Face Workouts: Do They Really Work?

There’s no question that exercise is good for the body. Reading, studying and meditation techniques are great ways to “exercise” the mind. But what about exercising your face in order to maintain younger-looking skin?

There’s a lot of conversation surrounding facial exercises, or “face yoga,” and whether or not it’s actually effective. With all the facial rolling tools out there, there has to be something surrounding all the hype. There have been two opposing schools of thought with facial exercise: estheticians have been using massage techniques for a long time that are thought to lift, tone and stimulate collagen, whereas some people feel that doing a lot of repetitive motions or exercises with your facial muscles can actually exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles. If skincare gurus have been believing in facials exercises/massage techniques for all this time, it’s surprising there haven’t been more scientific studies to prove it.  

For the first time ever, a study was published in JAMA Dermatology that is thought to finally answer the question on whether or not facial exercises are actually effective.

How It Worked

The study followed a small group of middle-aged women over the course of 20 weeks. Over the course of the study, they were given a specific set of facial exercises, which they did every day for 30 minutes a day for the first 8 weeks. After that time, they switched to doing their facial exercises every other day for 12 weeks.  

The Results

The study showed that, for those who completed the 20 weeks, there was a noticeable difference in the appearance of the skin, particularly in the center of the face. The upper and lower cheek areas were where the participants noticed a drastic difference in the youthful appearance of their skin.

Limitations

The study has limitations to it, including that there was only one age group that was studied (middle-aged women). The study was also only conducted for a short period of time, and there have been no long-term studies to date regarding the lasting effect of facial exercises. The issue with having no long-term studies is that there are some that believe repetitive facial movements can actually contribute to more fine lines over time.

Long-term dermatological studies of the past have confirmed other culprits that definitely age the skin, including sun exposure, diets that are high in sugar, dehydration, smoking and alcohol use. Long-term studies have also confirmed the positive effects of healthy diets, sleep and certain skin care ingredients (like vitamin A). So drink your water, get some rest and stock up on your favorite retinol products to ensure healthy looking skin.

While this study has its limitations, it’s the first of what will likely be many regarding the benefits of facial exercise. In tandem with a healthy diet and habits, facial exercise could be the new wave of “fitness” for the face in order to achieve youthful-looking skin.

Lisa Bensley is the founder of BeautyByBenz, a health and beauty blog that is really just an excuse to buy too much makeup. When she is not writing, she's probably boxing, obsessing over her Dachshund, Stanley, reading, or binge-watching Law & Order: SVU. Follow her (and Stanley's) antics on Instagram.