Can Face Yoga Really Help Slow the Aging Process?
When it comes to dating, we want to showcase our inner best selves and want to look our best.
However, climbing the career ladder takes priority for many and settling down can often be pushed back well into your 30s or 40s. After noticing the early signs of aging and stress on your face, you may begin to doubt whether you're still good enough to find someone worthy to share your life with.
While true beauty often comes from your personality, there are tools to potentially help your face age gracefully. For instance, face yoga has become quite a popular exercise, as it purportedly helps slow down the aging process while boosting confidence and making you feel happier.
Yoga for the face? Well, yes, it consists of facial exercises and massage to tone and stretch the muscles, and promote lymphatic drainage.
Looking three years younger in 20 weeks
A study published in March 2018 found that 30 minutes of facial exercises daily for eight weeks, followed by 12 weeks of every other day, resulted in looking about three years younger. The research reported a high participant satisfaction rate, "noting significant improvement in 18 of 20 facial features." However, this small study only involved 16 women aged 40 to 65.
Karina Trygubchak, a skincare influencer based in Ukraine and founder of the Los Angeles-based online beauty store, Karina More, disagrees with "the idea that facial muscles, like any other muscles in our body, need training and stretching." Trygubchak has been studying a wide range of different techniques for rejuvenating and restoring the skin on the face, and muscles of both the face and the body over the past 10 years.
Her own method is instead based on the concept of relaxing facial muscles.
"When facial muscles are in a state of tension, they contract and essentially pull the skin tissues, resulting in folds and wrinkles that we see on the skin," Trygubchak said.
Relaxing facial muscles can do wonders for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, said Ahmad Chaudhry, M.B.B.S., a house physician and dermatology consultant for Allied Hospital Faisalabad in Pakistan and consultant dermatologist for the hair health website, Scandinavian Biolabs.
"By increasing blood circulation and promoting lymphatic drainage, your skin receives essential nutrients and oxygen while flushing out toxins and excess fluids," he said. "This process not only contributes to healthier skin but also helps reduce puffiness, leading to a more defined jawline and reduced double chin."
Posture plays a huge role in maintaining a youthful look
During the first week, Trygubchak's 21-day marathon programs focus solely on either the posture or the abdomen, chest and neck area, without touching the face. And yet, people begin seeing initial changes. While facial exercises are not essential under the age of 25, Trygubchak said taking care of their posture is.
"If there are no issues with the neck and posture, a beautiful and healthy face will remain for a long time," she said.
Chaudhry said poor posture can result in muscle imbalances, restrict blood flow and increase tension in the face and neck, which may contribute to developing wrinkles and sagging skin over time.
The lymphatic system works from bottom to top in the body, Trygubchak said, while in the head, it's the other way around—with the neck being the bridge between the two.
"If there are problems in the neck, such as dowager's hump, text neck syndrome, trapezius muscle spasms, and many others, you will never be able to solve issues such as dull skin tone, facial swelling, dark circles under the eyes, puffy eyes and much more," she said, adding that pigmentation spots and rosacea are related to these processes.
Additionally, normal blood flow and lymphatic drainage (excess fluid) are compromised.
"In the area of the seventh cervical vertebra, where the dowager's hump begins to form, important arteries and veins pass, which supply blood to the head and upper body," Trygubchak said. "[When] the dowager's hump is just starting to appear, blood flow is already impaired, which causes headaches, migraines, deteriorating vision, and many other significant problems. The list can go on endlessly."
No matter how many facial exercises you do, she emphasized that without addressing the root cause and resolving the fundamental problem, there won't be any super effect.
Benefits are not limited to beauty
Trygubchak suggested making the 15-minute posture exercises become a daily routine. Together with the facial exercises, it should be a 30- to 40-minute daily commitment and she emphasized these exercises can benefit both women and men.
The changes people experience are not limited to beauty, she added, they're about physical and mental health. Feedback included improved self-esteem and sleep, headaches and sinusitis going away, people coming out of long-term depression, and recovering from long-term traumas and accidents.
"Relationships in couples also improve because when you change, people around you also start to change," she said. "Therefore, it's never too late. You just need to start, and the result will not make you wait, no matter how old you are—20, 30 or 50."
Facial exercises are a great way to slow down the aging process and boost confidence in dating and relationships, Chaudhry said. It can help you achieve a more radiant and youthful look by stimulating blood flow, increasing collagen production and maintaining facial muscle tone.
"Practicing face yoga helps you feel more connected to your body and comfortable in your skin, leading to increased self-confidence," he added. "This newfound confidence can enhance your ability to form meaningful connections and engage in positive social interactions in your romantic life."