*Due to the overwhelming interest in this topic, we have just (September 2015) created and launched a premium program that is specifically geared towards shaping and contouring your face and improving its shape naturally (without surgery). If this sounds like it might interest you, take a look at it here, there's nothing else like it online.
Admittedly, this is a bit of an odd topic to write about. However, it is a very real concern for some people and I've gotten the question more than a few times, so I thought I'd dedicate a whole post to it. Enjoy.
It’s the first thing people notice about you when they meet you. There are very few ways to hide it, and you’ve got to live with it. Your face is your first foot forward. It’s no wonder that so many people want to get plastic surgery to make it look like they’ve lost weight in their face.
It’s important to remember that there are alternatives to expensive and potentially dangerous surgeries when your goal is simply thinning or tightening the look of your face. Your face is no different than any other area on your body when it comes to losing weight. The same things that cause you to lose weight in your thighs or your arms or your belly, will also cause your face to have a more firm, slim, and young appearance. Contrary to some information out there, your face is not immune to the effects of exercise.
In fact, when someone starts a weight loss routine, one of the first places that they notice weight loss is in the face. This is good news, as the time required to notice a visible change to your face in the mirror is relatively small when compared with some of the more well-known trouble spots, like the thighs and love handles.
When someone is unhappy with the shape of their face, the reason can usually be traced back to one of two main causes, and usually a combination of them both. They are:
- You have too much fat covering your face.
- Your facial muscles lack elasticity.
There are things you can actively go out and do to counteract both of these problems, and we’re going to discuss all the ones that work in this article.
It’s first important to note that it is by and large impossible to target the fat on your face for weight loss independently of any other part on your body. Spot reduction is not possible anywhere on the body, as it’s genetics that predominantly dictates where you will lose fast first and how fast you’ll lose it on a particular part of the body. The American College of Sports Medicine puts it like this, “No exercise will eliminate fat from a specific area of the body, just as no change in your level of caloric intake will guarantee that the fat will melt away in the area of the body you most want to address. As a rule, the pattern in which you lose body fat is genetically predetermined.”
What does this mean to those of you wanting to lose a layer of fat on and around your face? It means you need to begin a calorie controlled diet and start exercising. This will have you losing weight all over your body, but like I said earlier, one of the first places many people start noticing weight loss is in their face.
As far as exercising is concerned, it will greatly accelerate your results if you do both cardio and weight training. Ideally, you should dedicate three days a week to a gym where you can strength train. You can also do this from home. Dedicate another 3 days a week to cardio, whether it be running, biking, the elliptical – it doesn’t matter. Alternate your strength training and your cardio days.
A good workout routine and calorie controlled diet will eliminate any of the fat covering your face and neck area, but it won’t directly influence your muscle and skin elasticity in the face.
Are Facial Exercises Useful?
Facial exercises are not a new thing. In fact, they’ve been used by the medical community for many years to correct certain orofacial issues caused by disease or injury. This practice is called Orofacial Myology. Certified Orofacial Myologist Licia Paskay says, “exercises for the face are very good, they balance the muscles and a balanced face makes a person look better.” She goes onto explain that they truly are the only viable alternative to surgical reconstruction. “The non-surgical method is through regular exercise of facial muscles and this can be accomplished effectively without any of the health risks, expense, and pain or scarring of surgery or injections,” explains Paskay.
Dr. Mark Berman, MD, past President of the California Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons says bout facial exercises. “…this is a medically sound method of achieving and maintaining a more youthful facial appearance with the capacity of obtaining results that are comparable to those that can be achieved by surgical means. It makes sense medically. Like a face lift or fat injection, such physical exercise of the facial muscles can create a more youthful, healthier appearance by causing the facial skin to tighten up and become more toned. And it can accomplish this effectively without any of the health risk, expense, pain or scarring of surgery. Whether you’re 30 or 70, you’ll see a definite change.”
For these reasons, I recommend facial exercises first and foremost when wanting to lose weight in your face. Particularly when someone loses a lot of fat in their face, they’re often met with the problem of excess skin hanging in their neck area. Combine this with a lack of elasticity and tightness in your facial muscles, and you create the need for some exercises and tricks to win your battle to lose weight in your face. The following exercises will work your facial muscles. Do them in front of a mirror, and keep your back teeth lightly touching together throughout each exercise.
Exercise #1: Jaw Muscle
Place your middle fingers on the corner of your mouth (not inside the lips) as shown in the picture. These will provide resistance in the exercise. Smile outwards from the corner of your mouth in the direction shown in the picture. Concentrate on stretching your lower lip and chin during the movement. Hold at the widest position possible for 5 seconds, and return. Do this 8 times.
Exercise #2: Full Face
Place your index fingers along the laugh lines between your mouth and your nose, along the bottom line shown in the picture. Put some pressure on your face with your index fingers, and imagine trying to hold your lips and mouth in the same position during the exercise with these fingers.
Now, try and lift up all the cheek muscles indicated by the arrows in the picture. Work against your fingers, and don’t let your fingers move up at all. Hold at the top of the movement for 5 seconds, and repeat it 8 times.
Exercise #3: Cheeks
Place your fingers in the same position as you did in exercise #1. Smile upwards, along the lines shown in the picture. Use your fingers as resistance and pull your muscles up towards your temples as far as you can. Hold for 5 seconds and once again, repeat 8 times.
Exercise #4: Double Chin
Lean your head all the way back and look a the ceiling. Make sure the front of your neck feels stretched. Now, purse your lips, pushing them upwards towards the ceiling and hold them for 5 seconds. Relax your lips. This is one rep. Repeat this 8 times.
Do these facial exercises daily, and keep them up. You’ll see and feel the difference in your face – so long as you’re keeping up that calorie controlled diet and your workouts.
Tips and Tricks
There are a couple of things you can do to almost instantly improve the look of your face. These are useful to use before someone takes a picture of you, before a big date, before graduation, etc.
- Change your posture. Try to stand as tall as you can and imagine that there are strings pulling your head up. Lift your chin a little higher than normal. This will cut down on the look of a double chin and an undefined jaw line.
- Before someone takes a picture of you, pull your head all the way up, as if held by strings, and then push your chin (and your head along with it) an inch or two forward. Then, slightly tilt your chin downwards. This will completely get rid of most double chins in photos.
- Slap underneath your chin repeatedly with your pointer and middle fingers. This causes any excess skin hanging below your jaw line to actually contract, and visibly reduce in size.
- This last one is mainly for women, but contouring your face using makeup can be very effective in reducing or emphasizing parts of your face. Also, shorter hairstyles tend to make faces look rounder. Try growing your hair out.
Remember though, these are just last minute tricks, they won’t actually make you lose fat in your face at all. My first recommendation is also my best, control how much you’re eating, and exercise regularly. This will give you better results than makeup, a new hair cut, and facial exercises alone.
P.S. Just another quick reminder, if you'd like a little more guidance and detail than this, we've developed a full-fledged program (called Face Fitness) that's specifically dedicated to thinning and defining your face. It covers everything from what to eat, when to eat it, what to exercise, how often you should exercise, what to avoid, and a whole lot more. If this is something that might interest you, take a look – The Face Fitness Center.