Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by Kaden
The Fountain of Youth remains elusive for those searching to turn back the clock. Unfortunately, time marches on and the effects can show on our faces. However, there are multiple options available at our fingertips that will slow the effects of time, if not reverse it a few years. And a couple of those methods don’t even involve serums, creams, or moisturizers.
Enter face yoga and its cousin, face massage. These two similar methods have the same aim: restore a youthful look and revitalize the skin. Followers of each method tout it as being an effective solution that turns back the clock; and indeed, there is evidence that face yoga and face massage do exactly that (although promising, it should be noted that the studies are small in scale).
Although the methods are similar in purpose, the execution and process are quite different. This article will discuss the differences between Face Yoga and Face Massage, any disadvantages, and benefits, if they cause wrinkles, and alternatives.
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Benefits of Face Yoga
Similar to bicep curls for firmer arms or squats for stronger glutes, face yoga involves exercising the 57 different muscles within the face, scalp, and neck. This is accomplished through exaggerated facial expressions which work the muscles in the face. Over time, as with the bicep curls and squats, the muscles will strengthen, causing lift and a more youthful appearance.
Sound great, but does it work? There is evidence to support that it does, via a study conducted at Northwestern University. After two 90-minute training sessions, a group of women aged 40-65 engaged in facial exercises based on face yoga for a period of 20 weeks total (30 mins per day for the first eight weeks, and 30 mins every other day for the 12 weeks following.)
At the end of the study, both the women and dermatologists concluded that the exercises did indeed make them look younger, especially in the cheek area: study participants saw fuller cheeks (the muscles grew from the exercises). This counteracts drooping skin and helps give a more youthful appearance.
Benefits of Face Massage
Face massage centers mainly around the lymph nodes located on the neck and under the ears. It helps drain toxins when these areas become blocked. It’s thought that blocked lymph nodes make the face appear dull and puffy, so draining them through massage will assist in a brighter look.
Related Post: 5 Most Reliable Face Massage Tools
Similarly, the skin of the face is also manipulated and massaged, which increases blood flow. This in turn increases oxygen and nutrients to the skin and stimulates collagen production. The results? Lifted skin, a healthy glow, and release of muscle tension.
As for visible results: Looking at the Face Gym Instagram, a popular face massage company, there are “before and after” pictures showing results in as little as eight days.
However, it’s important to note that while face massage appears to be effective, the benefits don’t last long without continual follow-up massages. You’ll need to get into facial massage as a consistent routine, but they can either be done at home or with a professional. A light massage each day is helpful, with a more in-depth home facial weekly, or a monthly professional session.
Disadvantages of Face Massage vs Face Yoga
Although both systems appear to have merit, there are some disadvantages tied to each.
For example, face yoga is a significant time commitment. If the Northwestern study referenced above is any indication of the time commitment involved, this may be out of reach for many people. This takes a lot of time and consistency in order to see results.
Face massage has its drawbacks as well. It also needs to be done continuously to maintain results, and if you do facial injectables or fillers, you’ll need to be careful. Don’t do face massage too soon after getting injectables – wait about two weeks after getting Botox and four weeks after getting fillers (source).
Also be aware that if you do use injectables, the face massage may cause them to metabolize faster, meaning the results won’t last as long. Make sure to advise your facialist that you have injectables when you meet with them.
But What About Wrinkles?
Happily, neither method causes wrinkles. It seems somewhat counterintuitive that exaggerated facial expressions or manual skin manipulation wouldn’t cause these concerns, but if anything, these methods can help reverse them.
The creator of Happy Face Yoga (on which the Northwestern study’s exercises were utilized), Gary Sikorski, says that as your facial muscles firm up, you will notice fewer lines and wrinkles. Indeed, the Northwestern study’s author, Dr. Murad Alam, noted that no participants experienced wrinkles because of the study. In fact, because of the fuller cheeks, they noticed the opposite.
Face massage should not cause wrinkles on your skin either – a small 2017 study noted improvement in lower eyelids, cheeks, and smile lines after doing facial massage.
Whichever method you choose, wrinkles should not be a concern.
When it comes to alternatives, there are several different ways to go about face massages, and there are other alternatives altogether.
For face massage: you can schedule a massage at a spa, or you can do them at home yourself. As far as the DIY crowd, there are several options there too – you can use your fingers, a jade roller, or a tool called Gua Sha, a smooth stone made of crystal that you can “scrape” across your face to help massage the skin. These are just a couple of examples: there are also facial wands and other tools that can assist with face massage.
Face Gym, one of the companies that specialize in face massage, even has online “workout classes.”
Of course, if face yoga or face massage isn’t your thing, there are still wonderful moisturizers, serums, and exfoliators on the market. They will not impact the muscles or lymphatic system as these two methods will, but you will still have healthier younger-looking skin.
There are also injectables that will give your face a firmer look.
Related: 10 Best Tools for a Spa Day at Home
In a world where we continually seek the answer for younger-looking skin and a healthy glow, face yoga and face massage to appear to be two different, yet similar possibilities with comparable benefits and disadvantages. The studies that back them up are small but exciting and promising. Each method has ardent believers who swear by it, and the risks are small, while the rewards could be great. Whether you choose to see a facialist, use an at-home tool, or learn a face yoga workout, chances are good that it will change your skin for the better.