Facial exercises
February 20, 2008 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Do facial exercises really work?

My friends call me crazy, but I'm self-conscious about my jawline and neck. I'm by no means overweight, but I can't help but hate my facial profile. Plastic surgery is, of course, out of the question, so I was wondering if facial exercises actually work to tighten up the face and neck. Has anyone tried these? What are the best techniques?

Background: I'm 27 and wear a size 3 in jeans. I've struggled for most of my life with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and eating disorders so maybe this is just something I am over-thinking in my mind.
posted by MaryDellamorte to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you're crazy. (Well, your profile shows you eating a cat, so maybe I was too quick not to judge.)

I'm not sure we have a plastic surgeon on MeFi, so here's my take. I do stuff like what you're describing all the time--I've got the big pinchable cheeks grandmothers love, and with the amount of cheek mass I'm sporting, I've always thought some exercise would be good for me (and it's the only exercise I get). I've never noticed much result, but who knows how jowly I would be had I not been on my self-imposed regimen. There are a couple of sites I found shilling the techniques of women who have been doing this for a while (and if their pictures are to be believed, you can have great results) See here and here.

Let's meet back here in 20 years and compare results. Deal?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:46 PM on February 20, 2008

I've struggled for most of my life with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

At what point are you now, in that struggle? It might just be that you've looked at your jawline and neck so often with distaste that distaste is now simply your conditioned response to seeing your own jawline and neck.

For years, I hated my nose. Thought it was a nasty, squat, piggy little thing. But one day I convinced myself to stop obsessing about it. Now, it's just my nose.

Nobody else ever told me my nose was nasty, squat or piggy as far as I remember, and I don't actually think there is anything wrong with it.

Next time you're examining your face in the mirror, concentrate on looking yourself squarely in the eye. Hold your own gaze until you could do it forever without stress (this part might take practice). Then, ask your reflection (out loud): "How much more time are we going to waste insulting one another's looks?"

If your friends don't hate your jawline and neck, you probably shouldn't either.

But to answer your original question: local exercises do not remove local fat, and won't do anything at all to your skin, but can certainly change the shape of the underlying musculature.
posted by flabdablet at 12:17 AM on February 21, 2008

My mom religiously practiced facial exercises every evening for decades and I must say she looked pretty darn good when she died (unfortunately, facial exercises do not cure cancer). I've never massaged my face and have the same good skin tone and lack of jowls & lines as she did at the same age. I suspect genetics at play rather than massaging. However, she did find it a meditative experience, so there's likely some value there.
posted by jamaro at 2:27 AM on February 21, 2008

I've put on some weight in the past few years, and grew concerned with my neck and *to me* double chin. Then I looked at pictures from when I was 35-40lb lighter, and damn if that same neckroll wasn't there. So, mostly genetics, I'd say.
posted by notsnot at 3:55 AM on February 21, 2008

Funny, as a singer, I was always taught that facial exercises were for relaxing and warming up the face, particularly before a performance. (alternate making squinchy face and surprised face with "ah" mouth, making a motorboat sound with lips, etc.). I'm not aware of facial exercises that tighten the face.
posted by LN at 5:48 AM on February 21, 2008

If you believed that facial exercises would improve your appearance, would that do you just as much good as if they actually did? Or would you feel even more concern about the appearance of your neck?

Some people swear by sticking the tongue out, curling the end upward, and lifting repeatedly towards the nose as a method to keep the neck/double chin area toned. I don't know if this actually works, but if by doing this you can think to yourself "my neck looks so wonderful now that I'm doing this exercise!", go for it.
posted by yohko at 8:05 AM on February 21, 2008

Yes, they work! Or at least the ones I've tried do, and in amazingly short order. When I can remember, I do the neck and throat ones described here, mainly the "kissing the ceiling" one. I feel utterly ridiculous in a retro way, like I should have my hair in big orange-juice can rollers while I'm doing it, and I only get motivated to do them once every six months or so, but they definitely do work.
posted by Enroute at 8:39 AM on February 21, 2008

as a neutral observer who checked out your myspace, I'd say your neckline looks perfectly normal. I've never tried facial exercises... but if you want to give them a shot I don't see how they'd hurt anything.
posted by Chris4d at 2:35 PM on February 21, 2008

Bicep curls at low rep, high resistance.

I've always been super skinny but my cheeks and jowls had gotten a little chubby when I was 24 or so. Got lean again from diet and cardio, but still had chubby cheeks/jowls. Started doing bicep curls (high resistance, low rep) about 8 months ago and - "spot training doesn't work" be damned. My facial adipose deposits evaporated like morning mist.

It's weird. I don't believe in spot training, and it isn't as if I developed muscles that "covered up*" the fat, but <shrug>.

*well, more tone and the tendons helps in other ways
posted by porpoise at 7:58 PM on February 21, 2008

porpoise, your biceps are not part of your face.

Spot training (e.g. doing situps to reduce a pot belly, or squats to shrink a flabby bottom) doesn't work - but increasing your total muscle mass via weight training does increase your resting metabolic rate, which will in turn encourage your body to reduce its total stored fat.

In your case I'm tipping that the last holdouts of that store happened to be in your chubby cheeks,
posted by flabdablet at 12:48 AM on February 22, 2008

Well, I just got an email about "face yoga" as an emerging trend, so here ya go:

"Face Yoga’s "positions", which include The Satchmo, Surprise Me, and Puppet Face, are reputed to smooth and lift one’s complexion, resulting in a youthful glow. If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, check out The Yoga Face, an instructional guide written by Face Yoga trendsetter Annelise Hagen, who now even teaches the practice at NY Health and Racquet Club."

The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift
posted by lhall at 9:45 AM on February 22, 2008

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