Can facial exercises help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles?Published on: 04/07/2018
Now with rollers, facial massagers and micro-needling machines on the market it’s easy to get swept up and potentially ripped off – by a trend that could do more harm than good and has little factual basis and research behind it. Here we investigate the reality of following a facial exercise routine every day – and explain why it could actually have the opposite effect if you desire a plump, youthful complexion.
Why do we hear about facial exercise as a ‘good thing’ for anyone concerned about lines and wrinkles?
Type in ‘facial exercise benefits’ into Google and you’ll find hundreds – if not thousands – of results explaining why they’re a good idea for men and women concerned about the visible effects of ageing. These articles assert that regular facial exercise should be just as important as working out the rest of your body – toning and tightening muscles in your face and neck to improve skin tone, achieve a firmer jawline and eliminate lines and wrinkles.
Perhaps this trend has arisen because of the characteristic ‘sagging’ that occurs as we age. But as many plastic surgeons and skin specialists will explain, much of this is to do with the skin itself, and not necessarily down to poor muscle tone in the face. When you consider how much we use our facial muscles to eat and express ourselves each day it’s fair to assume we use them enough to keep them in tip top condition – unlike other muscles in the body.
Staunch followers believe that ‘lifting’ the facial muscles through exercise helps to replace the plump look skin has before the fatty subcutaneous layer has diminished – but there’s little scientific evidence to support this. They also claim that the action of exercising each muscle increases blood flow (containing nutrients) and oxygen to the face – but this can also be achieved through gentle massage to encourage circulation to the skin.
Why do facial exercises do little for the skin?
Facial exercises really address the muscles beneath the skin – addressing those we use ‘the least’ or incorrectly in order to alleviate the effect of other muscle movement. For example – there’s an exercise to counteract the ‘V’ shape between the brows that forms over time as we frown, and another to ‘tighten’ skin around the jawline and neck. But there’s little solid correlation between toning muscles and improving the look of skin. If you are somebody with very poor skin tone, perhaps due to a lifetime of sun exposure, smoking and stress, facial exercise is going to do little to remedy this. For this reason it’s unhelpful to say that they will improve the overall look and tone of skin, because what they are actually doing is toning and working the muscles underneath it.
Facial exercise can in fact increase wrinkles and lines
Not only are facial exercises an unhelpful way to improve the appearance of your visual features, they can in fact do more harm than good, enhancing the effects of ageing as opposed to relieving them. This is because working out the muscles in your face gives them definition over time – just as lifting weights in the gym does. This then naturally creates wrinkles between them, accentuating and existing lines and creases.
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