If you’ve started to notice a little sagging or loss of firmness in your face, you may be wondering if facial exercises can help tighten those muscles and help you look younger again.
Touted as yoga or Pilates for the face, many facial exercises promise to create facial muscles that are stronger and rounder, combating the sagging and hollows that develop with age. You can even buy weighted gadgets to help build specific facial muscles, but how much can these even help?
“Facial sagging is not due to lack of muscle tone, but rather the irreversible process of aging,” said Richard Havard, MD, of Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery in Corvallis.
Havard explains that factors like the natural reduction of collagen production, which provides skin’s firmness and elasticity, and gravity work to draw the face down. A lifetime of repetitive movements like smiling or furrowing your brow can also cause deep creases in the skin. If you’ve gained a few pounds over time, that excess fat is distributed around your body, including the face and especially the neck. We are recognizing the loss of facial fat with the loss of the softness of contours we had in our youth
“Facial exercises can actually cause you to do something you don’t want, which is to move your face repeatedly in a way that can cause new wrinkles or stretch skin of the face,” said Havard.
In fact, any sort of repetitive movement such as furrowing your brow while thinking, squinting in the sun, pursing your lips to smoke or suck on a straw, even smiling and frowning can cause wrinkles over time. Although maintaining a neutral face can help, that can be difficult for people without conscious effort. The tremendous success of Botox is based on the ability of the substance to reduce facial movement in treated areas, allowing wrinkles to relax and lines to fade.
“The best way to improve the skin’s appearance at home is to be diligent about sunscreen, use a skincare product that contains retinol and quit smoking,” said Havard. “Beyond that, you can start exploring minimally invasive options like Botox and fillers that can add back in youthful volume to the face, and surgical options such as an eyelid or face lift if you are a candidate.”
Request a free consultation to assess your unique needs and develop a custom surgical or non-surgical treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and budget.Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery has many specials and events during the holiday season. See events and sign-up for their newsletter to stay up-to-date!