By Dena • May 4, 2016

Should You Start a Facial Exercise Regimen?

More and more people are taking their fitness routines one step further, using facial exercises to ensure their appearance and health from the neck up is on par with an otherwise toned physique.

Like a lot of exercise fads, though, verifying the effectiveness of this method for maintaining a youthful facial structure is heavily anecdotal. Conversely, the arguments opposing this anti-aging method are also largely theoretical and based on ways natural, everyday muscle movements affect facial aging.

If you’re considering expanding your daily sweat sessions to include your face, here’s what you should know:

 For starters, don't forget that a youthful appearance is represented by both the structure of underlying facial muscles and the quality of overlying skin. One without the other reveals the effects of time, environment, health, and genetics on the age we appear to be.

To achieve maximum anti-aging results, do something that equally benefits both components and ensure that a benefit to one is not a detriment to the other. In this case, many dermatologists suggest that strengthening facial muscles, although an intuitive way to stay looking fresh and youthful, actually has a negative impact on skin elasticity.

This theory proves true for the facial muscles regularly treated with Botox, like the ones in your forehead. Wrinkles are the result of muscle movements that cause your skin to fold. Thus, weakening (not strengthening) those muscles with Botox is the best way to eliminate creases, prevent further collagen breakdown, allow skin to repair itself and most importantly, appear more taut and youthful.

“But working out my biceps doesn’t make my skin sag,” you’re thinking. Another important factor to consider is that the skin on different areas of your body varies dramatically in thickness, tone, texture, sensitivity, and the way it moves on top of your muscles. Because your facial skin is thin and creases regularly with facial expressions, it has the greatest susceptibility to stretching and sagging.

facial-exercises.jpgAn example of facial exercises. Source: enkivillage.com

If your workout still feels incomplete without adding “facial yoga” into the mix, experts recommend moisturizing the skin before and after to minimize stretching and taking before and after pictures to quantify results.

If, on the other hand, you are convinced that your face is a guilt-free zone when it comes skipping a work out, ask your dermatologist or local medical spa about Botox, Microneedling, filler and other skin care options that provide the anti-aging results you’re looking for without the questionable and unpredictable methods.