'Facial Stretches' Could Trim Years Off Your Look

From Drugs.com - January 5, 2018

'Facial Stretches' Could Trim Years Off Your Look

FRIDAY, Jan. 5, 2018 -- Could facial "yoga" be a new fountain of youth?

A new, small study suggests it's possible.

Investigators asked 27 middle-aged women (between 40 and 65) to embark on a 20-week facial exercise regimen. For the first half of the study, the women were asked to perform 32 specific facial exercises daily, for about a half hour in total. For the remainder of the study period, the exercise regimen was performed every other day.

Two dermatologists then compared photographs taken before the study began with photographs taken both halfway through and again at the end.

The result: By the study's end, participants appeared to have turned back the clock by an average of nearly three years.

"The scientists looking at appearance changes found that the upper and lower cheeks were full after the study," explained study author Dr. Murad Alam. He's vice chair in the department of dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

"Patients themselves found even greater benefits, and noticed that 18 of the 20 areas and features of the face that were studied got better over the course of the study," Alam said.

"In general," he added, "the appearance benefit was that the contour of the face became smoother, fuller and firmer."

The investigators noted that skin elasticity tends to loosen over time, and fat "pads" located between the muscle and skin thin out.

The exercise experiment set out to combat that.

Participants first underwent two 90-minute training sessions.

Each exercise was one minute in duration, and included such movement-to-hold positions as smiling without showing teeth; pursing the lips; and smiling while forcing the cheek muscles upwards.

Before the study, age appearance was pegged at 50.8 years old, on average. Midway through the program that dropped to 49.6 years, finishing at 48.1 years by the end of the 20 weeks.

That said, not all the women stuck to the program, with 11 dropping out before the study ended.

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