In the never-ending quest to stave off wrinkles without injections or scalpels, enter the Yoga Facelift. No mat is required, but the facial contortions that make up the routine are best performed in the privacy of your own home, rather than at a studio with others watching.
Facial yoga has actually been around for a few years. In fact, a YouTube channel launched 3 years ago called Face Yoga Method has nearly 75,000 subscribers with the number of views approaching 7 million on her entire channel. So yeah, it’s a thing.
The question: Is it a good thing? If the idea is to minimize facial wrinkles, the short answer is no. Despite all the compelling arguments you can find online about why scrunching up your face can help get rid of crow’s feet and worry lines, experts say the stretches will actually make them worse.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), for example, told LIVESTRONG®.com that the “blink-squint-grimace repetitions you practice in front of the mirror each day only make matters worse. … The AAD advises anyone who’s been performing facial exercises to prevent aging to stop before they compound their problems.”
Understanding why facial yoga undoubtedly will cause more wrinkles, rather than minimize them, starts with understanding what causes wrinkles to form in the first place. Sun exposure and gravity are 2 of the primary culprits. They create what are called static wrinkles, the kind seen when your face is relaxed.
Then there are dynamic wrinkles. In the time it takes to read article, you’ll probably arch your eyebrows a couple of times, smirk a bit and, hopefully, smile at least once. Each of those expressions requires the contraction of tiny facial muscles. Those muscles contract and relax repeatedly throughout the day, every day, for your entire life. That doesn’t really matter when you’re young because your skin is rich with collagen and it easily adjusts to all this movement.
But these repetitious movements start taking their toll on the skin surprisingly early — even in our late 20s. Fine lines and wrinkles start developing around the eyes and mouth and along the forehead. These are dynamic wrinkles — the ones that show up when we make expressions. Over time, they tend to linger even when we relax our faces.
So all those facial yoga contortions are really just speeding up the development of dynamic wrinkles. The idea that toning your facial muscles yields the same benefits as crunches do for your tummy sounds good, but it is ultimately misguided. You don’t get wrinkles from loss of elasticity in your muscles; you get wrinkles in your skin. And repetitive movement creates creases in the skin.
In fact, BOTOX® Cosmetic, regarded worldwide as a fantastic solution for wrinkles, works by temporarily immobilizing the facial muscles that do all that movement. The specialists at Plastic Surgery Center of the South in Marietta, Georgia, even say patients can postpone the need for a facelift by getting BOTOX treatments when they first notice signs of aging, using it preventively.
“You may be in your late 20s or early 30s and start to notice faint lines and creases on your face,” the practice’s website says. “You can prevent these dynamic wrinkles from becoming noticeable with regular BOTOX treatments.”
Of course, one appeal of the facial yoga trend is that it doesn’t cost a dime. Injectable treatments such as BOTOX and dermal fillers, which can be combined for a comprehensive facial treatment, are affordable alternatives to surgery but must be repeated to maintain the results. That’s why budget-friendly rewards programs are popping up to motivate individuals to pursue regular anti-aging treatments.
There are, of course, some basic steps to keeping skin looking young and healthy. Tops on the list is protecting it from the sun. Don’t smoke. And, finally, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
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