I must confess a fascination that I have had with the idea that facial exercises might prevent or even correct facial wrinkles. After all, doesn’t the idea of a muscle enlarging from exercise and therefore filling out loose skin sound appealing? Don’t people that exercise tend to look better than those who don’t?
After reviewing the scientific studies that are available, it would seem that the answer to the question of facial exercise helping facial wrinkles is: MAYBE IN CERTAIN CASES BUT NOT IN MOST.
Here are a few important take home points:
1. Most people who I see for facial rejuvenation have more than wrinkles that need correction. They have fat that has drooped, muscles that are producing prominent bands in the neck, and loose skin. Exercise can at best improve these issues to a minimal degree.
2. The enlargement of muscle that we see from exercise is modest at best. Think of all those women who do thousands of tummy crunches, and still have loose abdominal skin. Think also of all of those women with loose skin of their upper arms who spend hours doing upper arm exercises but still have loose skin to show. It’s the same for faces – the facial muscles just don’t enlarge that much from exercise, it would seem.
3. Some advocates of facial exercises state that the muscles will contract with exercise, therefore lifting the cheek fat back onto the cheekbone. If this occurred, it would exert an accordion effect on the skin and produce more wrinkles. That would not be helpful!
4. Other advocates of facial exercises state that the facial muscles will lengthen with exercise, therefore relaxing the wrinkles. Is that correct? The muscles in other parts of my body never seem to lengthen with exercise. They may feel less tight and perhaps lengthen with stretching which is the opposite of the contraction that occurs with exercise. So what is it – do the muscles lengthen or contract? You can’t have it both ways!!
My overall impression from these studies is that the case for the prevention &/or correction of facial wrinkles with facial exercise is a weak one. On the other hand, it can’t hurt to try, but you may find yourself frustrated by what is going to be minimal improvement if any.
To learn more about various facial rejuvenation procedures or other cosmetic treatments, feel free to contact our Encino plastic surgery facility for a consultation (818) 981-3333.