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This pilot study evaluates the relationship between a 20-week facial workout programme and middle-aged women’s facial appearance.

We now know that the physical signs of facial aging also involve deeper substructural volume loss of fat and muscle in addition to skin laxity and superficial photodamage.

Recent interest in facial workouts or facial “yoga” that can regenerate the aged face, purportedly by stimulating underlying muscle growth, has emerged among laypeople. We present what we consider to be the first clinical trial in this paper that looked at facial exercise as a method for enhancing skin


Participants between the ages of 40 and 65 who were in good health, had mild to moderate facial atrophy from photodamage, and were interested in face workouts were included. 32 facial exercises were presented to participants in a formal setting. All participants underwent two live, 90-minute face exercise training sessions with a facial exercise teacher who used muscle resistance (G.S.). Participants and those delivering the interventions weren’t given any kind of blinding. Following their initial training sessions with the instructor, the participants worked out at home every day for eight weeks for 30 minutes. Participants continued to do exercises every other day from weeks 9 to 20. (3-4 times per week).

Prior to enrolling participants, this study received approval from the Northwestern University Institutional Review Board and was filed at (NCT01689012) Involvement and enrollment happened between January and February 2013. The study was conducted between March and July 2013, and data analysis was done between April and May 2015.

The main goal was to ascertain how a facial muscle exercise programme related to how the face and neck looked. Measuring participant satisfaction with face look both before and after the exercise programme was completed was the secondary goal.

The Merz-Carruthers Face Aging Photo Scales were used as the primary outcome measure, which involved 2 blinded doctors (M.A., W.R.) rating standard images (MCFAP). Blinded rater age estimation was used as the co-primary outcome measure. A participant satisfaction survey using an 11-point visual analogue scale (0 = not at all satisfied, 10 = extremely satisfied) served as a secondary end measure.

The Wilcoxon signed-rank test, a nonparametric alternative to paired t tests, was used to examine MCFAP score results. Two-sided paired t tests were used to examine participant satisfaction and anticipated age data. 


There were 27 contestants total (33 screened, 33 found to be eligible, 6 declined to enroll). The data from the 16 participants who underwent the entire 20-week intervention (11 dropped out) and all follow-up visits were evaluated. Table 1 lists the demographics and clinical traits of the subjects. In Table 2, the MCFAP’s outcomes are presented.

Table 1. 

Characteristic Values of 16 Patients’ Demographic Information a

Average age (SD), 53.7 (5.8)

16 females, as of (%) (100)

Race, % of total

Asian 1 (6)

12 Black, 2 White (69)

Table 2.

 Validated Assessment Scale Mean (SD) P Value Baseline Merz-Carruthers Face Aging Photo Scales Weeks 8 and 20

higher face

Resting forehead lines

0.6 (0.5), 0.7 (0.6), 0.8 (0.7), and 0.7 (.38) Forehead lines

1.7 (1.3) (1.3)

2.2 (1.0) (1.0)

Glabellar lines at rest: 2.2 (1.1).20

0.9 (0.7) 0.8 (0.6) 0.8 (0.7) .50

dynamic glabellar lines

1.9 (1.3) (1.3)

1.6 (1.3) (1.3)

1.9 (1.4) >.99

According to the MCFAP measures (Table 2), face exercise enhanced mean (SD) upper cheek fullness at 20 weeks compared to baseline (1.1 [0.6] vs 1.8 [0.7]; P =.003) and lower When baseline and study end were compared, the mean (SD) estimated age considerably decreased (50.8 [4.8] vs 48.1 [5.5] y; P =.002). When baseline and study endpoints were compared, participants were better satisfied with all face aging results (data not shown).


A 20-week facial workout regimen lasting 30 minutes per day or every other day may slightly improve the facial appearance of some middle-aged women. Upper and lower cheek fullness significantly improved as measured by blinded judgements of validated photoscales. The mean participant age as estimated by the raters decreased significantly over time, from 50.8 years at baseline to 49.6 years at 8 weeks and 48.1 years at 20 weeks. Subjects reported considerable improvement in 18 out of 20 facial aspects, and overall satisfaction was quite high.The external validity of this study may have been lowered by its limitations. There were numerous dropouts, a limited sample size, only middle-aged women were included, and the study lacked a control group. Another drawback is that because they chose to participate, individuals may have been more motivated to stick with an exercise routine.In conclusion, a 20-week regimen of facial workouts performed at home appeared to lessen mid-face and lower face fullness. Exercise-induced muscular hypertrophy of the cheek and other muscles may be the mechanism. To determine the generalizability of these findings and to determine the origins and effects of exercise-related alterations, additional research is required.


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3. Goroway, Pamela. Face Fitness: Daily Exercises & Massage Techniques for a Healthier, Younger Looking You. Sterling Publishing, 2011; New York, NY. Using Google Scholar

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