What Is Facial Yoga?

Medically Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on June 13, 2024
5 min read

There are many procedures to improve the appearance of aging facial skin, such as:

Recently, alternative methods of facial skin improvements are becoming more popular. This includes:

  • Facial acupressure
  • Facial acupuncture
  • Facial exercises, also known as facial yoga 

Here are some facial yoga exercises to try:

The Cheek Lifter

  1. Open your mouth to form an “O.”
  2. Fold your upper lip over your teeth.
  3. Smile. This lifts your cheek muscles up.
  4. Gently place your fingers on the top part of your cheeks.
  5. Relax your cheek muscles to return your face to the original position and lower your fingers. 
  6. Repeat this raising and lowering 10 times.

Happy Cheeks Sculpting

  1. Smile with your lips pursed together so your teeth don’t show.
  2. Focus on smiling with the corners of your mouth. This forces your cheeks up.
  3. Put your fingers at the corners of your mouth.
  4. Slide your fingers to the tops of your cheekbones.
  5. Hold for 20 seconds.
  6. Relax and then repeat.

Eyebrow Lifter

  1. Press three fingertips from each hand under each eyebrow to force your eyes open.
  2. Smile and try to push your eyebrows down. 
  3. Close your eyes and roll your eyeballs up. 
  4. Hold for 20 seconds.
  5. Repeat.

There has been limited research on the effects of face yoga. Most of the studies have assessed results in a nonquantitative way, focusing on elements like visual observation, participant satisfaction, or questionnaires. Consequently, more research is needed to determine how face yoga benefits people.

May improve facial expression and mental health. In a study of 53 people aged 65 years to 87 years, participants did facial yoga exercises for 30 minutes twice a week for 12 weeks. The program involved facial yoga, muscle stretching, abdominal breathing (Tanden breathing), and rhythmic facial movement. Face yoga was effective in improving participants’ mental health and facial expression, as well as the power of their tongue muscles.

May improve facial appearance. A study of 16 women aged 40 to 65 years had participants perform 30 minutes of facial exercise daily for 8 weeks at home. For weeks 9 to 20, participants continued with the exercises three to four times a week. Participants showed some improvements in facial appearance, especially with regard to fullness of the mid-face and lower face.

Two doctors rated participants’ before and after photos using Merz-Carruthers Facial Aging Photoscales and also rated participants’ ages. The mean estimated age before facial yoga was 50.8 years. For the after photos, the mean estimated age was 48.1 years. This was a drop of more than 2.5 years after 20 weeks of facial yoga. There were some limitations affecting this study, though, as there was no control group and the participants were self-selected.

In a different study, researchers found that the benefits of face yoga were less conclusive. This study involved 18 participants. Half of the group did face yoga for 7 weeks. When the before and after photos were assessed, there was only one major difference between the two groups. In the face yoga group, the “after” photo of the upper lip was more often chosen as the one that looked younger.

May improve facial muscle tone. One study focused on the effects of facial exercise with a PAO facial device. The middle part of the device is a mouthpiece. The two wing-like sections on either side of the device are balanced weights. When you nod your head up and down, this causes the weighted ends of the bar to swing. 

This study involved 50 women aged between 30 and 63 years. They used the PAO device twice a day for 30 seconds for 8 weeks. The results were assessed using laser scans to determine surface areas, volume, and facial surface distance. Participants displayed increased thickness of their facial muscles.

Experts say that when you build your face muscles, this may help keep the fat in your face in place and prevent it from being pulled down by gravity.

May lessen the appearance of scars. Experts say that doing facial yoga exercises can help reduce the appearance of a thick scar. When you exercise or massage your face, this stretches your skin and can help a thick scar become more pliable and thinner.

Some experts say that facial yoga may cause wrinkles due to the repetitive movements of the skin. When you repeatedly contract your facial muscles, this might actually cause wrinkles to form. As you age, your skin naturally loses collagen and elastin. Too much massaging or manipulation of your skin may increase its loss of elasticity.

Repeated contraction of certain parts of your upper face, such as your forehead, crow’s feet, and frown lines can make those lines deeper over time.

Experts say that face yoga’s anti-aging effects may take three to four weeks before results can be seen. You also have to be consistent with facial yoga exercises 6 days to 7 days a week. Do the exercises for 20 minutes to 30 minutes a day.

Talk to your doctor before starting facial yoga. Face yoga may not be for everyone. If you’ve had cosmetic injectables like dermal fillers, face yoga may cause the fillers to last for a shorter time.

Here are some other ways to help reduce premature skin aging:

  • Use sun protection. Apply sunscreen every day to all the skin that’s not covered by clothing. Use sunscreen that’s water-resistant, broad-spectrum, and SPF 30 or higher. Protect your skin by wearing sun-protective clothing and staying in the shade whenever possible.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking causes wrinkles and a dull complexion. It also ages your skin more quickly. 
  • Drink less alcohol. Alcohol can cause dry skin and, over time, causes skin damage. 
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. A diet high in sugar and refined carbs can speed up aging. 
  • Eat fresh vegetables and fruits to support healthy skin.
  • Avoid tanning, whether from a tanning bed or from the sun. The UV light from tanning prematurely ages your skin. 
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps boost your immune system and improves your circulation.
  • Wash your face twice a day and after you sweat a lot. Sweat irritates your skin, especially when you’re wearing a helmet or hat. 
  • Moisturize daily. Moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated, making it look more youthful.