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Facial yoga may just be better than botox

Courtney Leiva is a lifestyle writer who has contributed to Women's Health, Byrdie, HelloGiggles, StyleBistro and many more.

Facial yoga may sound crazy, but people swear by it

It makes perfect sense to build up your body muscles through some strengthening yoga poses, but can the same theory actually work in achieving a tighter and wrinkle-free face?


As head-scratching is it may sound, facial yoga is one trend that’s surely on the rise. And with Youtube videos and tutorials popping up everywhere online, these special exercises are said to tighten and tone sagging skin, making it a non-invasive alternative to costly cosmetic procedures.

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But if you are a little weary on trying this trend out, we’ve asked some experts to weigh in on the latest trend. And offering both advantages and disadvantages of a strict facial yoga regimen, here’s some insight to help you determine if facial yoga is better than Botox.

How does facial yoga work?

Despite its recent popularity, facial toning exercises have actually been around since ancient times. Despite some advances throughout history, it really wasn’t until the 1950s that the practice started to gain more attention.

“It has gained media attention many times over the years, despite having no scientific proof that the technique actually works,” says dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Fast forward to 2016, and facial yoga itself is more popular than ever. Nowadays, celebrity endorsements and apps on social media have helped put the technique into the spotlight. And unlike years prior, interested parties can now become certified face yoga instructors, thanks to newfound facial yoga courses.

But as time has gone by, the goal of facial yoga remains unchanged. Designated to ward away any signs of aging, exercises are usually intended to relax and tone up sagging facial muscles. And usually done for a few minutes each day, the theory is that if you routinely do such exercises, you can expect to reverse the aging clock.

“Facial yoga involves a series of facial exercises that are intended to relax and tone the muscles,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “These facial expressions are done in hopes of preventing wrinkles and sagging skin.”

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Does it help with fine lines and wrinkles?

Facial yoga is said to boast anti-aging benefits without the help of creams or surgical needles, but some dermatologists aren’t exactly sold on such claims. Experts like board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman believe that repetitive movements caused by such exercises, can actually put a lot of stress on the face. This often makes fine lines and wrinkles look more pronounced.

“Facial yoga exercises often involve a strong squint, looking to the ceiling or make an o shape with your mouth,” Jaliman says. “Exercises like these involve moving the muscles of the face, and the more you move a muscle, the more you crease the skin underlying the muscle. That's how you end up with deeper lines and wrinkles.”

And in addition to accelerated signs of aging, Dr. Schlessinger also advises to be wary of your safety when doing such exercises. If not done carefully, certain poses can cause injuries (especially strained muscles) if too much stress is applied onto the face.

“One of the most common injuries people sustain during regular yoga is strained muscles,” he says. “Obviously, facial yoga is a little different, but the same general idea applies. If you put too much stress on your facial muscles, you could end up with an injury.”

Try facial massages instead

While some dermatologists warn against the dangers of facial yoga, others think some poses have the potential to work. Being that facial muscles have opposing muscles, Dr. Gordon Kaplan finds that focusing on the good muscles can give your complexion an added boost.

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“All facial muscles have opposing muscles, says Kaplan. “By strengthening the good muscles, or the muscles that oppose gravity, then facial serenity or rejuvenation is enhanced.”

But if you agree that facial yoga is more hype than anything else, Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection recommends trying facial massages instead.

“Facial massage is excellent for maintaining skin elasticity,” Vargas says. “My favorite facial massage is lymphatic drainage, as it certainly a tool that anyone can use to make the face look rejuvenated and glowing.”

Unlike your typical massage, lymphatic massages function more like a massage for your lymph-nodes, offering both anti-aging and anti-puffing benefits. To try lymphatic massages for yourself, follow Vargas’s steps below, for some necessary facial rejuvenation.

“For dry skin, massage the skin in circular motions upward. Start at the base of the neck on the sides where your arteries are. Massage in gentle circles upwards, towards the jaw, up the sides of the face and around the eyes,” Vargas says. “This will help coax nutrients into the tissue. You want to do the opposite motion and start on the top of the face, by the eyes. If you are prone to breakouts – this will draw any waste away.”

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