When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But when it comes to facial exercises, it sounds commendable enough to believe it could actually make a long-term difference to your appearance, after all, exercise does work for the rest of our body. For those of you that don’t know, there is a theory among beauty therapists and fitness trainers that face exercises can help you loose years from your face in a short period of time. The period of time varies, depending on who you speak to. Eva Fraser, who has taught a endless list of celebs how to exercise their face, says, “Facial exercises take less work than exercises for your body. What can you do in five minutes in the gym? But five minutes on your face makes a real difference.”
China, a country with a huge focus on healthcare and alternative medicine, was one of the first to produce contraptions that are said to assist users in such exercises. Dangerous as they look, many claim to have seen an improvement in facial sagging and say their face feels “tighter and better toned” after using them. But as a girl swayed only by science, I wanted to see if their was any evidential proof that face exercises work, besides claims made by individuals who may be suffering from a placebo affect. Below are the 3 most important (and scientifically proven) things I found, which will ultimately answer the question: is there any point?
1. Wrinkles are caused by repeated muscle action, not poor muscle tone!
This means that toning your face muscles will not remove your wrinkles and it could in fact enhance them. We produce wrinkles by repeating the same facial expressions over long periods of time. Take smokers for example – after years of dragging on cigarettes they produce fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. This is not the result of inhaling nicotine but is instead down to years of pouting and sucking. To display the same thing in another way, you could consider the appearance of stroke victims. Stroke victims often loose their muscle control on one side of their face, and this causes the damaged part of the face to actually appear smoother and young-looking. You see, too much movement can have the opposite affect to the one you desire.
2. Continuous use of pronounced facial movements can result to static wrinkling
We get most of our wrinkles in places where we move our muscles most. After years of smiling, laughing, frowning and crying, we get produce wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes and in the cheek area. These wrinkles are what we call a dynamic wrinkles, and they are less pronounced when our facial muscles are relaxed.
A static wrinkle is similar to folding a piece of paper – the creases would get deeper the more you fold it (or use it). When you unfold the piece of paper, the creases, or static wrinkles, are so deeply defined that they are clearly visible even when straightened and stretched out. On a face, static wrinkles are visible even when the facial muscles are relaxed, and are developed by a continuous use of pronounced facial movements. If anything, this proves that facial exercises can have a long-term affect, but again maybe not the one you want.
3. You cannot make your face appear slimmer by building facial muscle tone
Exercise can make your face look slimmer, but facial exercises are unlikely to help you remove any unwanted fat that can give the face a round appearance. Facial exercises will, as we’ve already established, build muscle tone, but it may well do this in all the wrong or unwanted places. For example, those that chew too much gum develop pronounced muscles along the jawline, and many try to reduce this using neurotoxin injections, as it can’t be undone by counteractive facial exercises.
Facial exercises are a similar misconception to spot exercising the stomach. Spot exercising your middle section cannot give you a slim belly without overall weight loss first. Overall weight loss that will reduce fatty deposits across the entire body, helping you to achieve the appearance you desire. In order for the face to look slimmer you must reduce fatty deposits and the only way to achieve this is to exercise for real, at the gym or at home – but it needs to be a full body workout!