Facial Workout-the new age anti-wrinkle treatment
Does your face require strength training ?
A workout regime is an excellent way to tone up your muscles, lose inches and get back in shape. A good diet, plenty of water and a regular exercise routine can make you look years younger than you actually are!
Since muscles of our face are too delicate to lift weights or go on a treadmill, do aerobics or pilates, you got to apply pressure with your fingers or make certain facial expressions to exercise, tone up and revitalize those poor souls, that get tired contracting and relaxing, while you are busy munching your favorite choco chip cookie, or snarling at a neighbor, or grinding your teeth when your boss loads you up with an extra pile of files to work on.
Facial exercises improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles of the face, tone them up and revitalize the droopy skin, providing a natural method to reduce wrinkles.
Proponents of face workout believe that it helps relax our face, ultimately smoothening those tension lines that gradually begin to show. And just relaxing those contorted and tensed facial muscles, gives a natural face lift.
Certain burdened areas, where we hold maximum tension- like the jaw, brow, and forehead, are especially vulnerable to the appearance of laughter lines, crow's feet and frown lines. These areas require special attention.
Exercising the muscles of the face also serves to stimulate the lymphatic system underneath the skin that relies entirely upon facial movements to operate.
A regular facial workout also helps remove dark spots, pimples, and discolorations, and endows clarity and radiance to the skin.
Muscles of Facial Expression
Anatomy of Facial Muscles
Before getting into the details of various facial exercises, I would like to briefly explain the structure and functions of the muscles that we need to tone up.
Muscles of the face are a type of skeletal muscles (attached to the skeleton), are voluntary (they contract and relax under voluntary control), and are structurally striated or striped muscles.
Muscles of the face are customarily divided into-
1. Muscles of Facial Expression
2. Masticatory muscles
"Muscles of Facial Expression" are topographically and functionally grouped as-
1. Epicranial Muscles
Occipitofrontalis, that functions to retract the scalp, raise the eyebrows and nasal skin, thus progressively creasing the forehead (at 5-10 major transverse lines). These muscles help in glancing upwards, also in expressions of surprise, horror and fright.
2. Circumorbital and Palpebral Muscles
Orbicularis oculi, which is a sphincter of the eyeball. It voluntarily closes the eyelids gently in sleep, or rapidly while blinking. Narrowing of the eyeball opening called the palpebral fissure along with protrusion of the eyebrows reduces the entry of light, the way we spontaneously react when a sudden flash of intense light is thrown on our eyes. The upper orbital fibres of the muscle contract rapidly when exposed to strong sunlight, years of such exposure lead to permanent vertical furrows above the nose.
Corrugator supercilli, which draws the eyebrow inwards and downwards, producing mainly vertical wrinkles on the supranasal strip of the forehead.
3. Nasal Muscles
Procerus, which depresses the inner side of the eyebrow, producing transverse wrinkles over the nasal bridge and root. Active in frowning and "concentration", it aids in reducing the glare of bright sunlight.
Nasalis, which helps in compressing the nasal aperture and depressing the nasal alae laterally, widening the nasal aperture, visible in deep inspiration, and is associated with exertion and emotional states.
Depressor septi, which assists in widening the nasal aperture.
4. Buccolabial Muscles
Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, that raises and everts the upper lip, dilates the nostrils, thus it raises, deepens and increases the curvature of nasolabial furrow (later forming Laughter lines).
Levator labii superioris, that elevates and everts the upper lip and deepens the nasolabial furrow, as in sad and serious expressions.
Zygomaticus minor, that curls the upper lip in smiling and in smugness, contempt or disdain.
Levator anguli oris, that raises the angle of the mouth, incidentally displaying the teeth in smiling, and contributes to the depth of the nasolabial furrow.
Zygomaticus major, that retracts and elevates the angle of the mouth, as in laughing.
Mentalis, that raises the base of the lower lip and the furrow beneath, aids in protrusion or eversion of the lower lip, as in drinking, speech and expressing doubt or disdain.
Depressor labii inferioris, that depresses the lower lip laterally, as in mastication, and may assist its eversion and contributes to expressing irony, sorrow, melancholy, doubt etc.
Depressor anguli oris, that depresses the angle of mouth towards the sides in opening the mouth and in expressing sadness.
Buccinator also called the Trumpeter compresses the cheeks against the teeth, passing food between them in chewing, or expelling the air when the cheeks are distended.
5. Oral Sphincters, Tractors and Modulators
The almost endless variety of neuromuscular controls of the lips and oral fissure during speech and non-verbal expressive communications are integrated with fluctuating patterns of activity in these muscle groups. These include-
Incisivus labii superioris.
Incisivus labii inferioris.
Platysma, by drawing down lower lip and angle of the mouth, platysma helps express horror and surprise.
Direct labial tractors.
Muscles of Mastication
Masseter helps in occlusion of teeth in mastication.
Temporalis, that elevates the lower jaw to close the mouth and approximate the teeth. It is concerned with lateral grinding movements.
The lateral pterygoid that aids in opening the mouth.
The medial pterygoid, that helps in elevating the lower jaw, and together with lateral pterygoid, to protrude it.
Facial workouts should be incorporated in exercise routine on a regular basis. It should be done once a day, should not take longer than 15-30 minutes.
Face exercises lay focus on three major areas that are maximally prone to wear and tear. These include-
- Eyes and forehead exercises.
- Lip and cheek exercises.
- Neck and throat exercise.
Face Exercises Using Finger tips
Face exercises for areas around the eyes
- Gently tone the muscles of the eyes by pressing two fingers on each side of the head, at the temples, while opening and closing your eyes rapidly. Repeat this five times.
- Sit upright with your eyes closed and relaxed. While keeping your eyes closed all of the time, first look down, and then look up as far as possible. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Sit upright with your eyes closed and relaxed. Keep your eyes closed while lifting your eyebrows and stretching your eyelids down as far as possible. Keep in this position for 5 counts, relax and repeat 5 times.
- Sit upright with your eyes relaxed and open. Lift your eyebrows, while closing your top eyelids until about halfway closed. Then open your eyelids wide until the white of your eye shows over your iris.
- Sit upright, look straight ahead with your eyes open. Look up, then down, while keeping your head still. Repeat 10 times. Then look left and right- repeat 10 times.
Exercises to remove Crow's Feet
- Place one finger vertically at the sides of each eye.
- Gently close your eyes working against the resistance created by your fingers.
- Open your eyes.
- Repeat 20 times.
Exercises for Droopy eyelids
- Place four fingers horizontally underneath the bottom of your eyebrow. Alternatively, place one finger horizontally running along the bottom of your eyebrow.
- Lower your eyebrow pushing against the resistance created by your fingers. Hold for a count of 5.
- Raise your eyebrows.
- Repeat 20 times.
Exercises for bags under your eyes
- Place four fingers horizontally beneath your eye, roughly in line with the middle of your nose, at the end of the hollow of the eye. Alternatively, use one finger placed horizontally.
- Partially close your eye working against the resistance created by your fingers, and then hold momentarily.
- Open your eye, and repeat 5 times.
- Repeat for the other eye, or do both eyes simultaneously.
- Frown as much as possible, and try to bring out your eyebrows over your eyes, while pulling the eyebrows towards one another. Then lift your eyebrows as far as possible, while opening your eyes as much as possible. Repeat 5 times.
- Lie on your bed facing the ceiling, with your head hanging over the edge. Lift your eyebrows as high as possible, with your eyes wide open. Relax, and repeat 10 times.
- Sit upright facing forwards, and while bringing your eyebrows down over your eyes, wrinkle your nose as much as possible, while flaring your nostrils. Keep for a count of 10. Relax, and repeat 5 times.
- Place one finger horizontally across the top of each eyebrow, and pull down slightly. Raise your eyebrows, working against resistance created by the weight of your fingers. Hold momentarily, and then lower your eyebrows again. Repeat 20 times.
- Place four fingers vertically at the sides of the forehead just above the end of your eyebrows and in front of your temples. Stretch your forehead tight. Raise and lower your eyebrows. Repeat 20 times.
The skin between your eyebrows
This exercise can be beneficial for those who have worry lines or glabellar lines as a result of frowning or scowling a bit. These lines between the eyebrows can make you look angry or unhappy, even though you may not actually be feeling that way.
- Place four fingers horizontally across each eyebrow.
- Pull the eyebrows away from each other, so that you pull the skin gently towards the temples.
- Now try to bring your eyebrows together, working against the resistance created by your fingers. You should eventually feel a "burn" in the center of your forehead, in your "third eye".
- Repeat 10 times.
- Sit upright facing forwards and purse your lips together. Lift your pursed lips towards your nose, and keep there for 5 counts. Relax and repeat 5 times.
- Pucker your lips slightly, and when in this puckered position, try with your mouth muscles to bring the corners of your mouth together as close as possible. Keep the lips in this position for 5 counts. Relax and repeat 5 times.
- Sit upright facing forwards, and keep your lips closed, and teeth together. Smile as broadly as possible without opening your lips. Keep there for 5 counts, and when relaxing, start puckering your lips. Keep there for 5 counts and relax. Repeat 10 times.
- Sit upright facing forwards with lips closed, but relaxed. Pucker and pout your lips using muscles in your cheeks. (Feel with your fingers that you are using your cheek muscles). Keep puckered for a count of 10, relax and repeat 10 times.
- Keep your teeth and lips closed and blow air under your upper lip. Keep it there for 10 counts, then move it to your left cheek, hold for 10 counts, to your lower lip, hold for 10, and then to your right cheek while holding it for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times.
- Look in a mirror while doing this exercise. Smile as widely as possible, while keeping your lips closed, and your mouth corners turned up. Try to make the corners of your mouth to touch your ears. Next wrinkle your nose, and see your cheek muscles move upwards, and feel these muscles work. Keep for 5 counts, relax and repeat 10 times.
Neck and Throat exercises
- Sit upright on a chair, tilt your head back looking at the ceiling with lips closed, and start a chewing movement. This should be done in a set of 20 repeats at a stretch.
- Sit upright, tilt your head back looking at the ceiling, while keeping your lips closed and relaxed. Open your lips and stick your tongue out, as if trying to touch your chin with the tip of your tongue. Keep the tongue out in this position for 10 counts, then return your tongue and head to its normal position.
- Lie on your bed with your head hanging down over the edge. Slowly bring your head upwards towards your torso, and keep in this position for 10 counts. Relax and lower your head towards the floor again. Repeat this for 5 times.
- Sit upright with your face forwards while keeping your lips together. Turn your face towards the right and count 5, bring your face to the center, again slowly turn your face towards left, count up to 5, and bring back your face to its original position. This should be done in repeats of 3 sets.
- Sit upright with your face forwards, while keeping your lips together, separate your teeth while dropping your lower jaw, and the push your lower jaw forwards. Keep for a count of 10 and bring back to the starting position. Repeat 5 times.
- "Gray's Anatomy" edited by Peter L. Roger Warwick, Mary Dyson, Lawrence H. Bannister.
- "Face Exercise - How To Do A Complete Workout" - www.eruptingmind.com