Face lifting exercises or facial exercises are popular for anti-aging, but do they work?

Dermatologists, aestheticians, and celebrities have used face lifting exercises for years. However, they are controversial, and not everyone agrees with them.

Keep reading to learn the truth about face lifting exercises, how they may work to slow signs of aging, and 5 face lifting exercises to try at home, plus how they fit into an effective anti-aging regimen.

What Are Face Lifting Exercises?

Face lifting exercises, sometimes called “face yoga,” “face building,” or “making funny faces in the mirror,” have been around a long time.

Think of facial exercises as a workout for your face. Advocates say they can slow signs of aging, while critics say they may make wrinkles worse.

So who’s right?

Fortunately, a recent study discussed in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology can help answer this question[1].

The authors noted that skin aging is more than just skin laxity and photodamage. It also includes “deeper sub structural volume loss of fat and muscle.”

In other words, there’s substantial reason to believe that exercising your face could help preserve a more youthful appearance.

The researchers recruited healthy subjects aged 40-65 who had photodamaged skin and mild-to-moderate facial atrophy.

They then provided participants with formal instruction on a few dozen facial exercises. After that, the participants performed the exercises 30 minutes a day for 8 weeks, then cut back to every other day for another 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, physicians who had never seen the participants examined before-and-after photos (without knowing which was which) and rated the appearance of facial aging.

The researchers also provided a questionnaire where the subjects rated their own satisfaction.

The results were remarkable: the facial exercises resulted in improvements in upper cheek fullness and lower cheek fullness.

The exercises also took about two years off everyone’s appearance, and the participants were highly satisfied (and who wouldn’t be?!).

How Do Face Lifting Exercises Work?

As we discussed in the previous section, one way facial exercises work is by increasing the fullness of muscles just under your skin.

That means that even though face lifting exercises don’t necessarily reverse wrinkles, they reduce the appearance of wrinkles similarly to…well, a face lift!

Without more studies it’s impossible to know for sure, but there may be other factors behind the benefits, as well.

For example:
• Increasing blood flow that delivers beneficial nutrients to skin
• Releasing growth factors that are useful for anti-aging, similar to lifting weights
• Enhancing lymphatic drainage, helping your skin detox
• Restore expressiveness of facial features

If this sounds like something you need, put down the Botox and keep reading to learn the 5 best face lifting exercises to try at home today!

Top 5 Face Lifting Exercises for Youthful Skin

#1: “The Surprise” for Forehead Fitness

Between sun exposure and frequent use in facial expressions, the forehead is where many of us show early signs of skin aging.

How to do “The Surprise”: Place your palms at your hairline, with two to four fingers resting on your forehead with moderate pressure.

Slowly raise your eyebrows, as if you were surprised, then lower them. Use your fingers to provide gentle resistance, but not enough to cause visible creases in your skin.

Start with 10 repetitions, then add more each day.

#2: “Flirty Eyes” for Elastic Eyebrows

This exercise is fantastic for addressing fine lines around your eyes, as well as reinvigorating the muscles that support your eyebrows.

How to do “Flirty Eyes”: With your head and jawbone immobile, look all the way to the left with both eyes, pause, then look all the way to right and pause. Then look all the way up with both eyes, pause, and look all the way down, then pause.

That’s one repetition. Repeat for 5 repetitions.

If you notice any pain during this exercise, stop and come back later. Make sure you aren’t straining your eye muscles, especially at first.

#3: An Eye-and-Cheek Plumping Exercise

While this move doesn’t have a fancy name, it’s a great way to firm up your cheek muscles and the area just below your eyes.

How to do it: Place both hands level and resting on your lower lash line and upper cheekbones. Aim to put your index fingers under your eyelashes, and your little fingers resting just under your cheekbones.

Apply gentle but firm pressure to hold the muscles in place, then squint your eyes as you try to lift your cheeks up towards your eyes. Hold for a five count. If done correctly, you’ll look like you just bit into a lemon!

That’s one repetition. Repeat for 5-10 repetitions, total.

#4: “The Big O” For Your Mouth Muscles

This simple exercise is easy, but highly effective for nasolabial folds (the wrinkles that can form next to your nose) and fine wrinkles next to your lips.

How to do “The Big O”: Form your mouth into the shape of the letter “O,” the rounder the better. Try making an “O” sound out loud, phonetically, too. Hold for 5-10 seconds with moderate tension.

That’s one repetition. Perform for 10-20 repetitions.

#5: “The Iguana” For Your Chin and Neck

Use “The Iguana” to ward off a double chin and boost the muscle tone of your front neck region.

How to do “The Iguana”: Stick out your tongue, then reach it up towards your nose. Hold this position, then lean your head back and up. Next, rotate your head to the right and lift your chin.

You should feel a gentle stretch in your tongue, chin, and neck muscles.

Hold the final position for 10 seconds, then go back through the same motions to the starting position. Repeat the same movements, but in the opposite direction (rotating to the left if you started to the right).

Do this exercise for 3-5 repetitions in each direction (right and left).

Putting It All Together

If you’re doing everything else right, face lifting exercises are definitely worth your time. And you don’t need to do 30 minutes a day all the time to get benefits, either.

When you first start your facial fitness regimen, you’ll need a mirror to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly.

But after that, you can graduate to doing them without a mirror, whenever you have some free time.

Always start slow–just like you’d “warm up” any muscle group. And be sure to vary your approach and take occasional time off, because otherwise you may decrease skin elasticity.

If you aren’t noticing results, it’s time to up your volume temporarily. Always pay attention to the appearance of your skin and adjust accordingly, using pictures if necessary to assess your progress.

It’s also a great idea to add wrinkle creams to your regimen, which can aid skin elasticity.

Not only that, oral collagen and other supplements for aging skin are the perfect addition to face lifting exercises.

But keep in mind that while your facial fitness matters, it doesn’t take the place of foundational anti-aging practices.

Skin aging also relates to your overall health, so it’s vital that you also address aging from the inside, out.

Want one-on-one guidance on face lifting exercises, or help putting it all together? Then get in touch with the offices of Dr. Thad Gala at Complete Care today!