- Proponents of skin tightening exercises claim they are a viable natural alternative to cosmetic procedures and surgeries.
- Little research has been conducted into the efficacy of facial exercises and results of past studies are not sufficiently representative.
- Facial exercises require a significant time investment for any possible results to become apparent.
- Cosmetic products and procedures are a more dependable solution to tighten skin.
The skin on your face and neck sags and loses its elasticity over time as a result of aging, genetics and exposure to the sun. Rapid weight loss can also cause loose skin and jowls.
Many beauty gurus and proponents of natural remedies recommend skin tightening exercises for the face and neck. Facial exercises can be done from the comfort of your own home without the cost or side effects associated with other skin tightening methods. For many, facial exercises offer a holistic approach.
Can Facial Exercises Tighten Skin?
The concept behind facial exercise, or facial yoga, is similar to that of exercises performed on other parts of the body. Proponents and practitioners of facial exercise believe that exercising your face muscles tightens them while toning loose skin.
However, while some dermatologists and medical professionals recommend facial exercises, there is controversy over their efficacy, as few recent studies have been conducted into the results of these exercises.
Those studies that do exist were not performed on large sample sizes and so the efficacy can not be determined.
Skin Tightening Exercises for the Face
There is some evidence that skin tightening exercises work when practiced consistently for 30 minutes per day for eight weeks and every other day for the following 12 weeks. After this period, your upper and lower cheek may appear more full and you may notice a more youthful appearance in your face and neck.
The tightening effect achieved by facial exercise is believed to be a result of postexercise hypertrophy, or the increased size of a muscle following growth of its component cells. Further research is required to determine the precise way, if any, that facial skin is tightened after exercise.
Two exercises believed to have some efficacy on tightening the facial skin are the cheek lifter and the happy cheeks sculpting exercises.
The Cheek Lifter
- Open your mouth to form an “O”
- Pull your upper lip over your top teeth
- Smile to lift up your cheek muscles
- Lightly place your fingers on the top of each cheek to make your skin taut
- With your fingers in place, relax your cheek muscles
- Repeat by lowering and lifting your cheek muscles for about a minute
Happy Cheeks sculpting
- Smile while keeping your lips pressed together
- Purse your lips
- Smile to force your cheek muscles up
- Put your fingers on the corners of your mouth and slide them up to the top of your cheeks
- Hold this position for 20 seconds
- Repeat these steps for about a minute
There are a wide variety of other facial exercises available to add to your exercise routine. For advice, you can consult a facialist, masseuse or cosmetic professional to tailor an exercise that meets your needs and level of skin laxity.
Are Skin Tightening Exercises Worth It?
There is little evidence to suggest that facial exercises are an effective means of tightening skin. After exercising your face on a regular basis, you may notice some improvement in your skin’s elasticity, but scientific research hasn’t yet proven that these exercises are effective.
While there is no monetary cost to practicing facial yoga, its benefits, if any, require a substantial amount of time each day. Compounding upon this effort is the requirement to consistently practice facial exercise every day, or every other day, for about five months before any possible benefits are visible.
There is no direct evidence linking facial exercises to any side effects, but overuse of the muscles in your face may contribute to the development of wrinkles and crow’s feet. As a result, skin tightening exercises may actually have the opposite effect.
If you have previously had injectables, such as dermal fillers, some doctors recommend consulting with your dermatologist before trying facial exercise. Exercise may negatively impact how long fillers last.
Alternatives to Skin Tightening Exercises
In contrast to exercises, certain skin care products have proven efficacy for tightening and toning loose skin. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription topicals such as creams, lotions and toners are made with ingredients that increase collagen production (the protein responsible for giving your skin its elasticity) and antioxidants, anti-aging ingredients that help protect your skin.
Look for skin care topicals that contain some combination of:
Skin tightening home remedies are another possible solution for improving skin laxity, but many DIY solutions are of questionable efficacy. Home remedies that demonstrate some degree of skin tightening are those that make use of the same ingredients found in cosmetic products. Still, natural remedies are not as effective as professionally-formulated skin care products.
Proven, long-lasting and dramatic skin tightening can be achieved through cosmetic procedures and surgeries, depending on your specific needs and desires.
Facial exercises and yoga are a low-cost, low-risk alternative to cosmetic products and procedures. Proponents of skin tightening exercises often recommend them as an all-natural solution to combat loose skin, wrinkles, skin laxity and other signs of aging.
However, there is little evidence to support their efficacy in tightening skin. The prevailing theory as to the effectiveness is the belief that it increases the size of facial muscles to subsequently tighten the skin, but further research is required.
A consistent and time-consuming exercise routine may result in some improvement to the face’s skin elasticity, but it may also lead to more prominent wrinkles and lines. Currently, OTC cosmetics and dermatological procedures are well-researched and effective methods of tightening the skin compared to the as yet unproven skin tightening exercises.
- John Van Borsel, Marie-Camille De Vos, Karen Bastiaansen, Jaira Welvaert, Jo Lambert, The Effectiveness of Facial Exercises for Facial Rejuvenation: A Systematic Review, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 22–27, https://doi.org/10.1177/1090820X13514583
- Alam M, Walter AJ, Geisler A, et al. Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(3):365–367. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.5142
- Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 308–319. doi:10.4161/derm.22804