Findings of first real study of face yoga are legit surprising

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We’ve all heard of facial exercises but most are probably skeptical of any potential benefits.

So, the results of the first ever scientific study on the topic is probably going to surprise a lot of people: face yoga appears to work to make people look significantly younger in a fairly short time period.

Researchers at Northwestern University found that 30-minutes of facial exercises every day and every second day over a period of 20 weeks resulted in a younger appearance in middle-aged women, “with fuller upper and lower cheeks.” According to a media release, this is the first scientific study to test the capacity for facial exercise to improve appearance.

“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” lead author Dr. Murad Alam, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is quoted as saying. “The exercises enlarge and strengthen the facial muscles, so the face becomes firmer and more toned and shaped like a younger face.

“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,” Alam said.

Skin loses elasticity with aging, and so “fat pads” between muscle and skin become thinner. These pads help provide the shape of the face, and as they thin, the skin falls, causing the face to lose structure. But if the muscle bulks up, it acts as a replacement pad and the skin has more “stuffing,” causing the face to fill out, said Emily Poon, senior study author, and an assistant research professor of dermatology at Feinberg.

“Muscle growth is increasing the facial volume and counteracting the effects of age-related fat thinning and skin loosening,” said Poon.

For the study, middle-aged women aged 40 to 65 underwent two 90-minute training sessions from a facial exercise instructor. Participants continued to do the exercises at home for 20 weeks, every day for the first eight weeks, and every second day through weeks 9-20.

Photos taken at week one, week eight, and week 20 were then assessed by two blinded dermatologists using a standardized facial aging scale. The raters found that upper and lower cheek fullness was significantly enhanced after the exercise period, and the average estimated age of the participants decreased from 50.8 to 48.1 years.

“That’s almost a three-year decrease in age appearance over a 20-week period,” Alam said.

The media release adds that “Participants also reported being highly satisfied with the results and noticed improvement on nearly all the facial areas that were rated.”

The facial exercises were developed and provided by Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga, a coauthor on the study.

Related:

Trend watch: is it time to stop using the term “anti-aging”?

 

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(Image: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo)

 

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