Recently I have read a few comments by reputable people saying that facial exercises don’t work and that they in fact, make lines worse on the face. Actually, the truth of the matter is just the opposite. Facial exercises can reduce lines [1]. As a wrinkle becomes shallower with facial exercises, it flattens out and looks wider, at first. As the muscle develops, it literally pushes out the wrinkle. But I get ahead of myself. I will explain this phenomenon later on. Maybe some of these people observed this “event” when first encountering facial exercises? This too would have made me think that facial exercises make lines worse. Could it be they didn’t know that with continued facial exercising and proper technique, you can reduce these lines to almost nothing? [1] Let me explain.

My research reveals that a deep wrinkle is caused by skin adhering to underlying tissue. Because the muscles in the face are often attached one end onto the bone and the other one into the skin, whenever the muscle contracts, the skin is pulled down, creating a valley - what we call a wrinkle. One very effective method to alleviate wrinkles is to paralyze these muscles with Botox® so the muscles cannot contract and you can’t see the valley so well. The problem is, as soon as the paralysis wears off, the wrinkle is back. This can become a very expensive even risky endeavor. A more sensible and permanent approach for deep wrinkles is not only to strengthen muscle, but also to free up the skin. You can free up the skin with facial exercises. [2] That is, you can actually de-tack - release this wrinkle and rub it out. [3]

Wrinkles are usually formed by repetitive facial movements. Since Botox® injections paralyze and therefore relax the muscles completely, the wrinkle eventually smoothes out and appears to be gone. Only this explains to me why the deadening or paralysis and therefore complete relaxation of the muscle with Botox® injections will make the wrinkle seem to be gone. The muscle tension is gone - the wrinkle can’t be seen, even though it is still attached.

When performing facial exercises, you are tensing the muscles and working them “against” pressure. We call this muscle resistance training. The muscle becomes toned, which means it’s either bigger because you’re building muscle fiber or shorter because you’re literally shortening the muscle fiber. [4] This can be seen with rounder, higher, firmer cheeks and jowls that lift up as well. Just try it yourself. Tense a muscle in the face, like contracting your cheeks and release. The muscle you just tensed, is now more relaxed. So, in fact, the muscles in your face, as they tone with facial exercises, consequently, also become more relaxed. I will now explain my understanding of how it works.

Wherever on the face we can move the skin voluntarily, there are muscles attached to the inner part of the skin and we have, therefore, the potential to make a wrinkle - a line, a fold or a furrow. [4] In the rest of the body the muscles are attached bone to bone and slide underneath one of the layers below the skin and above the muscles, called the fascia. Therefore, wrinkles do not usually occur in the rest of the body. When we exercise the face, the muscle fibers literally smooth out, shorten and/or build, lifting up the attached skin on the face and neck with the newly toned muscles. Remember, the muscles become more relaxed as you’re performing facial exercises. The result is a tighter, firmer face that is not only smoother and firmer looking; it’s less wrinkled, more youthful looking and more defined as well. Fine lines easily smooth out as the muscle fiber builds and pushes out the wrinkle so it appears flatter and smoother. Deeper wrinkles can also be released with proper technique and literally smoothed out. [1] This is not wishful thinking. This is a fact. There are thousands of people exercising their faces and having this result.

So how do facial exercises achieve a similar effect of getting rid of wrinkles which Botox® achieves through paralysis of the muscles? It seems to be paradoxical. With Botox® you paralyze the muscle and keep it from moving and with facial exercises you exercise your muscle and move it a lot. Both methods relax the muscles of the face and since these muscles are attached to the skin, the consequences in BOTH cases are less visible wrinkles. Facial exercises also build the muscle fiber and because it’s attached to the skin, the wrinkle fills out as the muscle tones and the results are a smoother looking face and neck. Furthermore, as the face and neck become more toned from facial exercising, there is no loss of expression. In fact, you may find your face MORE expressive! While Botox® may be a conveniently quick albeit expensive procedure, facial exercises are much less expensive but require that you perform them on a regular basis. Both achieve a similar result when it comes to wrinkles.

Apparently, the reason Botox® injections work is because they prevent the muscle from moving. So logic says that if exercising the face creates wrinkles is true, then people who never move their faces should be in the best shape and be the most beautiful. Obviously, this is not the case. In all fairness, I don’t think those using Botox® are purporting a completely paralyzed face, but still, we all have seen these frozen-looking, unlined “expensive” faces and found ourselves involuntarily turning away. It’s just a tad bit too unnatural looking for many of us.

I understand Botox® actually paralyzes the nerve endings to the muscle so the muscle does not receive the signal to move. My question is what happens to these nerve endings over time as they are repeatedly paralyzed? Can they lose their function? Could permanent loss of function result in atrophied muscles of the face? This is a scary scenario for many of us. On the other hand, facial exercises are not always a favored option. They require some work. Facial exercises offer a natural, viable alternative to those of us wanting to look years younger and fit and are willing to make this effort. Botox® on the other hand can be expensive and possibly risky.

As the muscles build and tone, the effect is noticeably lifted jowls (shortened muscle fiber [4]), higher-looking cheek bones (actually building muscle fiber in this area is most obvious), a more defined jaw line, higher eyebrows, more open eyes and younger, firmer, fresher-looking skin. Not only is this my own personal experience, it’s the experience of thousands of men and women practicing facial exercises on a regular basis. They have these incredible results from facial exercises. As an added benefit is the fact that all this sliding and massaging of the skin has not only reduced blemishes, but also erased spider veins, especially on the cheeks and around the nose as well.

So, in conclusion, while I don’t believe that these “experts” are touting that the frozen, brittle look one can get from too much Botox® or invasive surgeries and fillers are a desirable look simply because one is less wrinkled or smooth-skinned after these procedures, I also have to say that my research and experience is that facial exercises have not only firmed up my face and reduced my wrinkles, but they have given me a more even and beautiful complexion as well. See for yourself by clicking here: Not all of us can afford the expensive, repeated costs of Botox®, etc.… Some of us are not inclined to involve ourselves with these more invasive solutions and some of us, on the other hand, may not have the discipline of keeping up with exercising the face to achieve a more youthful appearance. We have choice. With this article, I really want to offer facial exercises as simply another feasible avenue of approach.

Right now some people are being frightened away from even trying facial exercises with all the misinformation floating around. My hope is that they will research the newer facial exercise programs on the market today, for my personal experience along with thousands of my clients proves that facial exercises offer another viable option in the pursuit of looking years younger - an option "in my opinion" that has a natural and less artificial look than other avenues of approach.

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Carolyn Cleaves is the owner/founder of Carolyn’s Facial Fitness – Facelift Through Exercise. A former model, schoolteacher, speaker and researcher in the field of facial exercises, she offers an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use facial exercise program with a 15-minute workout that you can use in the privacy of your own home for purchase here:


1. From the book, Carolyn’s Facial Fitness, Instructions and Workbook, by Carolyn Cleaves. (Copyright 2001). Refers to “The 3-step Wrinkle Release Technique” Color photo-illustrations, for releasing stuck down wrinkles and rubbing them out. This book is included in the Full Kit for sale

2. From the book, Old Age. Its Cause and Prevention, by Sanford Bennett. (Copyright 1907). (Out of Print) Technique for rubbing out wrinkles in the chapter, “The Rejuvenation of the Face, Throat and Neck”.

3. From the book, Face Culture, by Frederick M. Rossiter, M.D., Pageant Press, (Copyright 1956) (Out of Print) He describes the updated technique for rubbing out the wrinkles. He also talks about how a wrinkle is formed and how over time it may become similar to a scar. You can read more on this topic by clicking here: for the full answer.

4. From the book, Face Lifting by Exercise, by Senta Maria Runge. (Copyright 1961).

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn Cleaves is the owner/founder of Carolyn’s Facial Fitness – Facelift Through Exercise. A former model, schoolteacher, speaker and researcher in the field of facial exercises, she offers workshops and an easy to learn, easy to use facial exercise program with a 15 minute workout that you can use in the privacy of your own home.