Monday, October 2, 2023

Is Face Yoga Better at Anti-Aging Than Botox?


Turn back the hands of time using…your hands? Face yoga may just be the best anti-aging cure since Botox.

From collagen serums and retinol creams to chemical peels and, of course, injectables like Botox, there’s certainly no shortage of anti-aging products on the market. But what if you could tackle fine lines and wrinkles using only your fingers?

It’s called face yoga, a combination of facial exercises, acupressure, and massage therapy. But unlike other age-defying products, this technique is non-invasive and doesn’t feature any icky toxins. And the best part is, it’s free.

“Face yoga is very useful if you want to reduce signs of aging and tension,” explains face yoga expert Danielle Collins. “Whether you are starting to see the first signs of aging or if you have deep set lines and wrinkles, the exercises and techniques will be beneficial for you.”

What is face yoga?

Did you know that the face contains more than 40 muscles? The neck has upwards of 20 muscles, which help to stabilize the head, neck, and the upper portion of the spine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

Similar to how your body needs regular exercise in order to stay firm and toned, face and neck muscles must also be exercised in order to stay fit.

“As they become stronger through exercise they are lifted and firmed and the skin attached to the muscles is also lifted and tautened, therefore reducing lines and wrinkles,” explains Collins.

a woman with eyes closed
Photo courtesy Thien Dang

Collins, who created the Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method, says regularly massaging the face can help remove toxins and boost circulation and lymph flow.

“This will reduce poor skin tone, puffiness, and dark circles and allow the skin to look healthier and more youthful,” she says. “The massage techniques may also increase the collagen and elastin, the natural plumping agents which will mean a firmer and healthier complexion.”

A 2018 study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology studied the effects of facial yoga — which included eyebrow lifter, cheek sculpting, and jaw firming exercises, among others — over the course of 20 weeks. At the end of the study, participants looked three years younger across the board.

“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Murad Alam.

“Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study, individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way for looking younger or to augment other cosmetic or anti-aging treatments they may be seeking,” Dr. Alam added.

The benefits of facial yoga

The positive effects of face yoga may go far beyond the physical. 

Although little research has been done into the long-term impacts of facial yoga, studies do suggest that it may help improve overall mental health, including boosting mood and reducing depressive symptoms.

young woman touching her face
The benefits of face exercises go beyond the physical. | Photo courtesy Arina Shilyaeva

Similar to other types of yoga, facial exercises may also help people de-stress and feel calmer.

According to Collins — who incorporates a well-being aspect into her Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method — “what happens on the inside, radiates on the outside.”

“Practising face yoga can give you a sense of calm in the mind and energy in the body so the benefits go deeper than just the external appearance,” she adds.

How to practice facial exercises

In order to see long-lasting benefits, the exercises must be practiced on a regular basis. Collins recommends setting aside 20 minutes daily, six days a week, for optimal effects.

“But anything is better than nothing, even a couple of minutes is fine, as long as you are doing it regularly,” she says.

In addition to the massages and exercises, acupressure should also be incorporated. The technique involves putting pressure on specific points of the face, frequently using a circular or rolling motion.

woman with curly hair with hands touching face
Facial exercises may also improve mental health. | Photo by Gabriella Ally via Pexels

“This can increase the flow of the subtle energy or prana in the face,” explains Collins. Prana, or life force energy, refers to the flow of energy in and out of the body through breath. “This, therefore, reduces tension, increases circulation, and gives a healthy glow to the skin.”

It’s good to note that excess muscle activity may actually bring about more wrinkles, such as laugh lines from repetitive smiling or forehead wrinkles from excessive frowning.

Collins advises those interested in facial yoga to meet with an accredited teacher to ensure exercises are done correctly. An instructor will also be able to give modifications for those who have underlying health issues or skin problems.

“If you do have any particular needs, health issues, or any of the exercises feel uncomfortable for you please consult your doctor before using the program,” she recommends.

To learn more about Collins’ face yoga method, visit her site.

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