3 Face Yoga Exercises to Get Started towards Younger Skin

clear-skinned woman practicing face yoga

We know that exercise is key to keeping our bodies looking and feeling younger and healthier. Can exercising our faces help keep them looking younger and healthier too? According to many dermatologists and aestheticians the answer is “Yes” - and they call it Face Yoga. 

What is face yoga?

“Face Yoga” refers to a program of exercises for the 40+ muscles of the face, usually combined with facial massage techniques to stimulate the circulation to the skin. It can include some form of electrical stimulation of the muscles in the face as well. It’s offered by specialists in a professional setting or can be practiced at home with the help of online tutorials and YouTube videos.

What are the benefits of face yoga?

Face Yoga is purported to help with anti-aging in four specific ways:

  • Muscle toning - reduces sagging, increases plumpness and firmness
  • Increased circulation - increases oxygen and nutrients to the skin
  • Increased collagen production - improves smoothness, elasticity
  • Improved lymphatic drainage - reduces puffiness and removes toxins

As you exercise the muscles they become toned like any other muscle in your body. This toning will help with smoothing fine lines, lifting skin around the eyes and even tightening sagging cheeks and necklines. The increased blood circulation required by working muscles encourages skin to become healthier and clearer over time as it receives more nutrients and oxygen. The use of the facial muscles along with the massage techniques also encourage collagen growth, which plumps up the skin and improves elasticity. 

Besides anti-aging effects on skin, yoga for your face can help you relax and relieve facial tension linked to eyestrain and headaches. Many people hold a lot of tension in their faces and the release of that tension has physical benefits and is soothing overall. As someone who suffers from tension headaches this is an added enticement for me to start practicing face yoga.

happy woman touching smooth face

Does it work?

There is not a lot of research about face yoga but the research we do have suggests it does make skin look younger. A study done at Northwestern Medicine and published in JAMA Dermatology found that women looked an average of 3 years younger after 20 weeks of practicing face yoga daily for 30 minutes. They had measurably fuller and firmer cheeks and tighter skin. Both upper and lower cheeks saw big benefits.

Experts say you should practice for at least 6 days per week in order to get results, so it’s a commitment. Most women will start seeing results within 2-6 weeks of beginning to practice face yoga, although professional facial yoga massage sessions with a professional often give some immediate but temporary results.

What are the downsides?

While face yoga is considered safe for pretty much anyone, there are some skin experts who do not think it’s helpful. They say that if the skin is pulled and stretched with extra regularity, wrinkles and lines will be encouraged, not discouraged. Defenders answer that this is only a concern if the wrong exercises are performed, exercises are performed incorrectly or an unknowledgeable practitioner is doing the massaging. One important key is to think of stretching your face as you exercise it and never squinting or scrunching, which can definitely worsen lines and wrinkles.

young woman practicing face yoga

How can I try it?

You can look for facial massage/facial yoga practitioners in your area if you want to give it a try, or you could try it out at home. You can find lots of information about specific exercises and how to do them online. Look for exercises to target specific areas where you feel like you need the most help and start with those. 

Here are a few facial yoga exercises to get you started:

The Dreamer (or cheek tightener)

Rest your chin on your fist - like you might do if you’re daydreaming. Maintain upward pressure with your fist while opening and closing your mouth 10 times. Make those muscles work.

The Swan (or loose neck tightener)

While looking straight ahead, place your fingertips at the base of your neck. Lightly smooth the skin down while tilting you’re head back. Bring your head forward to your chest and repeat twice more. Finally, push your lower jaw forward, point your chin upwards and place your fingers on your collarbones. Hold this position for 4 slow breaths.

The Brightener (or brow lift)

Place your index finger on your corrugator muscle between your eyebrows. Raise your eyebrows up and down 10 times keeping your finger firm. Make sure to raise them as far as you can.

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1 comment

Nice to know.

Marianne Hardy September 09, 2020

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