Aging is a privilege that, for many people, comes with enriching life experiences, wisdom, and memories.
It also comes with the physical signs of getting older. And if you’re someone who wants to fend off wrinkles and other signs of aging, there’s no judgment here! In fact, you may have already noticed from your social media feed that there are many people looking for ways to take care of their skin and preserve a youthful appearance for as long as they can.
One such trend circulating throughout Instagram is facial yoga. Much like regular yoga, facial yoga involves stretching and exercising the face to improve muscles and skin.
As with any wellness trend, you may be wondering: Does this work, or is it overhyped?
Let’s take a look at facial yoga and the potential benefits of hopping on this bandwagon.
What Is Facial Yoga?
Facial yoga comprises a series of exercises you can use to strengthen the muscles in your face.
As we age, the fat pads in our faces — areas of cells that help give it its shape and definition — start to atrophy. This causes our faces to sag and wrinkle.
Facial yoga is designed to strengthen the muscles under these fat pads. As your muscles become stronger, your face will look fuller.
According to facial yoga enthusiasts, there are major benefits to this practice. Facial yoga may:
- Reduce the appearance of a double chin
- Lessen the presence of wrinkles, like crow’s feet
- Improve cheek fullness
- Relax facial muscles
- Release tension
- Stimulate blood flow that makes your face “glow”
- Stimulate the lymphatic system
Although facial yoga may be trending now, the concept of face exercises to improve your appearance isn’t anything new.
In one 2018 study, researchers explored the effect of facial exercises on a group of people ages 40 to 65 years with photodamage, which occurs when the sun prematurely — and sometimes harmfully — ages the skin.
Researchers determined that participants who completed a 30-minute daily or alternate-day facial exercise program for 20 weeks modestly improved their facial appearance. The subjects specifically saw significant improvement in upper and lower cheek fullness.
If these results sound intriguing to you and you’re willing to devote that amount of time to massaging your face each day, then facial yoga might be for you.
How to Practice Facial Yoga
A simple search on social media will generate hundreds of results on facial yoga routines. Many bloggers and influencers post their facial routines daily, singing the praises of the practice. The options are seemingly endless.
If you’re looking to get started, here are a few simple routines you can try:
For the jaw:
- Pinch up and down your jaw with your thumbs and index fingers for 20-30 seconds.
- Place your thumbs below your jaw under your chin, moving them slowly towards your earlobes. Do this for another 20-30 seconds.
- Press your jaw with the heels of your hands for 15-30 seconds.
For the cheeks:
- Open your mouth wide, but keep your teeth covered with your lips.
- From there, lift your cheeks for 10 seconds, then relax.
- Repeat several times. Try to work up to 50 reps.
For the whole face:
- Press your palms to your temples. Open your jaw to elongate your face.
- Slowly press your hands up and back into your hairline.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then repeat.
Some Alternative Anti-Aging Tips
Scientists who have studied facial yoga seem to confer that, while it’s unlikely to damage your skin, it’s no hack for shaving 20 years off your face.
Whether you’re convinced facial yoga works or not, it’s important to understand that one isolated habit will not make enough of a difference to combat aging.
Many people don’t want to undergo surgical procedures, so they turn to natural anti-aging tactics. Several aspects of your health are related to one another, so take a holistic approach to your health.
Anti-aging isn’t about reversing signs of aging but preventing things that make you age faster.
Here are some additional habits to support anti-aging:
- Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can make you age faster. Even one bad night of sleep has been shown to damage cells. Damaged cells will make you look and feel older.
- Eat a healthy diet: A diet packed with plenty of veggies, protein, and healthy fats can help you prevent premature aging. It’s also a good idea to cut back on alcohol, sugar, and fatty foods as they can wreak havoc on your body over time.
- Stay hydrated: Hydration is essential for staying healthy. By properly hydrating your skin, you can maintain a youthful glow.
- Wash your face each day: To keep dirt and contaminants out of your pores, wash your face every day. Be sure to clean your face before bed or after a sweaty workout.
- Wear sunscreen: Wearing sunscreen is a preventative measure of health that many people forget and later regret. UV damage is extremely harmful to your skin, especially over long periods of time. Be sure you wear sunscreen every day and a hat if possible, too.
Follow these steps and you’ll be putting yourself in a good position to take advantage of facial yoga.
The Bottom Line
Some people swear by face yoga, while others say the minimal results may not be worth the time you put into the exercises. Either way, you might just have to give it a try before you can say for certain.
While, facial yoga can be a fun practice within your wellness routine, building healthy habits is the most effective and low-effort way to take care of your long-term health and well-being. Using technology that tracks your habits, like our Habit Accountability Tracker, can empower you to become more aware of your behavior, view your progress, and keep yourself accountable for reaching your goals.