The youth and charm that you possess in your 20s and 30s diminish gradually as you approach 40s and 50s with evidences of greying hair, ageing skin and crow’s feet (wrinkles around the eyes). Say goodbye to beauty products, anti-ageing creams and Botox treatments for staying youthful. Its great news for those who rely on natural beauty and avoid spending hefty prices for beauty products and creams. A first-of-its-kind scientific study has shown that practicing facial exercise daily for at least 30 minutes helps an individual stay youthful and look younger. The exercises proposed enlarge and strengthen facial muscles, face becomes stronger and much toned.
Our face reflects our thoughts and emotions. Any stranger first looks into your face and it gives an insight about your inner self. Our face shape, color and features are gifts of nature and we have no power in altering any of it. The face pad between facial muscles and the skin gives the face its shape and as we age the face pad becomes thinner. The pads fit together like a child’s jigsaw puzzle, but ageing promotes thinning face pads to degenerate and droop giving our face a saggy look as we age.
Increasing muscle area in the face helps the skin seem stuffier and the firm muscles help the face look fuller. Muscle growth and density helps to increase facial volume and nullify the effects of ageing.
Study participants included women aged between 40 and 65 years who underwent two 90-minute training sessions from a certified facial exercise instructor. The participants continued doing these exercised at home for 20 weeks. They did the exercises daily for 30 minutes for the first eight weeks whereas from the ninth week they started doing it for 30 minutes every alternate day. Each of them was taught around 32 different facial expressions common of which included puckering and squeezing the cheek and each of them were done for a minute.
Common exercises taught included the cheek lifter where the participants open the mouth and form an ‘O’, upper lip is positioned over teeth, the participants smile to lift cheek muscles, put the finger over the top of the cheek, release cheek muscle to lower them and lift them back up. This is repeated by lowering and lifting the cheeks.
Yet another famous exercise is the happy cheeks sculpting where the participants are required to smile without showing their teeth. Here, the women purse lips together, smile forcing cheek muscles up, place fingers on the corners of the mouth and slide them up to the top of the cheeks and hold in this position for 20 seconds. Two dermatologists assessed photos (before and after exercise) using a standard facial aging scale looking at 19 different features and rating all at three different time points-beginning of the study, at eighth week of study and at week 20. Results showed that upper cheek and lower cheek fullness was enhanced after exercising and average age of the patient decreased after the course of the study. While it started at 50.8 in course of the study (at eighth week) it fell to 49.6 years and finally to 48.1 at 20 weeks. Participants seemed almost three years younger in a span of just 20 weeks.
Facial exercises are non-invasive, have no side effects, come free of cost and can be done as per your schedule. Even exercising such as raising both eyebrows in surprise strengthening forehead muscles, frowning your eyebrows deals with the crow’s feet, blinking and closing your eyes, imitating chewing a bubble gum gives a rounded shape to the cheek, imitating the blowing of a balloon and then holding the lips together as though whistling helps to firm lip muscles, contracting and relaxing your neck pulling it up and sideways to avoid double chin and toning the neck and staring at a distant object with a shocked expression helps to improve blood circulation are extremely popular facial exercises. Along with these exercises when you eat healthy food especially those that improve skin care you are sure to sparkle and twinkle. For a list of those foods please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.