It’s pretty much a given that you’re going to look older as you age. And, while some people are totally cool with that, it’s understandable that you might want to try to do what you can to retain your youthful looks.
Now, a new study published in JAMA Dermatology found that regularly doing facial exercises—also known as face yoga—might help you look younger than you are. If you’re not familiar with the concept, facial exercises are basically a workout for your face that will allegedly help tone your facial muscles, keep your skin from sagging, and reduce wrinkles. These claims haven’t been scientifically proven, but some people swear by them.
For the study, researchers taught 27 women between the ages of 40 and 65 facial exercises over two training sessions. Then, the women were encouraged to do the exercises daily for 30 minutes for the first eight weeks of the study, followed by every other day from weeks nine through 20. Photographers took pictures of the women before they began doing the exercises, again at week eight, and then at week 20. They then asked dermatologists to look at 19 different features of the women’s faces and have them rate how old they thought the women were.
Only 16 women actually did the entire thing (because hello, that’s pretty time-consuming), but the results are definitely worth noting. Physicians concluded that the women had more upper and lower cheek fullness, and estimated their average ages to be about two years younger after 20 weeks of doing the exercises.
The women were also into the results and said they also noticed improvement in all areas of their faces.
It’s worth pointing out that the study was really small and it’s hard to say that the facial exercises actually caused the women to look younger. Still, this sounds like some pretty promising findings for facial exercises.
But, if you really want to try the exercises, there are a few you can do. Participants in the study did a range of facial exercises for a minute each. One is The Cheek Lifter, which involves opening your mouth and forming O, positioning your upper lip over your teeth, smiling to lift your cheek muscles up, putting your fingers lightly on the top part of cheek, releasing your check muscles to lower them, and lifting back up. (You repeat it by lowering and lifting your cheeks.) Another is The Happy Cheeks Sculpting. To do it, smile without showing your teeth, purse your lips together, smile forcing your cheek muscles up, place your fingers on corners of your mouth and slide them up to the top of the cheeks. Then, hold that for 20 seconds.
Overall, if you’re worried about fine lines and wrinkles, it’s really best to talk to your dermatologist. They’ll likely recommend Botox which is known to make people look younger.