Health

What Are Facial Exercises and Do They Work?

We take a deeper look into facial exercises, what it entails, and how to get started and if there is some, if any, truth to the claims.

https://aaptiv.com/magazine/wearing-makeup-working-outOf course, you’ve heard of exercising the body as well as the mind but what about the face? Facial exercises have emerged in the health and fitness scene, spouting claims that they are a great anti-aging tool that reduces wrinkles and tones the face and neck.

If facial exercises really do work though, then why is there such a booming market for anti-aging products? Well, we take a deeper look into facial exercises, what it entails, and how to get started and if there is some, if any, truth to the claims.

What are facial exercises?

Facial exercises are exercises for your face, though it typically encompasses the neck area as well. It can sometimes be referred to as face yoga and has been touted as a natural method of slimming down the face and reversing aging. It helps the skin become smoother, tones the facial muscles and prevents sagging, wrinkles and crow’s feet.

Do they really work?

Facial exercises do seem too good to be true. However, this 2018 Northwestern Medicine study, published in the JAMA Dermatology, says that there may be some truth to it. In this study, a group of middle-aged women between the ages of 40-65 years old, partook in a facial exercise regime for a total of 20 weeks. While 27 women began the experiment, only 16 finished it.

They first went to two face-to-face training sessions from an instructor, with both sessions running for 90-minutes. Then, they continued to apply the 32 facial exercises that they learned at home, which was created and given by Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga and co-author of the study.

For the first eight weeks, the women did their 30-minute home facial exercise session daily. From weeks nine to 20, they performed it every second day.

Subject photos were taken before and after the study by two blinded dermatologists. Dermatologists evaluated the photos using Merz-Carruthers Facial Aging Photosclaes at three different points of the study—in the beginning, at week eight and at the conclusion. In doing so, they appraised the age of each participant. The participants also rated their personal satisfaction with the results.

Over a 20-week period, the dermatologists estimated the women’s average age to be 50.8 years, which then dropped to 49.6 years at week eight. At week 20, the average estimated age was 48.1 years. They also noticed a particular difference in the fullness of the upper and lower cheek.

However, an earlier study, conducted in 2013 didn’t show the same promising results. In this facial exercise study, 18 participants were split into 2 groups—nine were in the control group and the other nine were in the experimental group. They partook in daily training for 7 weeks with before and after photos taken.

There were five main areas of focus—area beneath the chin, jawline, area above the upper lip, nasolabial folds and forehead—which were assessed by a panel of laypersons as well as the participants of the experimental group.

The area above the upper lip was the one area that showed any clear distinction, as this was chosen more frequently to be the younger-looking image. However, the same couldn’t be said for the other areas, illustrating just how grey the studies are regarding racial exercises.

Facial exercise regime

If this is something you’d like to try yourself though, it’s fair to say that like any exercise regime, the best results will come from consistency. Aim to perform your facial exercises at least 5-6 days a week, for at least 20-minutes. You can break this up throughout the day instead of doing them all in one session.

Facial exercises to try

Here are two movements to get you started:

Eyebrow lift

  1. Make a V-shape with your index and middle finger of both hands. Place the middle fingers on the inside corner of your eyebrows and your index finger on the outer corner of your eyebrows.
  2. Look up at the ceiling.
  3. Use your fingers to gently lift the skin below the eyes upwards.
  4. Repeat six times.
  5. To finish, squeeze your eyes tightly for 10 seconds.

This one facial exercise that was created by Sikorski and performed during the 2018 study that yielded positive results:

Happy Cheeks Sculpting

  1. Perform a closed-lip smile (don’t show any teeth)
  2. Make an ‘O’ shape with your lips
  3. Smile more, elevating your cheek muscles up
  4. Put your fingers on the corner of your lips. Then, slide your fingers up across your skin to the top of your cheeks
  5. Hold for 20-seconds

Final notes

It goes to show that the verdict is still up in the air about facial exercises and whether or not they really do work. With anything though, to increase your chances of positive results, it needs to be done regularly. The good news is that these facial exercises can be performed in front of the TV or whenever you have a spare 10-20 minutes throughout your day.

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