In the first scientific study to analyze whether facial exercises can improve appearance, researchers report that having a “fit” face does, in fact, improve facial tone, firmness and shape.
Facial aging is not only a result of skin laxity and sun damage but also of sub-structural volume loss of fat and muscle, according to the recent JAMA Dermatology research letter.
The authors report on 16 women, ages 40 to 65, who had two sets of face-to-face 90-minute training sessions from a facial exercise instructor. They continued to do the exercises at home for 20 weeks. Patients did the exercises 30 minutes a day for the first eight weeks and every other day for the remaining 20 weeks.
“Facial exercises that may be beneficial include those that entail puckering and squeezing the cheeks,” dermatologist and lead author Murad Alam, M.D., M.B.A., vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release on the study. “There are many muscles that collectively allow movement of the cheeks, and our study showed that building these up makes the upper and lower cheeks look fuller.”
The facial exercise regimen includes 32 distinct facial exercises, each performed for about a minute.
“One is The Cheek Lifter: Open mouth and form O, position upper lip over teeth, smile to lift cheek muscles up, put fingers lightly on top part of cheek, release check muscles to lower them, and lift back up. Repeat by lowering and lifting the cheeks.
Another exercise is The Happy Cheeks Sculpting: Smile without showing teeth, purse lips together, smile forcing cheek muscles up, place fingers on corners of the mouth and slide them up to the top of the cheeks, hold for 20 seconds,” according to the press release.