Do Facial Exercises Work for Reversing the Signs of Aging Skin?

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Yoga has really soared in popularity in recent years, with this ancient form of exercise being a great way to tone and tighten the body. With yoga offering up so many anti-aging results, it didn’t take long for people to question whether this workout could be replicated in the face.

Enter face yoga. Many experts recommend facial exercises as a way to reduce the visible signs of aging, and there’s certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to confirm these benefits. However, what does science have to say about all of this?

Are there any studies out there proving that face yoga exercises are worth your time? Stick with us to find out!

What is a Facial Exercise?

A facial exercise is exactly what it sounds like – repeatedly moving your face in certain ways to give the facial muscles a workout. It’s just like going to the gym, except that face exercises focus on other muscles.

The theory is that activating and building up the muscle tone in your face will bulk out your skin from within. Aging usually leads to a loss of elasticity, which then causes sagging skin. Bigger muscles will push your skin outwards again, giving you a younger appearance.

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The Benefits of Facial Exercises

The main benefit of face yoga is that it supposedly leaves the skin looking more youthful. However, let’s get into the specifics of how it actually does this:

  • Restoring elasticity reduces the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, giving the face a smoother and tighter finish
  • The repeated movements required by a facial exercise give blood circulation a boost. This enables skin cells to receive a greater amount of nutrients and oxygen, allowing skin health to really thrive. Just like a massage, face exercises can give your skin a luminous rosy glow, pretty much instantly
  • As mentioned, many face exercises work just like a facial massage. They’re incredibly relaxing, making them a great way to de-stress. Since stress can cause everything from wrinkles to acne, keeping stress levels down can do so much for your skin

Do Facial Exercises Really Work?

The reported benefits of face exercises sound great, but has science confirmed all of this to be true?

Mature woman with happy face

Yes and no.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been many studies carried out on anti-aging facial exercises over the years.

However, thanks to their recent popularity, they’re now coming under scrutiny, and the handful of clinical research studies that have been conducted show promise.

In 2018, a study was carried out by Dr. Murad Alam at Northwestern University.

The participants did 30 minutes of face exercises a day for the first eight weeks, before switching to every alternate day for another 12 weeks.

The results showed a significant improvement in the fullness and firmness of the cheeks, which had the effect of making participants look about three years younger [1].

Dermatologists at the Cleveland Clinic and other reputable institutions agree that, when done in the right way, working out the facial muscles really can reverse the aging process to an extent.

However, they’re also quick to warn that, when done in the wrong way, face yoga could actually leave you with even more fine lines and wrinkles.

Could Face Exercises Make Your Wrinkles Worse?

It’s true – get things wrong when it comes to facial yoga exercise and you could actually end up accelerating skin aging.

After all, a repeated facial expression is what causes wrinkles to appear in that area, such as frown lines on those who regularly frown or squint, or smile lines on those who enjoy a hearty chuckle.

There really is a thin line when it comes to manipulating facial skin. If you overdo it, or choose to focus on the wrong muscle, your wrinkles could end up worse.

The Best Facial Exercises to Add to Your Daily Routine

If you want to experience the anti-aging benefits of facial exercise without the risk of making your wrinkles worse, then you’ll need to make sure that you learn the right routines. Here are some tried-and-tested face workouts to start with:

Woman doing facelift exercises

Exercise Your Cheek Muscles with the Cheek Lifter

This facial exercise is one of the most effective – it was even used in the Northwestern University study mentioned above. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open your mouth to form an O-shape
  • Pull your upper lip over your top teeth and then smile so that your facial muscles lift up
  • Lightly place your fingers on your upper cheeks
  • Release your face muscles and then lift them again, repeating several times

Tighten Your Eye Area with the Eyebrow Lifter

This facial exercise is great for lifting the eye area – a part of the face that’s often the first to lose muscle tone and start to wrinkle.

  • Smile!
  • Place three fingertips underneath each of your eyebrows, and use these to keep your eyes open
  • Attempt a frown, so that your eyebrows are pushing against your fingers
  • Close your eyes and roll your eyeballs in an upwards direction
  • Hold the position for 15-20 seconds, before relaxing and repeating

Lift Your Jawline with the Chin-Up

Pretty woman with gorgeous jaw line

The jawline is another area that loses structure with age, resulting in loose and sagging skin around the mouth.

Regularly performing this exercise will lift things back up and give your face a more chiseled appearance by improving muscle memory in the lower half of your face.

  • Close your mouth and push your jaw forwards
  • Lift your lower lip upwards, and keep pushing until you can feel tension in the muscles in your chin and jawline
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds before relaxing. Then, repeat

Smooth Forehead Wrinkles with the Sumo Sandwich

Trying to get rid of wrinkles on your forehead? Add this face exercise to your skincare routine.

  • Ball your hands into a fist
  • Place your fists against your forehead, so that your index and middle knuckles are applying pressure onto your forehead
  • Drag your fists away from each other, keeping the pressure on your skin
  • Press your knuckles down onto the sides of your temples
  • Repeat these steps three times

Tone Your Facial Muscles with the Lion

Many say that this exercise acts just like a facelift. Granted, you won’t see the effects after just a few days, but, in the long run, it really does produce noticeable results.

  • Close your eyes and inhale, squeezing your face inwards
  • Keep your face tense but open your eyes and form an O-shape with your mouth
  • Drop your jaw, so that the O-shape becomes larger
  • Roll your eyes upwards
  • Stick your tongue out, pointing it towards your chin
  • In this position, hold your breath for 8 seconds before relaxing and repeating

Eliminate Lip Wrinkles with the Mermaid

Lip lines of a middle aged woman

Also known as smoker’s lines, even though non-smokers develop them too, fine lines around the lips can make you look so much older than your true age. Try this facial exercise to bring back a smoother appearance.

  • Smile while keeping your lips together
  • Purse your lips and suck in your cheeks
  • Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, and then repeat

Say Goodbye to Crow’s Feet by Practicing Owl Eyes

The skin around the eyes is extremely delicate, which is why so many experience crow’s feet before any other wrinkles have developed. This exercise will help you to eliminate them.

  • With each hand, form a V-shape with your index and middle finger, keeping your hands facing towards your face
  • Place your middle fingers on the inside corners of your brows, so that your index fingers are on the outside
  • Apply pressure onto your face, looking upwards at the same time
  • Pull up your lower eyelids so that you’re squinting, but don’t allow your upper eyelids to wrinkle
  • Relax your face and then repeat a few more times

Useful Facial Exercise Tools

Many dermatologists recommend combining face exercises with facial massage tools. These stimulate the skin and muscles in a different way, making them the perfect accompaniment to facial yoga.

Face rollers are the most common tool used. They’re great for boosting blood flow and skin cell regeneration, which gives the skin a brighter and more vibrant finish.

There are also several electric devices that do the same. Again, these can easily be added into your skincare routine. However, while they do cost more than manual devices, they’re not necessarily more effective.

woman clear face


How long does it take for facial exercises to work?

It usually takes at least two weeks for facial exercises to start working.

Do facial exercises work for jawline?

Yes, there are many face exercises out there that help to tighten and chisel the jawline.

Does facial yoga really work?

Yes, face yoga really does work. There may be a lack of studies to prove this, but those that have been done have shown very promising results.

So, Are Facial Exercises Worth Doing?

Everything from sun damage to repeated facial expressions can cause the skin to age so much faster than it should.

If you’re looking to turn back the clock on your skin, then facial exercises are definitely worth trying. So long as you learn the correct facial movement techniques, you’ll be able to tighten up your face muscles, resulting in a toned and chiseled finish.



Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.