To his toolbox of Botox, fillers and plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Murad Alam has added a new, low-cost, noninvasive anti-aging treatment: facial yoga.
Dermatologists measured improvements in the appearance of the faces of a small group of middle-age women after they did half an hour of daily face-toning exercises for eight weeks, followed by alternate-day exercises for another 12 weeks.
The results surprised lead author Alam, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“In fact, the results were stronger than I expected,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s really a win-win for patients.”
Participants included 27 women between ages 40 and 65, though only 16 completed the full course. It began with two 90-minute muscle resistant facial exercise-training sessions led by co-author Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga in Providence, Rhode Island.
Participants learned to perform cheek pushups and eye-bag removers, among other exercises. Then they practiced at home.
Dermatologists looking at unmarked before-and-after photos saw improvements in upper cheek and lower cheek fullness, and they estimated the average age of women who stuck with the program as significantly younger at the end than at the start. The average estimated age dropped almost three years, from nearly 51 years to 48 years.
Participants also rated themselves as more satisfied with the appearance of their faces at the study’s end, Alam and colleagues reported in JAMA Dermatology.
“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” Alam said. “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.”
The exercises enlarge and strengthen facial muscles to firm and tone the face, giving it a younger appearance, he said.