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Exercise facial muscles to trim years off your look
January 14, 2018, 2:11 pm

A new study conducted on a relatively small group of people has found that stretching exercise for muscles in the face could help improve their appearance by making them look younger.

The study team asked 27 middle-aged women (between 40 and 65) to embark on a 20-week facial exercise regimen. For the first half of the study, the women were asked to perform 32 specific facial exercises daily, for about a half hour in total. For the remainder of the study period, the exercise regimen was performed every other day.

Dermatologists then compared photographs taken before the study began with photographs taken both halfway through and again at the end of the study. The result: By the study's end, participants appeared to have turned back the clock by an average of nearly three years.

The scientists looking at appearance changes found that the upper and lower cheeks were full after the study and that, in general, the contours of the face became smoother, fuller and firmer.

Patients themselves found even greater benefits with some noticing 18 of the 20 areas and features of the face that were studied getting better over the course of the study.

The investigators noted that skin elasticity tends to loosen over time, and fat ‘pads’ located between the muscle and skin thin out. The exercise experiment set out to combat that with participants first undergoing two 90-minute yoga exercise sessions targeting facial muscles. Each exercise was one minute in duration, and included such movement-to-hold positions as smiling without showing teeth; pursing the lips; and smiling while forcing the cheek muscles upwards.

Before the study, average age appearance of the participants was pegged at 50.8 years old. However, midway through the program that dropped to 49.6 years and finished at 48.1 years by end of the 20 weeks. Participants also expressed a high rate of satisfaction with the exercise regimen and the results.

Facial aging is so much more than just seeing more wrinkles on the face. It is a complex process, and includes thinning of the upper layers of the skin, loss of collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of the skin, and loss of fat and muscle. Oftentimes, it is the loss of the fat and muscle that really adds years to a person's face.

High cheekbones are often seen as a large component of an attractive face. When we age, this definition fades, leading the cheeks to lose their fullness pulling the face inward and downward. This then leads to the jaw becoming less defined as well. Strengthening facial muscles through exercise makes a lot of sense in helping reverse some of those changes, by allowing the muscles of the face to get bigger and provide more fullness to the overlying skin.



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