Many people are turning to facial exercise as a means of keeping their faces “in shape.” After all, jogging and jumping jacks help keep your body looking young – shouldn’t facial exercise keep your face looking young? It certainly seems logical, but the reality is, facial toning exercises are bad for the skin. Surprised?
Why Facial Exercise is Bad for Skin
If you’re not familiar with “facial exercise”, here’s a quick rundown…
Facial exercise — also known as facial “toning” — is the practice of “working out” the muscles under the skin in an attempt to recreate a more taut, youthful appearance. Facial exercise might include repetitive facial movements, or you might use pressure from your fingers to manipulate and stretch your skin. One facial exercise involves applying pressure to the corners of your eyes and then squinting repeatedly. Another involves jutting out your chin while putting pressure on your collarbone with your hands, stretching the skin on your neck.
Does any of that raise red flags for you? It should.
While facial exercise is meant to strengthen certain muscles, it puts a major amount of stress on your skin.
Think about it: Those small, repetitive muscle contractions pull on your skin, over and over. And that’s just not good.
Years of scientific evidence suggests putting this kind of repetitive stress on your face can result in both superficial and deep wrinkles.1 And, keep in mind, aging skin is actually thinner and less elastic, so it may show the effects of these muscle contractions even more.2
Now, scientists have known for a long time that repeated contractions of facial muscles can result in wrinkles.3 But it’s also common sense. We express so many of our emotions through our facial muscles, like smiling in joy, frowning in worry, or squinting in concentration. And that’s exactly where many of the most prominent wrinkles tend to show up: in smile lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet.
Relaxing those expression lines — as opposed to stimulating them — is a more effective and scientifically proven way to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.4
Alternatives To Facial Exercise
If you were hoping to take off a few years with a new facial exercise regimen, sorry to burst your bubble… it’s a bad idea. But not having to perform facial yoga and gymnastics every day will certainly save you a lot of time! Plus, there are other foolproof ways you can get gorgeous “in-shape” skin. Here’s how:
Load Up On Collagen
Skin that doesn’t look “taut” isn’t really “out of shape.” But it probably is lacking in collagen – the protein in skin that keeps it looking firm and youthful. Over time, your skin’s production of collagen slows down, and the collagen your skin does produce tends to break down. This leads to the appearance of sagging and wrinkles.5
How can you solve this problem? By giving your skin more collagen. Topical formulations that include collagen-stimulating peptides can help reduce the number, length, and depth of facial wrinkles.6 And you can also take collagen in supplement form. Drinkable collagen peptides have been shown to significantly improve collagen density after only 4 weeks of use.7 That means smoother, firmer, less wrinkled looking skin.
Want in-shape skin? Wear sunscreen every day – even if it’s overcast. You probably already know that hyperpigmentation and sunspots are the results of UV exposure. But collagen loss and wrinkles can also be the result of sun exposure.8 UV rays have the power to degrade and break down the collagen in your skin, which leads to the development of wrinkles. So, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen before leaving the house for the day.9
You probably hear this skincare advice more than any other: moisturize! But the loss of hydration is one of the hallmark signs of aging skin.10 Skin that’s dehydrated can appear dull, making you look tired, even if you’re not. But you can help counteract this by replenishing moisture to your skin every day. You can also try several deep moisturizing treatments a week. Try using a moisturizing treatment with hyaluronic acid, which is a natural molecule that has the unique capability of helping your skin retain water, giving it a more radiant and voluminous look.11
Eat Foods With Phytoestrogens
As women age, they tend to experience a drop in estrogen. Interestingly, this drop in estrogen is associated with a decrease in collagen production.12 And when estrogen is re-introduced to the body, it may actually help slow down or reverse collagen loss.13
If you want to try to increase collagen production through what you eat, try foods that contain phytoestrogens, which are compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen. Here are some foods to experiment with: kale, broccoli, red wine, chocolate, and green tea.14
While facial exercise is bad for skin, regular exercise may have some real benefits. When your body temperature rises during vigorous exercise, more blood flow is directed to your skin.15 This increase in blood means a nourishing boost in oxygen for your skin cells. It also encourages cell metabolism, which includes the carrying away of debris from skin cells.16
Just Say “No” To Facial Exercise
The best advice? Let this fad pass you right by. Facial exercise may have the opposite result of what you intended, by increasing the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. Instead of a facial workout, focus on protecting and nourishing your skin with moisturizing, collagen-boosting nutrients.