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Can Anti-Aging Facial Exercises Work?

For most of us, we’d rather not see the evidence of aging right on our faces. That’s why countless medical procedures have cropped up to reverse those inevitable signs of aging.

But there may be less costly and invasive ways to help skin retain a more youthful appearance.

Anti-aging facial exercises, sometimes called facial yoga or facial gymnastics, are an emerging way to fight the signs of aging and maintain a full, youthful face, according to some research. And, they can easily be used in conjunction with prescription anti-aging treatments for more significant results.

How Do Facial Exercises Help With Aging?

By developing the muscles in the face, you can give it a fuller, more vibrant appearance. That's the case according to recent research from Northwestern University.

While it was once thought that all movement of the face leads to wrinkles and works against anti-aging practices, it’s more recently been found that evidence of aging on the face is not only tied to the surface movements but also the quality of the deeper substructures, including the muscle and fat. 

A study conducted by Northwestern University on the effectiveness of facial exercises found that a person’s perceived age dropped after following a consistent regimen of regular facial exercises for 20 weeks.

Participants in the study reported that they felt their skin looked younger afterward.

Blinded ratings showed significant improvement in upper and lower cheek fullness for participants in the study, and blinded raters estimated the age of participants dropped from an average of 50.8 years at baseline to 48.1 years at 20 weeks. Participants in the study were highly satisfied, noting significant improvement in 18 of 20 facial features.

The study was small and designed to be a pilot, but the results are encouraging for this new approach to fighting aging. And the rationale is there. Just like the rest of the muscles in your body, if the muscles in your face aren’t exercised properly, they won’t maintain firmness. By strengthening your facial muscles using intentional, proven practices, you may be giving your face a youthful boost.

How Often Should You Do Facial Exercises?

For best results, it may make sense to follow the experts: the study above had participants do their facial exercises every day for 30 minutes. Though it might seem like a lot, the more consistently you do the exercises the more effective they’ll be. If every day is too much of a commitment, try every other day.

Facial Exercises for Each Area

Facial exercises, like exercises for the rest of the body, are often specially designed to address one specific issue and muscle group. Here are 14 facial exercises divided up by area of the face so that you can craft the anti-aging facial exercises routine that makes the most sense for you and your face.

Exercises for the Forehead

The forehead is an area of the face where many people experience their most noticeable lines and wrinkles. Practice these exercises to strengthen the frontalis muscle.

Exercise 1:

  1. Place your pointer finger at the top of your eye socket between your eye and eyebrow.
  2. Raise the eyebrow while pulling down the skin around the eye, stretching the skin.
  3. Repeat a total of 10 times.
  4. Switch to the other eye and repeat steps 1 through 3.

Exercise 2:

  1. Raise both eyebrows gently as though in surprise.
  2. Lower slowly.
  3. Repeat a total of 10 times.

Exercise 3:

  1. Make fists with both of your hands.
  2. Press fists against your forehead with your index fingers lined up against the head.
  3. Pull your fists outward toward the ears, keeping the knuckles of your index fingers pressed against your forehead.
  4. Push the knuckles gently into your temples.
  5. Repeat a total of four times.

Exercise 4:

  1. Frown seriously, drawing the eyebrows down over the eyes as much as possible.
  2. Reverse this, lifting the eyebrows high with eyes open very wide.
  3. Repeat five times.

Exercises for the Cheeks

Sagging cheeks can be a concern for many people as they age. Use these exercises to improve muscle strength in the cheeks and potentially give your face a fuller appearance.

Exercise 5:

  1. Draw in breath, filling your cheeks up with air, and keeping your mouth closed.
  2. Force the air in your mouth from side to side, working the muscles of your cheeks.
  3. Form an O with your mouth and release the air from it.
  4. Repeat a total of five times.

Exercise 6:

  1. Pretend as though you are very deliberately chewing a big wad of gum.
  2. Continue for 30 seconds, working the cheek muscles.

Exercise 7:

  1. Smiling widely, press fingers against the cheeks under the apples.
  2. Pull down with your fingers as you lift your cheek muscles with your smile.
  3. Repeat a total of five times.

Exercises for Around the Eyes

Crow’s feet are often some of the first lines to grace a face and the laugh lines that come with them can be especially pronounced. Minimize their appearance using these exercises specially designed for the orbicularis oculi muscles around and under the eyes.

Exercise 8:

  1. Use your index and middle fingers to make V shapes with the backs of the hands facing away from you.
  2. Touch the fingertips to the outside and inside corners of your eyes with your middle fingers resting against your nose.
  3. Press the skin firmly with your fingertips and look up with your eyes.
  4. Pull your bottom eyelids up, forcing your eyes into a squint.
  5. Relax, then repeat a total of five times.

Exercise 9:

  1. Widen your eyes as stare as if in shock at something you are seeing.
  2. Hold in position for five seconds.
  3. Relax, then repeat a total of five times.

Exercise 10:

  1. Draw eyebrows together as though you are intensely frowning.
  2. Relax the eyebrows and forehead.
  3. Repeat a total of five times.

Exercises for Around the Mouth

The lines that develop around the mouth over time due to aging can be exacerbated due to facial expressions such as smiling and lifestyle choices such as smoking. Minimize the appearance of these through these exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around the mouth.

Exercise 11:

  1. Pretend that you are blowing up a balloon, filling the cheeks with air and pursing the lips.
  2. Hold lips in position as if blowing the air out in a stream.
  3. Repeat a total of 10 times.

Exercise 12:

  1. Press lips together firmly.
  2. Smile, leaving lips pressed together.
  3. Purse the lips into a fish face, sucking your cheeks in as deeply as possible.
  4. Hold this position for five seconds.
  5. Repeat a total of four times.

Exercises for the Chin, Jaw and Neck

Many people find that the line of their chin grows softer as time goes on and the skin on their neck grows flacid. Use these exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the chin, jaw and neck areas.

Exercise 13:

  1. Pucker lips as though you are about to kiss someone.
  2. Hold lips in this position for five seconds.
  3. Stick out your tongue.
  4. Draw it back in and repeat a total of five times.

Exercise 14:

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Drop the lower jaw and jut it outward until you can feel your cheeks tense around your ears.
  3. Hold jaw like this for 10 beats.
  4. Draw jaw inwards.
  5. Repeat a total of 10 times.

With consistent use of these anti-aging facial exercises, you may be able to improve the muscles in your face and maintain or restore a more youthful and healthy appearance. 

When combined with other anti-aging measures, such as the specially formulated anti-aging treatments designed by the dermatologists at Nava MD, you can combat aging from multiple angles. 

Get custom prescription treatments delivered, if approved, with a licensed dermatologists’ help and Nava MD. It’s the simplest and most affordable dermatology visit you’ve ever had, all done online. Click here to get started.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency