Many people tout the health benefits of yoga—mainly that it can keep you young inside and out—but new data suggests that the benefits might, indeed, be all-encompassing. Especially “face yoga”.
According to Joshua Ziechner, who is the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City, “There has long been anecdotal discussion that facial exercises improve the appearance of the aging face,” but until only very recently, no one had ever actually studied it.
But cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Murad Alam reports “The scientists looking at appearance changes found that the upper and lower cheeks were full after the study.” The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine vice chair in the department of dermatology, “Patients themselves found even greater benefits, and noticed that 18 of the 20 areas and features of the face that were studied got better over the course of the study.”
Indeed, for the very first time, scientists have looked at the evidence of facial exercises and published the findings in a small report in JAMA Dermatology. While not involved with this study, directly, Zeichner explains: “With age, the skin becomes thinner, as does fat and muscle under the skin. The idea behind facial exercises is that you can help thicken the muscle and essentially add padding underneath the skin.”
In order to test this theory that facial expressions keep faces young, the researchers gave various facial exercises to 27 women between the ages of 40 and 65.
The ladies were told to perform 30 minutes of facial exercises—which can include pushing yoru lips out (blowing a kiss) or widening your eyes and lifting your forehead (like you are surprised) or making a fish face over and over again— for eight weeks. For the remaining 12 weeks the participants were instructed to reduce these exercise to every other day.
Sure enough, the dermatologists noticed these women did show improvements in their facial health: more fullness in the cheeks and, on average, an “age loss” of about three years. And New York-based facialist, Cecilia Wong explains that it is like your face is going to the gym. She tells, “Your face is the only area that doesn’t really get a good workout. There’s actually a lot of muscles underneath the skin and you need to work out the muscles in order to keep it toned and sculpted.”