Why face yoga is the latest anti-ageing weapon

Could a workout for your facial muscles really promote better-looking skin? Here’s why a host of famous faces swear by the latest beauty trend. 

The downward dog, plank and child’s pose are some of the yoga positions known for making bodies stronger and more flexible.

While the benefits of such popular yoga poses have been known for centuries, many are discovering the same principles can apply to face yoga.

It’s gaining a growing number of famous fans with Madonna, Meghan Markle, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow all reportedly giving their facial muscles a regular workout.

What is face yoga?

“We have over 60 muscles in our face and neck, and face yoga trains and tightens these muscles to create a natural facelift. The muscles in our face are directly below the skin, which is why it is easy to lift skin by training them,” Face Yoga Australia practitioner Vanamala Mayr-Reisch explains.

Face yoga uses about 90 exercises to target different face and neck muscles, and lift and reshape the face.

“As we age, our skin loses its elasticity and gravity begins to pull down the corners of our mouth and cheeks. Our eyelids can start to droop and we develop crow’s feet, a double chin and deep marionette lines running from our nose down to the jaw,” Vanamala says.

What are the benefits of face yoga?

But regular face yoga sessions can combat these signs of ageing by helping to strengthen the muscles that scaffold our face and increase blood circulation for a healthier complexion.

“Increased blood circulation transports toxins away and brings nutrients to the skin,” Vanamala says.

“Face yoga can also help with reducing or preventing headaches because tension in the face and jaw can travel to the upper neck muscles and lead to headaches.

“Exercises can help release that tension and they can be a great stress release. Exercises also help to build facial symmetry,” she says.

Does face yoga work?

US researchers found a 30-minute daily face yoga session for 20 weeks improved the facial structure of middle-aged women.

The exercises created fuller upper and lower cheeks with women looking an average three years younger than their actual age.

Skin loses elasticity and fat pads between the muscle and skin become thinner as the face ages, researchers explained.

The fat pads lock together like a jigsaw puzzle and help give our face shape. As those pads get thinner and no longer fit together as tightly, our face starts to sag.

“But if muscle underneath becomes bigger, the skin has more stuffing underneath it and the firmer muscle appears to make the shape of the face more full. Muscle growth is increasing the facial volume and counteracting the effects of age-related fat thinning and skin loosening,” Northwestern University dermatology researcher Emily Poon reported.

How to do face yoga

Try the Yummy Smile exercise for fuller cheeks and to reduce marionette lines.

  • Curl upper and lower lips over your teeth so lips almost disappear
  • Pull up the corners of your mouth and place the pen horizontally between your lips
  • Hold the pencil or pen in place for at least ten seconds
  • Release and repeat

Written by Sarah Marinos.