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These Easy Face Exercises Could Make You Look Three Years Younger

Smile away the years.

No matter how healthy you are, your face will change as you age. As you get older, your face starts to lose some of its subcutaneous fat, particularly along the jawline, making it appear more hollower and more angular. By age 40, you've lost 10 to 20 percent of your collagen—the structural protein that keeps our skin elastic and makes us look young—causing your face to literally droop. And as the tissue around your eyes gets weaker, the fat that helped support them moves to the lower eyelids and takes the form of those mattresses under your eyes. But we've got some good news: According to a 2018 study published in JAMA Dermatology, doing face exercises for just 30 minutes a day could make you look years younger.

Researchers asked 27 women ages 40 to 65 to complete two sets of 90-minute exercises with a facial exercise instructor. They continued doing this face exercises at home for a half hour each day for the next eight weeks, then did them every other day for the next 12 weeks. Of the women recruited, 16 reported completing the exercises as instructed. Dermatologists then compared photographs of them before and after the trial and assessed them using a standardized facial-aging scale.

Ultimately, the dermatologists concluded that these participants looked almost a full three years younger by the end of the trial, particularly noting that their cheeks seemed fuller. The participants themselves also said they were very happy with the results—which is what really counts at the end of the day.

The study was limited, in that it had a very small sample size, was based on self-reports, and only included middle-aged women. But the results are promising nonetheless, and it's worth giving the exercises a go to see the effects for yourself.

"Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,"said Murad Alam, MD, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "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. The exercises enlarge and strengthen the facial muscles, so the face becomes firmer and more toned and shaped like a younger face. 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."

Read on for a few easy face exercises you can try yourself, courtesy of Happy Face Yoga founder and study co-author Gary J. Sikorski.

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The Cheek Lifter

the cheek lifter - face exercises
Subbotina Anna / Shutterstock

"Smile! Open your mouth and form a long 'O.' Fold your upper lip over your front teeth. Smile again to lift those cheek muscles up! Place your index fingers lightly on the top part of your cheek, right on top of the cheek muscles, directly under your eyes. Relax the cheek muscles, allowing them to return to their original, relaxed position. Smile again with the corners of your mouth to lift those cheek muscles back up. Visualize pushing the muscles up towards your eyes as you smile. You have just completed one 'pushup.' Do ten of these 'push-ups.'

"On the tenth 'push=up,' hold your cheek muscles up as high as you can. Imagine that your cheeks are moving up from your face towards the ceiling. Take your index fingers and move them an inch away from your face and then move the fingers up over the scalp area. This will help you visualize your cheek muscles moving up! Hold this position for 20 seconds while looking up towards your fingers. If you tighten your buttocks during these 20 seconds it will help to push your cheek muscles even harder. Release and relax. Repeat this exercise three more times."

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The Happy Cheeks Sculpting

fake smile- face exercises

"Smile without showing any teeth, while rolling your lips outward as if you were trying to show as much lip as possible. Try to smile with the corners of your mouth as you force all of your cheek muscles up. You should feel a slight 'burn' in your mouth corners. Place your index fingers at the corners of your mouth, just above the mouth corners, pressing firmly. Now slowly slide your index fingers up to your cheekbones, pressing deeply into the muscle, using very firm pressure. Maintaining that pressure, use your fingertips to lift those strands of muscle up and over the cheekbones, towards the corners of your eyes. When you get to the top of you cheekbones, stop, and press tightly, holding the muscles in place. Hold for twenty seconds. You should feel the muscles tightening in your cheeks.

"Be careful not to slide your fingers up too far, past your eyes, as you will lose the grip on those thin strands of muscle. For added pressure, and to help hold the grip in place, press your middle fingers on top of your index fingers. Keep long, deep breathing! Keep smiling with the corners of your mouth. Relax, then repeat this exercise two more times."

The Eyebrow Lifter

eyebrow lift exercise- face exercises
JRP Studio / Shutterstock

"Smile! Press three fingertips of each hand under your eyebrows to force your eyes open. Smile while trying to frown your eyebrows down against your fingers. Hold and breathe deeply. Now close your upper eyelids down tightly and roll your eyeballs up toward the top of your head. Hold tight for twenty seconds. Keep breathing deeply as you smile. Release and relax. Repeat this exercise three times."

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The Jaw and Neck Firmer

neck scooping facial exercise- face exercises
Tatyana Dzemileva / Shutterstock

"Smile! Open your mouth and make an 'Ahhh' sound. Fold your lower lip and the corners of your lips into your mouth and hold them tightly. Extend your lower jaw forward. Using your lower jaw only, scoop up very slowly as you close your mouth. Visualize you are using your jaw to scoop up something very heavy. Pull your chin up about an inch each time you scoop. tilting your head backwards. Open and close your lower jaw for 10 repetitions. On the final repetition, your chin should be pointed towards the ceiling. Keep the chin extended and hold this position tightly for 20 seconds, while visualizing the sides of your face lifting. Repeat this sequence three times."

The Temple Developer

temple facial exercise- face exercises
Ollyy / Shutterstock

"Smile! Place your fingers together at your temples. Press lightly on the temples while you close your jaw, clenching your teeth together and moving your chin up. Clench your teeth together, putting tension in the muscle as if you were trying to make your ears move backwards, as you concentrate and visualize the temple region. Hold your teeth tightly clenched for 10 seconds. Next, clench down on your back teeth for a count of ten, feeling your Temporalis muscle [located in your temples] flexing with each clench. Relax. Repeat this exercise three times.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. If you have health questions or concerns, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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