Facial Exercises for Toning & Lifting: Do They Really Work?

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In an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be making a point to exercise your body more regularly. And while this habit is both effective for maintaining your weight and toning the muscles of your body, the generic workouts you follow aren’t doing much—if anything—for the muscles on your face. So, you may be asking yourself, what can you do to target this area specifically? The answer is quite simple. Facial exercises!

Facial workouts have been regarded as a powerful, yet practical way to reverse signs of aging, slim the face, and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Between fitness celebrities such as Jack LaLanne and Cristiano Ronaldo, these exercises have, and continue to be widely popularized by people everywhere. And now, with social media platforms like TikTok, these types of exercises have begun to resurface as a must-know trend for both the younger and older generations. Whether it’s done using massaging techniques and tools like the Gua Sha, or through the repetitive motion of following the same exercises on a daily basis, the end goal remains the same: stimulate collagen and exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “do facial exercises for toning and lifting really actually work?” Today, you’re here to find out!

How it Works

To understand the science behind face yoga (another term used in conjunction with facial exercises), researchers at JAMA Dermatology studied a group of middle-aged women over the course of 20 weeks to analyze the effectiveness of these workouts. In this study, these women were asked to participate by performing a particular set of facial exercises each day for the same amount of time. In the beginning, the women started out by doing them everyday for 30 minutes for eight weeks straight. After that, they then switched to performing their sets every other day for 12 weeks.

The results showed that the facial exercises actually worked! In particular, those who completed the entire 20 weeks of the study we’re able to see a noticeable difference in their skin, namely: the center of their face. The lower and upper areas of their cheeks specifically had the most drastic differences in appearance, helping each of the participants have a more youthful-looking complexion.

Although there were some limitations to this study, including the fact that all the women involved fell within the same age group and researchers did not evaluate the long-term results of these exercises, the conclusion still demonstrates that performing a set of facial exercises regularly can have a significant short-term effect on the appearance of one’s skin. This suggests that if you’re looking for long-term benefits, it may be in your best interest to incorporate more anti-aging techniques and products into your current regimen. That said, if you’re looking to optimize the results of your facial exercise, consider investing in a targeted treatment product like anti-aging cream to help you hit the ground running.

Facial Exercises for Toning & Lifting

If you’re ready to preserve your youthful glow and improve the current state of your skin, it’s important that you begin by following the correct workouts. To ensure you are on the right track, try doing the following facial exercises for toning and lifting listed below:

The Cheekbone Lift: To give you those Angelina Jolie-looking cheekbones, try this technique! Plump and lift those cheeks by placing both your index and middle finger on the tops of each of your cheekbones. From there, gently lift the skin until taut. Once you’ve done this, form an elongated ‘O’ with your mouth and hold for roughly five seconds before releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.

The Chinup Exercise: To focus more explicitly on your jawline and chin area, try this! Keeping your mouth closed, move your lower jaw outwards and make a pouting face using your lower lip (this should turn into a stretch directly under your chin and in the jawline area). After you’ve completed this, be sure to hold this position for at least 10-15 seconds before relaxing. For maximal results, perform three sets of 15.

The Puffer Fish Press: to reduce the not-so-funny laugh lines around your mouth, practice performing what’s known as the puffer fish press! To do this, begin by closing up your mouth and puffing up your cheeks. After that, all you need to do is shift the air from one cheek to another, going back and forth. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Best Practices for Facial Exercises

No matter what facial exercise(s) you choose to perform, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind in order to perfect your regimen. Luckily, we’ve noted some of the most essential practices for you to reference. As you get ready to perform these rituals, remember to:

Be Consistent: As previously mentioned, the conclusions from the JAMA Dermatology study suggest that consistency is key when it comes to achieving desired results. That being said, focus on performing a certain set of facial exercises for a few consecutive days a week, for a couple of weeks straight. This will make it easier for you to tone and lift your skin. As discussed by facial fitness expert Cynthia Rowland, in this article by Well + Good, while immediate improvements are bound to follow after a single use, lasting results will most likely kick in around week six. So be sure to stick to your facial exercise regimen for about that long before switching up your routine.

Commit to Upwards Motions: Regardless of if you use a facial sculpting skin care tool to perform your facial exercises or not, commit to moving in upwards motions. This will serve to support the lifting process of the skin.

Be Gentle on Your Skin: Finally, make sure to be careful and delicate with your facial skin as you perform these exercises. Even though it is necessary to apply firm pressure when doing different exercises, you want to make sure that you aren’t tugging or pulling too hard as this may irritate your skin and sometimes worsen its current condition. If you normally have naturally dry or sensitive skin, you may want to think about purchasing a hydrating facial serum to use before performing any exercises. Especially if you are planning on using a facial massaging tool like a Jade Roller, using some sort of hydrating product will be better for protecting your skin and preventing any issues from occurring.

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