Age shows in the face more than most people would like to admit. As skin ages, it starts to sag and pull features downward. Though cosmetic surgery is the only surefire way to tighten the face, facial exercises may help reduce skin sagging a little.
Sample Exercises for the Face
There's exercise equipment for virtually any body part, and the face is no exception. You don't need to shell out any money to exercise your facial muscles, so there's no need to buy expensive gadgets and other dubious items that claim to turn back the clock. Your gym may have a machine or two for chin and neck exercises, but don't be surprised if even the most well-equipped facility is lacking -- equipment for exercise for the face is simply not as in demand as other machines.
You can still give those facial muscles a workout with no equipment at all. Try any or all of these exercises. You won't notice results right away, but stick with them for at least six weeks and see if you notice a difference. (Helpful hint: Take "before" and "after" pictures to compare.) When performing these moves, keep your neck and facial muscles relaxed and avoid tensing them.
Two Exercises for Double Chins
Try one or both of these exercises designed to help reduce double chins.
- Sit in a straight-backed chair and look straight ahead. Lean your head back and face the ceiling. Open your mouth into a round O without stressing it; hold for a count of 10 to 20, close your mouth and return to the starting position. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
- Tilt your head back to look at the ceiling. Lift your lower lip over your top lip. This may be difficult, so only stretch your lip as far as you comfortably can. Hold for a count of five. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Though not as effective as Botox or fillers, this simple exercise is supposed to help tone the forehead muscles to tighten the area.
- Close your eyes and lift your eyebrows as high as you can, while keeping your eyelids shut.
- You may place gentle pressure on your lids if you have trouble keeping them closed. Repeat 10 times.
Hooded eyes are sometimes genetic, but they can also happen as you age and the skin of your eyelids starts to droop.
- Close your eyes tightly.
- Roll your eyeballs up toward the sky with your eyelids still closed.
- Keep your eyes pointed up for 20-30 seconds.
- Go through this sequence 2-3 times.
Lips and Cheeks
Both of these exercises are supposed to help tighten the areas around the mouth and cheeks, but note that repetitive motion like this can promote wrinkles.
- Kiss and grin - Pucker your lips and stick them out, as if you're giving someone a big kiss. Then pull your lips back into a wide grin. Hold each position for a second or two; the two movements together count as one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.
- Straw exercise - Purse your lips as if you're sucking on a straw. Hold for a count of five. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Jowl and Neck Exercises
Many of the exercises listed above are quite similar to exercises designed to target the jowls and exercises for so-called "turkey neck." That's because the muscles of the face are largely connected in one way or another, so working to strengthen one muscle within the face or neck might affect other parts of the facial area.
Effectiveness of Facial Exercise
Devotees of face exercises claim that regular participation is what lends them a youthful appearance, but everyone isn't convinced about the effectiveness of these workouts. Exercise alone won't get rid of wrinkles -- you may find an anti-aging moisturizer or cosmetic procedures much more effective if that's your aim. Likewise, if you have a double chin and want it to disappear, you'll most benefit from a full-body exercise program. Excess fat around your face will melt away at the same time it melts from the rest of you.
What the Research Says
Though many people make claims that facial exercises help them maintain a youthful appearance, very few studies exist to support this idea. One of the only research studies to assess appearance in correlation with facial exercises was done by Northwestern University and concluded that some facial exercises can indeed help participants have a more youthful appearance - some by as many as three years. And while the study focused on middle-aged women, it's fair to conclude that men may find similar benefits.
Stick With It
As with any exercise, you don't get immediate results, so it's important to continue with the program. Try to get into the habit of performing this workout every other day; it might be a good way to wind down before bed, after you've applied a facial cream. You may find an improvement in your appearance, or you might not see any difference at all. To contribute to a youthful look, you can add drinking plenty of water and anti-aging products to your facial care routine.