Face Yoga: Six Exercises to Try
One of the best ways to improve the appearance of your skin is to build muscle, but what about the muscles in your face? The face contains over 40 individual muscles, and we use them daily to create facial expressions and chew. But when it comes to strengthening and toning, the arms, legs, abs and glutes are usually the go-to muscle groups, not your face.
If you’re looking to improve the appearance of your skin, your first line of defense is a good diet topped with a good skincare routine. Skincare products won’t tone your muscles, though. Exercising them might. Studies suggest that 30 minutes of facial exercises every day or every other day may result in fuller cheeks and a more youthful appearance. Also known as face yoga, these exercises go beyond skin deep and target specific facial muscles. There isn’t much research in this area yet, meaning that new information may yet emerge.
Face Yoga: Six Exercises to Try
Whether you want to tone and strengthen the muscles in your face or just release some tension, here are six facial exercises you can incorporate into your skincare and fitness routines.
Tip: Make sure your face is well cleansed and moisturized before you start. This will help get you focused on the muscle work you are going to do.
Release tension from your neck and jaw with this gentle stretch.
- Relaxing the shoulders, move your chin to one side, slightly up at a 45-degree angle.
- Pucker your lips into a kiss.
- Hold for 10 seconds, remembering to breathe throughout.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Repeat both sides two times for a total of 30 seconds on each side.
This exercise can alleviate puffiness around the eyes. Make sure to use light pressure.
- Place your ring fingers at the inside of your eyebrows.
- Gently tap your fingers toward the outside of your eyebrows.
- Press into your temples for a few seconds.
- Continue to tap above your cheekbones to the inner corner of your eyes.
- Continue for 30 seconds.
This exercise relaxes the large muscle in your forehead, which when contracted can make lines and expressions of stress.
- Place your fingertips at the center of your forehead, facing inward.
- Gently press your fingertips into your forehead as you move your fingers toward your temples.
- Release your fingers.
- Continue for 30 seconds.
Give your cheeks a lift with this simple exercise.
- Open your mouth and form an O, positioning your upper lip over the teeth.
- Smile to lift your cheek muscles up, then place your fingers lightly on the top part of the cheeks.
- Release the cheek muscles to lower them and lift back up. Repeat.
This move can help strengthen and tone the muscles under your chin.
- Place two fingers under your chin, past the chin bone to the soft area underneath your tongue, and gently press upward.
- Take your tongue and push it into the roof of your mouth. (You will feel a muscle contraction on your fingers.)
- Repeat 10-20 times with your tongue.
Relax your face muscle with this yoga breathing exercise.
- From a seated position, lean forward to brace your hands on your knees or the floor.
- Inhale deeply through your nose.
- Open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and stretch your tongue toward your chin.
- Forcibly exhale your breath across the base of your tongue while making a “ha” sound.
- Relax and breathe normally.
- Repeat up to 7 times.
- Breathe deeply for 1 to 3 minutes.
Flex Your (Skincare) Muscles
While practicing face yoga or facial exercises may have some benefits, taking care of your skin is the best thing you can do for your overall skin health and appearance. Here are five tips you can practice every day.
Some studies* suggest that a diet low in protein, over the course of many months, can cause a loss in skin tone. Your skin may start to sag and wrinkle. Proteins are essential for tissue repair and the construction of new tissue. Cells need protein to maintain themselves, and the body uses protein to "replace" worn-out or dead skin cells. Including proteins in your diet from sources like chicken, meat, fish, soy or tofu will help you solve that concern. Protein shakes are also great options for protein consumption.
Apply sunscreen daily, even if it’s overcast because the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaches the earth regardless of cloud cover. When purchasing sunscreen products, always look for “broad spectrum protection” on the label to ensure you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember also not to stay out in the sun too long.
Hydration is important for your skin. When you are well hydrated, the skin benefits greatly, and the cells appear to be more plump. If you are exercising regularly, or living in a warm climate, taking extra care of your body’s hydration needs is essential.
Apply moisturizer every day
Moisturizers and body creams are great for the skin. Taking just a minute each day to replenish the skin with much-needed moisture can vastly improve how it looks and feels.
Get a good night’s sleep
There’s a reason they call it “beauty sleep.” It’s the closest thing to the fountain of youth. When we’re tired, our skin looks tired. It can look dehydrated and lose its youthful glow. Sleep also relaxes our facial muscles, renews the skin and may help smooth out the fine lines and wrinkles. A good night’s sleep also allows us to wake up feeling and looking refreshed.
- Garg, S., & Sangwan, A. (2019). Dietary Protein Deficit and Deregulated Autophagy: A New Clinico-diagnostic Perspective in Pathogenesis of Early Aging, Skin, and Hair Disorders. Indian dermatology online journal, 10(2), 115–124.https://doi.org/10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_123_18
- Cao, C., Xiao, Z., Wu, Y., & Ge, C. (2020). Diet and Skin Aging-From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients, 12(3), 870.https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030870