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The truth about facial exercises

Friday, 14 March 2014 - 3:36am IST | Agency: dna

They are said to improve collagen production, and lead to firmer, younger skin. But do they work?

Whether you know them as facial yoga, face aerobics or fitness, since long many people have been practising this workout in the hope of getting youthful-looking skin. Facial exercise basically refers to stretching and moving different areas of your face. Do these actually have any benfits or are they another fad?

Our face is made up of muscles and it needs exercise too, feels Priti Mehta, founder and director, Omved. "Face yoga is a promising technique that involves a series of exercises which concentrate only in the face muscles. When done regularly it helps to erase the fine lines and wrinkles on your face and can make you look younger. The best way to perform an exercise without causing any harm or side effects would be to follow the technique properly by watching a video or following an instructor. Within one to two months of practicing facial yoga, you will notice a reduction in smooth wrinkles, get a firm jawline and a healthy glow to your face," she says.

Facial exercises help stimulate the blood flow to the skin and increase the oxygen supply, which stimulates the collagen and elastin fibres to give a firm and taut look to the face, says Dr Bindu Sthalekar, consultant dermatologist and cosmetologist, Hurkisondas Hospital & Skin Solutions Clinic.
"These can be done not only to achieve a youthful appearance but also help in reducing muscle stress, sinusitis and thyroid disorders. Although facial exercises give longstanding results, it is important not to overdo them. It is very essential to moisturise your facial skin before doing the exercises, so as to not stretch the skin. Results will be seen only over several months. Also, one should slightly massage the face and neck after doing the exercises, so as to ease out the tension caused due to the exercises."

Dr Apratim Goel, MD, DNB, FAGE, Cutis clinic, says the truth is that instead of reducing lines and wrinkles, facial exercises aggravate ageing. "In fact, the popular cosmetic treatment Botox, which is the only treatment for dynamic wrinkles, works by reducing the movement of facial muscles. Facial wrinkles can be of two types: dynamic and static. Dynamic are due to overactivity of muscles and static are due to volume depletion under the skin. If dynamic wrinkles are treated with timely Botox, this can delay the onset of static wrinkles," she says. Harsh and vigorous facial movements can increase wear and tear of the collagen fibres and aggravate wrinkles. "A better way to slow down the process of facial ageing is to follow a skin care regime of cleansing, toning, sun protection as well as moisturising. This helps stimulate the fibroblasts cells in the skin that lay down collagen. One must avoid too strong facial movements and even too strong massaging."

Some easy facial exercises:
Place your index fingers above your eyes along the brow bone. Then put pressure downwards with your fingers and try to stretch your forehead upwards. Hold for 20 counts and repeat 3-4 times.

Wink with one eye and close the other eye halfway. Then change eyes and repeat for 20 counts.

Close your eyes and put your fingers on your cheek bones, pulling downwards. Then simultaneously, smile to create an upward stretch. Hold for 20 counts and repeat 4-5 times. Open your mouth as wide as you can, hold for 10 counts and repeat 4-5 times. Purse your lips and fill your mouth with air like a balloon, hold for 10 counts and repeat 4-5 times.
- Dr Bindu Sthalekar

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