You’ve already tried face shaving, adding more mushrooms to your diet and drinking more superfood smoothies as a way to fight ageing, but there’s another new trend on the horizon that’s getting serious attention from workout studios and accredited researchers: facial yoga is making its way to the scene, and we’ll admit, we’re definitely intrigued.
While laughter yoga is meant to improve your immunity and give you more positive feelings, facial yoga is all about strengthening and training your facial muscles to help rejuvenate your face.
Plus, we all know that yoga itself has the power to improve your brain, ramp up your flexibility, and can even improve your sex life. Spoiler alert: it’s great for most every part of your mind and body.
Now, it’s also getting in to the facial anti-aging game thanks to new research published in JAMA Dermatology. Researchers from Northwestern University joined forces with the creative brain behind Happy Face Yoga to see if facial yoga had the power to “rejuvenate the aging face, presumably by inducing underlying muscle growth.”
And here’s the (not so) shocking news: the research backed up that theory.
Women who attended the two research sessions were between the ages of 60 and 65 and were then assigned to familiarize themselves with 32 different facial exercises and were told to continue to practice when they returned home.
“Facial exercises that may be beneficial include those that entail puckering and squeezing the cheeks,” says study author Dr. Murad Alam, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “There are many muscles that collectively allow movement of the cheeks, and our study showed that building these up makes the upper and lower cheeks look fuller.”
Among those exercises were two that researchers shared with the public:
The Cheek Lifter: Open mouth and form O, position upper lip over teeth, smile to lift cheek muscles up, put fingers lightly on top part of cheek, release check muscles to lower them, and lift back up. Repeat by lowering and lifting the cheeks.
The Happy Cheeks Sculpting: Smile without showing teeth, purse lips together, smile forcing cheek muscles up, place fingers on corners of the mouth and slide them up to the top of the cheeks, hold for 20 seconds.
The women continued doing these exercises for 20 weeks, after which they were evaluated by the researchers, and they found that the women looked, on average, three years younger. Their upper and lower cheeks were both more full (a sign of youthfulness) and generally looked happier.
“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 added.
Combat that with your moisturizers and plenty of water, and you’ll have the anti-aging trifecta. Read more about finding the secret to youthful skin: