Do Facial Exercises Work?: The Truth & 6 Facial Exercises 2023

Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

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do facial exercises work
Facial exercises have the potential to improve the aesthetics of the face. Photo: Max4e Photo/Shutterstock

At some point for middle-aged women (mid-30s to early 40s), you could expect to start losing 1-1.5% of collagen[1] from the body each year. Collagen acts as a connective tissue, which makes up approximately 70-80% of your skin. Without sugarcoating the truth, losing collagen can degrade the appearance of your skin over the long term. 

There is no doubt that you would begin to see more wrinkles and fine lines around the face, accompanied by less defined facial features. Common areas of complaint are the outer part of the eyes, mouth, and center of the forehead. 

Although this natural aging process cannot be brought to a complete halt, we have reasons to believe that it can be slowed down, or at least improved visually to some extent.      

We want to guide you in the right direction, with the most cutting-edge information based on research and experience. For this reason, we have put together a short article that covers:

  • Do facial exercises work?
  • The truth about facial exercise
  • 6 facial exercises to attempt for better skin
  • How frequently should you do facial exercises?
  • Other ways to make your skin look better

Do Face Exercises Work?

Yes, they do. Although a lot more research is needed, facial exercises may be an effective strategy to increase blood flow to the skin, boost collagen and skin elasticity around the face, smooth out facial wrinkles, define the muscles around the face, contribute towards burning facial fat to some extent, depuff the face. 

Do Facial Exercises Work?

Facial exercises may be an effective strategy to increase blood flow to the skin, boost collagen and skin elasticity around the face, smooth out facial wrinkles, define the muscle tone around the face, contribute towards burning facial fat to some extent, and depuff the face. 

Gymgoers and fitness enthusiasts should be well aware of how resistance workout helps to activate, strengthen, and build the muscles of the body. In the same way, face-specific exercises can be used to possibly strengthen and build facial muscles, as well as improve blood circulation in the area. 

It is thought that facial workouts help in the pursuit of reducing wrinkles and sagging skin, thus promoting younger-looking skin. However, this claim is highly anecdotal and thereby debatable. 

Most facial exercises require a series of repetitive motions, involving the lips, eyebrows, jaw/cheek muscles, or even facial massage. 

The Truth About Facial Exercises

The number of misconceptions surrounding facial exercises is ridiculous. We have cleared up 3  that seem to keep coming into question. 

It’s Unclear Whether It Aids In “Anti-Aging”

We can safely say that we have some research[2] to suggest face exercises may be effective in mellowing the facial appearance of face wrinkles and fine lines among older adults aged 40-65. Even with this research, at this moment in time, the “anti-aging” effects of facial exercises are unclear, as we need a lot more linking evidence that is based on more than just the visual appearance of skin. 

Although I am not within the “older adult” age range, In my personal experience, facial exercises, and certain massage techniques can reduce wrinkles around the face in the short term.

Facial Exercises & Fat Loss Are Not Linked

There seems to be a misconception surrounding facial fat. From what I have observed, many believe that you can reduce fat from the face with regular facial exercises. Truth be told, facial exercise does not actually have a significant effect on facial fat loss, due to burning very few calories. 

Without getting into too much detail, In order to lose the fat around the face,[3] one must reduce overall calories by eating sensibly and engaging in more physical activity. Body fat will drop in certain areas based on your genetics, which varies from person to person. During the personal weight loss journey, fat loss was first most noticeable around the face and arms. 

You may be excited to read that losing fat around the face may bring out cheek fullness and a defined jawline. These facial features are highly desired and considered to be ideal in present-day Western society.

Fat Loss And Depuffing Are Two Completely Different Concepts

Losing fat mass around the face and depuffing will both improve the appearance, yet they are two completely different concepts. As mentioned, to lose fat around the face, you would need to find a way to reduce calorie intake, typically through tweaking exercise and food intake. Whereas to depuff the face[4] you would need to consider how to improve hydration status, sleep status, hormone balance, and inflammation. 

6 Face Exercises To Attempt For Better Skin

There are so many facial exercises. We have only included 6 that we believe would be affected by improving skin and appearance around the face. 

Face Rollers

face roller exercise
The face roller helps smooth out wrinkles. Photo: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

A face roller is an affordable beauty accessory designed for facial massage. It is thought to activate the skin of the face by increasing blood circulation in the area. In turn, this may boost collagen in the skin and reduce fat pads. However, more research is needed to support these claims. 

Face rollers have a long handle with a smooth rollable stone ball attached to its end. This rollable stone should gently be applied and rolled over different areas of the face. 

Typically, you would roll the stone all around the face, with additional emphasis on areas with visible wrinkles. In my personal experience, the face roller reduces the appearance of wrinkles in the short term, which may be helpful before an outing. 

Face Yoga

face yoga exercise
Face yoga is a great way to tighten the appearance of your face naturally. Photo: Max4e Photo/Shutterstock

Just like all of the other exercises that we have mentioned, face yoga is a great way to tone and tighten the appearance of your face naturally, as well as relieve tension. Face yoga involves moving the face in multiple motions and expressions. 

Pucker Ups

Intuitively, the pucker-up exercise should help to reduce the wrinkles from around the mouth and the bridge just underneath the cheekbones. It should also activate some of the muscles of the jaw. To perform pucker-ups, close your lips tightly together for 3-4 seconds and then relax. This motion must be repeated several times.

Eyebrow Lift

Eyebrow lifts activate the frontal muscles[5] of the forehead, which supposedly helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in the area. Performing this exercise is simple, you would gently press four of your fingers above each eyebrow to act as resistance. From this position, raise your eyebrows, pushing against your fingers. Ideally, repeat this motion until fatigue for 2-3 sets. 

Cheek Lift

The cheek lift may help define a unique jaw muscle that attaches to the cheekbones, thereby bringing out some cheek fullness. Fun fact, this muscle is actually responsible for smiling, so I am sure that many of you use it on a regular basis.

To employ the cheek lift, simply smile as wide as you possibly can, then lift your cheeks towards your eyes and hold this position for 5 seconds at a time. Repeat this movement until fatigue for 2-3 sets. 

Eye Wrinkle Smoother

The eyes are one of the first things you notice while communicating with someone. So it is not difficult to notice eye wrinkles in older adults and the elderly. The eye wrinkle smoother exercise may help to mellow the appearance of wrinkles.  

To take advantage of this exercise, ever so slightly place your index finger on your eye stretch the skin down, and lift the eyebrows up repetitively until fatigue for 2-3 sets. 

How Frequently Should You Do Facial Exercises?

Based on some landmark research[6] led by a professor of dermatology from Northwestern University, we may be able to provide some general recommendations to help put together the foundations of a “skin gym” routine. 

The researchers of this study found that performing 20-30 minutes of facial exercises per day, 3-5 times per week, for 8 weeks may define the muscles of the face and reduce wrinkles in those who are aged 40-65. 

So to break it down, to practically apply this research, I would recommend starting out with 20 minutes of facial exercises 3 times a week, and then slowly adding 5 minutes and 1 additional session every few weeks. This allows an individual to adapt to the exercises and make them more habitual. 

I would not recommend discontinuing the exercises after 8 weeks unless the client was experiencing pain and faced mobility issues, which does not seem likely.  So a facial exercise routine may look like the following:

  • 20 minutes per day x 3 times per week from week 1-4
  • 25 minutes per day x 4 times per week from weeks 4-8
  • 30 minutes per day x 5 times per week after 8 weeks

Other Ways To Make Your Skin Look Better

There are many ways to boost skin health, but we have highlighted 4 of what we believe to be the best and easiest to introduce as part of your lifestyle.

Use Retinol To Increase Skin Cell Turnover

Retinol produces new skin cells, so retinol cream may help to smooth out the skin all over the body and face. Why does retinol have this effect? It is a form of vitamin A that has been shown to increase the production of skin cells, boost collagen, and exfoliate. It may take a few weeks before we see noticeable results. 

Get More Sleep

Sleep is important for repairing and recovery of the body, which includes skin.[7] Getting enough sleep can promote good skin by reducing skin inflammation/damage, producing collagen/skin elasticity, and increasing blood flow. Averaging 7 hours per night should do the trick. 

If you struggle to get enough sleep, you could read into CBD gummies for sleep, which are used to relax before getting to bed. 

Follow A Balanced Diet

You could start eating healthy and include fruit, vegetables, grains, and animal produce into your diet. A well-balanced diet will allow you to take in all the micronutrients and collagen that are vital for skin health and collagen production. You could also try collagen supplementation if your diet is low in animal proteins like beef, lamb, chicken, and fish.

Drink Enough Water

Drinking enough water can promote good reduction of wrinkles and fine lines by; Hydrating the skin, flushing out toxins to prevent skin damage, and promoting collagen. The general recommendation for water intake is around 8 cups a day. 

However, those who exercise and live in hot environments would need to replace the water that is lost through sweat, so more than 8 cups may be necessary. 


The aging process is inevitable, so the quality and appearance of your skin will decline regardless of what you do. However, facial exercises may slow down its decline in various ways.

Facial exercises are basically using various facial movements and massage techniques to define the muscles around the face and activate skin cells. In turn, this may reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

Truth be told, the evidence is too scarce to firmly suggest that facial exercises actually work, we are basically going off anecdotes (experiences). Facial exercises do not burn fat around the face, and losing facial fat is completely different from depuffing the face. 

Nevertheless, would you agree that facial exercises are still worth a try? If so, you could try some of the exercises that we covered. 

In terms of facial exercise frequency, we have seen promising results from performing for 20-30 minutes per day, 3-5 times per week, for at least 8 weeks. 

There is more you can do than just exercise to improve the appearance of your face, which includes; using retinol cream, getting enough sleep, following a balanced diet, and drinking enough water. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Realistically do facial exercises work?

There is some research that says they do, but probably not enough to be certain! Still worth trying. 

Can wrinkles and fine lines be stopped?

Unfortunately not! wrinkling and fine lines are the results of degrading skin, which is a natural process of life. 

+ 7 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. Reilly, D.M. and Lozano, J. (2021). Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. Plastic and Aesthetic Research, [online] 8, p.2. doi:
  2. Alam, M., Walter, A.J., Geisler, A., Roongpisuthipong, W., Sikorski, G., Tung, R. and Poon, E. (2018). Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging. JAMA Dermatology, [online] 154(3), p.365. doi:
  3. Redman, L.M., Heilbronn, L.K., Martin, C.K., Alfonso, A., Smith, S.R. and Ravussin, E. (2007). Effect of Calorie Restriction with or without Exercise on Body Composition and Fat Distribution. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, [online] 92(3), pp.865–872. doi:
  4. Pontius, A. and Smith, P. (2011). An Antiaging and Regenerative Medicine Approach to Optimal Skin Health. Facial Plastic Surgery, [online] 27(01), pp.029–034. doi:
  5. Pessino, K., Patel, J. and Patel, B.C. (2022). Anatomy, Head and Neck; Frontalis Muscle. [online] Available at:,a%20role%20in%20its%20depression.
  6. Alam, M., Walter, A.J., Geisler, A. and Poon, E. (2018). Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging. [online] ResearchGate. Available at:
  7. Kahan, V., Andersen, M.L., Tomimori, J. and Tufik, S. (2010). Can poor sleep affect skin integrity? Medical Hypotheses, [online] 75(6), pp.535–537. doi:


Zaakir Shakoor, Nutritionist
Nutrition, Exercise & Health Specialist/Writer
Zack Shakoor Kayani was born and raised in the South East of England/London. Zack has attained a bolus of knowledge regarding biosciences through academia and his career experiences. In terms of his educational background, he has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (Hons.), a Postgraduate diploma in sports nutrition with the International Olympic Committee, and a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Middlesex University. Zack has been fortunate enough to apply his Exercise Science and Nutrition Knowledge to aid Hundreds if not Thousands of Patients and Athletes, providing 1-1 consultation, Personal training, Information sheets, offering recommendations to collate nutrition and exercise programs, etc. Not to mention, in 2022, he authored a book called 'The 'Good' Coach Weight Loss Solution.


Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

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