Is face yoga the key to a youthful appearance?

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On

Face yoga is the latest beauty trend with endorsements from celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston, who claim it is their weapon against wrinkles and signs of aging.

Founder Annelise Hagen, a New York yoga instructor who has written The Yoga Face and been featured on American daytime television, says that making specific facial expressions until the muscles feel stretched and relaxed is the key to a youthful appearance.

"The exercises themselves help to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, so you're definitely going to get more tone, firmness and resilience," Hagen tells a CBS-affiliate news station.

It's a bold claim, and one that may be too hokey-pokey for some, but if you try just a few of her facial stretches, you might notice less tension.

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Proponents say that in addition to smoothing crow's feet, firming cheeks, lifting nasal labial folds and preventing a sagging neck, face yoga can also ease eye strain and headaches.

"When you apply pressure with your fingertips or make certain facial expressions, you're toning and strengthening the muscles," Hagan tells Total Beauty. "I would never say face yoga eradicates all lines, but it can definitely change the downward drift."

Face yoga's popularity is growing and Hagen claims this is because women are looking for an alternative to Botox due of the potential health risks and associated puffiness.

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"Relaxing the facial muscles, especially where we hold tension -- like the jaw, brow, and forehead -- can counteract the wrinkle-causing grimacing we do on a daily basis," she says.

She compares her "The Lion Face" pose to a mini-face lift.

"You constrict, tighten every single muscle, not just your face, but your hands, your buttocks, your knees and then you let it go and you feel great," she says.

But before you jump on the face yoga bandwagon, know that some doctors are thoroughly unconvinced it is the ticket to long-lasting youth.

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"The earlier you start face yoga, the earlier you'll get wrinkles," says facial cosmetic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel. "You don't get wrinkles from loss of elasticity in your muscles; you get wrinkles in your skin. And repetitive movement creates creases in the skin. It's like folding a piece of paper."

A reporter for The Daily Mail tried face yoga for one week and she was equally unenthused.

"A week of practice hasn't made a visible difference to my skin," writes Anna Pursglove.

Curious how to perform the various face yoga poses? Click here for a photo gallery or check out one of the videos below.