Your forehead wrinkles are fault lines; crow’s feet are pick-up sticks; every squint into the mirror feels defeating. The cure for getting old and crinkly remains elusive, but could free facial exercises help us look more youthful? We check out the first round of science demonstrating some effectiveness for using facial exercise as an anti-ageing strategy.
Are facial exercises missing from this picture?
As we enter our later 20s and 30s, subtle signs of ageing creep in – wrinkles around our eyes, skin less firm, ‘forehead wrinkles treatment Melbourne’ in our search history. Anti-ageing creams start to line up on the vanity (‘am I too young to use “mature” skincare?’ we ask ourselves) and cosmetic appointments appear with greater regularity in the calendar.
Researchers have looked into how facial exercises can help keep our faces more youthful-looking – half an hour a day to tone and bulk up facial muscles can lead to a reduction in the visible signs of ageing, they say. Forehead wrinkles, look out.
While we can’t stop the ageing process – and nor should we try to – we can slow it down, and ‘age gracefully’, which is French for the ungraceful exorbitant spending of our time, money and effort on looking younger.
Facial exercises are simple to do, do not involve any blood, and are miraculously free. A test of 20 weeks of facial exercises involving 27 women aged 40-65 years has revealed that 32 different facial exercises can make a difference to our faces.
So what are these magical exercises, you ask? The study participants spent 180 minutes learning these specially designed exercises in face-to-face sessions with their research leaders, so they may be easy to teach, but there are a lot of them, and some of them require special movements. We also do not have access to the exact exercises, except two.
The Cheek Lifter
Open your mouth to form an “O” shape, put your upper lip over your teeth, then smile to lift your cheek muscles, putting your fingers on the top section of your cheeks to act as a feedback system for ‘doing it right’. Then, lower and lift your cheeks.
The Happy Cheeks Sculpting
Smile with your lips pursed and together to lift your cheek muscles. Put your fingers at the corners of your mouth and slide them to the top of your cheeks, and hold this position for 20 seconds.
This set of 32 exercises was performed by the study group for half an hour every day for eight weeks, and then half an hour every other day for the final 12 weeks. Photos were taken before, during and after the study at eight and 20 weeks, which were then analysed by dermatologists to see if the exercises had helped. The judging dermatologists were blinded to the experiment to avoid bias.
Facial ageing was the key element that the dermatologists were judging improvements in, using 19 specific facial features to decide. They had to guess the age of the woman before the study, and at weeks eight and 20.
So… did it work?
The dermatologists noted a significant increase in the fullness of the upper and lower cheeks. Cheek fullness starts to decrease as we age, because the fat pads between the muscle and skin thin out. This causes the face to droop and cheeks can become sallow as a result. With a larger muscle underneath, the skin has more ‘stuffing’ to keep it firm and shapely. This increase in muscle volume combats facial thinning and skin loosening.
How young we look can be directly related to how full our cheeks are, and the judges knocked almost three years off the faces of the women after the final 20-week analysis took place. The women themselves also noticed differences in their facial appearance, and were pleased with the results.
Forehead wrinkles treatment via exercise – does it work?
Exercises weren’t effective as forehead wrinkle treatments, because the exercises were designed to bulk out other facial muscles, rather than what our forehead wrinkles are caused by: muscle movement drawing skin together, which forms a crease. Anti-wrinkle injections are actually designed to stop this muscle movement, not increase it.
More effective forehead wrinkle treatments are likely to include anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. Facial exercises should be part of your normal beauty routine (once we finally get hold of some), but they are unlikely to replace other treatments – they just help in a non-toxic, free kind of way.
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