The human face is the most recognizable part of a person and most often, also the most judged part of the person as it is the first thing anyone looks at when communicating with other people. Facial aesthetics and appearance are the major determinants of how one is perceived and understood by others. Hence making the face one of the most important features of one’s body.
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Aging severely affects the facial skin and appearance, taking away the brightness and the spry look from the face. Aging may result in the loss of elasticity in the skin, meaning the facial skin starts to sag which can remove any sort of definition of the face. For example, the jawline won’t be prominent anymore if the skin sags.
Sagging of skin can also be due to other reasons, like genetic conditions or extensive facial reconstruction interventions. However, aging remains to be the main reason and since it is something that strongly impacts the facial appearance, many have come up with solutions for it, both invasive and non-invasive.
Facial sagging can be reversed using acupuncture, acupressure, and exercise using a facial muscle exercise device (FMED). Facial exercises using FMED have become the recent hype, especially since many influencers on social media apps, TikTok and Instagram have started to use them.
The Facial Muscle Exercise Devices have become the next best thing for achieving a defined jawline and facial structure. But are they even effective?
Facial exercises and yoga has always been recommended to those with mild to moderate facial skin sagging, along with healthy eating and full body exercises to lose weight, which can be a reason for skin sagging. In fact, there are several videos online showing different exercises that can help one achieve a perfectly defined facial structure.
In a 12 week, randomized controlled trial conducted on the elderly with a median age of 75 years, it was found that a regular, 30 minutes long facial workout regime could improve facial expressions and appearance significantly (1). Although the main aim of the study was to evaluate if the workout regime had any mental health benefits on the elderly, which it did, the improvement of facial expressions was an added bonus, and a pleasant one at that too.
This randomized clinical trial effectively proves that facial exercises can reduce skin sagging and improve facial expressions. However, they found that the skin sagging wasn’t completely reversed but that might be due to the advanced age of the subjects. So, it may be fully effective in younger people.
In another review study, the authors searched the Medline, Web of Science, Science Direct, SciELO, and LILACS databases to find studies regarding facial rejuvenation and facial exercises (2). All of the studies found had shown a positive impact of facial exercises, hence confirming the importance of facial exercises in rejuvenating the face and reviving the youthful appearance.
So, if facial exercises are efficient, why are FMEDs required? Many people online argue that FMEDs are bad for oral health and are not effective in reducing the sagginess of the skin. However, scientific evidence has a different answer.
In an eight weeks long clinical trial, 50 female subjects were asked to perform facial exercises twice a day, for thirty seconds each using an FMED called Pao (3). Facial Fitness’ Pao is a very popular FMED that has even been endorsed by the football superstar, Christiano Ronaldo.
After eight weeks of use, female subjects were assessed and the results found that the skin thickness had increased while jawline surface distances had decreased significantly, indicating the efficiency of Pao.
This study, along with the others mentioned above, can be seen as the evidence needed to support the use of FMEDs and Facial exercises in facial rejuvenation. However, it is important to note that these do not reverse the effect completely and the FMEDs should be used carefully and for a short period of time at any single given time to prevent damage to the oral cavity.
(1) Okamoto, Rumiko, and Katsuyoshi Mizukami. Nihon Ronen Igakkai zasshi. Japanese journal of geriatrics vol. 55,1 (2018): 74-80. doi:10.3143/geriatrics.55.74 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29503371/
(2) Van Borsel, John et al. “The effectiveness of facial exercises for facial rejuvenation: a systematic review.” Aesthetic surgery journal vol. 34,1 (2014): 22-7. doi:10.1177/1090820X13514583 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24327764/
(3) Hwang, Ui-Jae et al. “Effect of a Facial Muscle Exercise Device on Facial Rejuvenation.” Aesthetic surgery journal vol. 38,5 (2018): 463-476. doi:10.1093/asj/sjx238 https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/38/5/463/4818300