirect=true]
3. Choi, HJ. et al, “Effects of a Facial Muscle Exercise Program including Facial Massage for Patients with Facial Palsy” in Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing 46.4 (2016) pp. 542-51 [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27615044]
4. Caberlotto, E. et al, “Effects of a skin-massaging device on the ex-vivo expression of human dermis proteins and in-vivo facial wrinkles” in PLoS One 12.3 (2017) e0172624 [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5383004/]