It seems intuitive—when you work out, muscles are toned and skin is tightened. But does that hold true for every muscle in the body? Well, Facial Yoga enthusiasts seem to think so. They are convinced that a yoga workout for the face—stimulating facial muscles with face "poses" or expressions—can actually tighten skin and fight the signs of aging.
Unfortunately, it may not work quite the way you think it should. "On some level the idea makes sense. We exercise and watch our diets to make sure we have good muscle tone in our body for a youthful appearance, so why wouldn’t it be the case for our face?" says Boston facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel, MD.
But face "workouts" don’t work to smooth wrinkles and tighten the face. In fact, they might make wrinkles worse. "It's exactly counter to reality. Wrinkles are the problem and wrinkles are caused by three basic things: The sun (which breaks down elasticity), natural aging (volume loss) and facial muscle activity," Dr. Spiegel says. It's all the facial expressions you make day in and day out that form wrinkles over time.
"Muscles are attached to skin, and as a result of moving skin back and forth, they create wrinkles. That means moving muscles in excess contributes to the undesirable appearance of wrinkles rather than relieving it," he adds.
It's actually by selectively weakening or relaxing the muscles in the face that helps to alleviate wrinkles. Injectable neurotoxins, like Botox, Dysport and Xeomin, have become increasingly popular because they are "purified proteins that relax the muscles of expression—muscles that cause wrinkles," says Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD.
So while it may sound fun to give your face an exercise every once in a while, it is only with a great skin-care routine and/or injectables that you can truly ward off signs of aging.