Can Exercising Your Face Make You Look Younger?

Woman checking for forehead wrinkles

Being in the facial rejuvenation business, we love finding new ways to look younger—especially when they’re free. So when we learned that researchers had actually done a scientific study on face yoga and that the results showed that a consistent routine of face exercises can take up to 3 years off one’s appearance, we were all ears…and cheeks, lips, and forehead!

The researchers recruited a group of 27 women between the ages of 45 and 60 and taught them a series of 32 facial exercises designed to strengthen muscles around the cheeks, eyes, and mouth. After the 20-week study, researchers noted a significant improvement in upper and lower cheek fullness, which turned back the clock about 3 years on average for each woman.

The subjects in the “face yoga” study performed a specific regimen of facial exercises for 30 minutes every single day for 8 weeks, and then every other day for 12 weeks.

If you’re not inclined to chew through the report in JAMA Dermatology, you might prefer this summary and commentary on Oprah.com.

How do face exercises work?

What the researchers believe happened makes sense: the face exercises strengthened the facial muscles, particularly those in the cheeks, causing them to increase slightly in size. As a result, the subjects’ faces regained a little volume and they looked a few years younger.

The participants were happy too, noting “significant improvement in 18 of 20 facial features.”

We’re not swapping our fillers for face yoga quite yet

But here’s the rub—the subjects in the study had to perform a specific regimen of facial exercises for 30 minutes every single day for 8 weeks, and then every other day for 12 weeks. Talk about commitment—in fact, the study notes that there were “numerous dropouts” and that only 16 participants completed the entire regimen.

Re-volumizing effects of face yoga were limited to the cheeks—and excessive muscle contractions may actually cause wrinkles in other areas.

While the benefits of “face yoga” are noteworthy—it’s free, it’s practically zero-risk, and evidently, it works—it has some very real limitations. First, muscles can only grow so much, and as the study states, the re-volumizing effects were limited to the cheeks. Second, there’s the fact that excessive muscle contraction can actually cause wrinkles in other areas, such as the brow and between the eyes—that’s why we have Botox. Then there’s the fact that it can take months to see any results with facial exercises, and you must keep up the routine to maintain the effects.

In contrast, cosmetic injectables provide near-immediate improvements and can be used to target a full range of concerns, from fine lip lines to thinning cheeks, with results that last for up to a year without any daily upkeep. When performed by an experienced, qualified provider, Botox and fillers look as natural as any face that has only done yoga, too. Of course, they are not free, but injectables can be a very rewarding investment—just ask any of our Fairfax Botox and filler fans at Hess Plastic Surgery.

Do you do face yoga? If so, have you noticed any benefits, appearance-wise or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below!