Just 30 minutes of daily facial exercise could be the answer to looking younger in middle age, according to new American university research.
Regular ‘face yoga’ performed over a 20-week period has been found to help middle-aged women look younger, with fuller upper and lower cheeks.
The scientific study at the Northwestern University of Chicago tested women aged 40-65 who performed 32 distinct facial exercises.
Lead author Dr Murad Alam, who is also vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said facial exercises could offer a non-toxic alternative to existing cosmetics.
“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” she said.
“The exercises enlarge and strengthen the facial muscles, so the face becomes firmer and more toned and shaped like a younger face.”
A standardized facial aging scale assessed photos of the women to assess any changes in perceived age.
The women underwent two sets of face-to-face 90 minutes training sessions to learn the correct exercises, which they continued daily for the next five months.
For the first eight weeks, the subjects exercised daily for 30 minutes, and then performed the same exercises on alternate days for the remainder of the trial.
Facial exercises were developed by Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga, a co-author on the study.
Dermatologists who assessed the results, found the average estimated age of the women decreased over the course of the study, starting at 50.8 years and falling to 48.1 years at the end of the study period.
Although the trial pool was relatively small, the results could lead the way for a more extensive study and offer a viable alternative to expensive cosmetic procedures.
According to a 2015 Dubai Health Authority report, the city has one of the highest ratios of plastic surgeons per capita in the world.
Details of the study have been published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.