Does Facial Massage Really Work? Here are the advantages and limitations

Like the celebrities who claim that their glowing skin is the result of adequate hydration and a little SPF, the idea that a model-worthy bone structure can be achieved through a facial massage is a bit difficult. to believe – even if it is Meghan markle who praises it.

As it turns out, facial massage has some noticeable benefits that it may seem like a bit of sculpting, but first you need to manage your expectations and understand that it might not work the way you think it is.

Companies like FACEGYM assume that facial manipulation can sculpt a higher, tighter, and smoother face, and many facials include some kind of facial massage (from light, shallow massage to mouth massage literally in the mouth. ). And the rise of beauty tools like gua sha and jade rollers in the Western world promises similar benefits. But it’s not so much about changing the shape of your face as it is about removing what bothers you.

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Jade rollers and gua sha tools have grown in popularity over the past few years, claiming to help sculpt your face.

“With the right technique, a facial massage can improve lymphatic drainage, meaning ‘deflate’ the skin,” said Dr. Emilie Sage, certified dermatologist and founder of DermWellesley in Massachusetts. “Massage in general can also help improve circulation and stimulate blood circulation and can lead to a temporary bulkier and ‘shinier’ appearance.” But these results are only temporary, she said, and there is no data to say you can expect long-lasting contouring or wrinkle disappearance entirely.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital, echoed much of what Wise shared. “Facial massage can provide minimal, temporary facial enhancement and contour by helping to remove excess fluid,” Zeichner said, but he notes that it won’t really strengthen muscles or lift the face. . “The only way to really shape the face is to use cosmetics for procedures like injections or surgeries,” he said.

But outside of the medical world, followers of facial massage swear by its benefits. Candace Marin, medical esthetician and founder of The LA Facialist, is of course a huge fan of facial massage and goes so far as to say that a facial that doesn’t incorporate massage is a waste of time. “I have several clients in their 60s who have never had Botox, fillers or surgery and swear a good skin care routine and their monthly facials with deep tissue massage that ‘They continue at home are their fountain of youth,’ Marino said, adding that genetics and liberal sunscreen use are likely also at play.

“Certain techniques can be used to sculpt the face by stimulating the muscles, ligaments and underlying tissues, which activates the production of collagen,” said Marino. (It should be noted that some dermatologists say there is not enough data to know to what extent massage can stimulate collagen, if at all). “Other techniques will remove lymphatic fluid from the tissues, which will detoxify the skin, reduce inflammation and improve facial contours.”

She thinks massage can better define facial contours, especially in those who wake up puffy from excess fluid. And for those of us who have discovered how asymmetrical our faces are (thanks, TikTok), she thinks that facial massage can also be useful there.

Marino cautions that facial massage is not a substitute for a facelift, “however, it’s an alternative for those who aren’t interested in going under the knife,” she said.

Below, see an example of the type of massage Marino does.

The good news is that you don’t need to make an appointment to experience facial massage, and while you can invest in jade rollers or gua sha stones, there is no need to spend. money.

“When it comes to massage, there is no better tool than your own hands,” Zeichner said. “But there are a variety of devices on the market that do more than just massage the skin. Tools like the gua sha are specially designed to help remove excess fluid, and the rollers give the cooling effect of the stone against the skin to constrict blood vessels. What about those vibrant gold bars that Goop loves? “There is limited data showing that vibration can help improve the activity of the skin cells themselves to strengthen the skin,” Zeichner said.

You only need five to ten minutes a day, but since sculpting results don’t last forever, consistency is key. Two exercises suggested by Marino are sculpting and pinching the jaw.

To sculpt your jaw, you can use your index and middle fingers on either side of your jaw bone and move with firm pressure and an upward motion from your chin to behind your ear (there are plenty of resources online though. you need a visual). “You can also sculpt the chin / jaw, keeping the bone between the knuckle of the thumb and forefingers. There really is no right or wrong, you just have to find what is comfortable for you and apply the right pressure, ”said Marino.

“Pinching techniques are great for improving circulation and bringing skin to life – you’ll literally glow,” said Marino. You can do this by pinching and patting your skin with firm pressure, and it’s especially effective on the lips and cheeks. “Every time I do this before going out, people ask me if I just got lip injections,” she said.

Gua sha facial massage can be done at home or professionally at a spa.

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Gua sha facial massage can be done at home or professionally at a spa.

However, it is important to set realistic expectations. “You won’t sculpt your face into Bella Hadid’s if you don’t already have her bone structure,” said Marino, but you can make some improvements with regular practice. And ordinary practice is the key, since the facial massage has a cumulative effect it is not one and done.

“A massage won’t keep you sculpted for weeks. That’s why celebrities come the day before or the day of a red carpet event for a facelift, contour and shine. But they keep up to date by massaging between their visits with me, ”said Marino.

For serious, longer-lasting results, you’ll need to try something stronger than massage – and realize that those perfect face structures are the result of more than just good DNA.

“For the facial contour, I would recommend exploring facial fillers for a more permanent result,” Wise said. “When performed by a certified specialist, these fillers can be injected with extreme precision and can shape and sculpt the face very well. This coupled with makeup and the right lighting is probably responsible for most of the gorgeous facial contours that have become the norm on social media and with influencers / celebrities, ”she shared.

If you prefer home treatments, Marino suggests NuFace, a microcurrent device. “You see instant results and with regular use you will keep the skin in good condition, support tissue and delay the signs of aging,” she said. It can be combined with a facial massage to boost results. “The addition of micro-current gives the skin an electric drive, it stimulates both tissues and muscles and energizes the face. You will literally see a lift on your face when you finish one side before moving on to the other, ”said Marino.

At the very least, taking a moment with your skin can be relaxing, and with realistic expectations, your hands and firm, even pressure, you might even see your jaw in a sharper light.

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