Does electrical stimulation of facial muscles work to “firm up” the face?

What is your opinion of face (electric stimulation) treatment? Exercising the muscles of the face seems to me a logical thing to do, as with the body. Your comments would be appreciated.

This idea sounds really great, right? We imagine that our facial muscles are like the muscles in our core, arms and legs. So our facial muscles will get firmer and stronger if we just work them out. Just like our muscles in the gym, right? Well, not exactly!

Why “working out”/ exercising your face wont tighten skin:

  1. The muscles in our faces are constantly being exercised. They don’t sit on the couch the way our bodies do. They are moving and exercising every time we smile, frown, chew, talk on the phone, and express.
  2. We lose fat pads and bone in our faces as we age; this is true. But, I’ve not seen any evidence that our facial muscles get smaller, as we age. And anatomists out there, please correct me if I’m wrong about this.
  3. Over active facial muscles are the cause behind many of the wrinkles thought to be unattractive in our culture. Example: the “11s,” the lines caused by frowning between the eyes. The problem isn’t lack of exercise when it comes to how much we use our facial muscles.

Other wrinkles caused by muscle action are:

  • “crow’s feet”: muscles around the eyes (see my resource on these here)
  • the lines on the upper lip: pursing of the lips (more info on treatment options here)
  • and lines across the forehead from lifting the eyebrows (how to treat here)

Upper lip lines are interesting because the position of the teeth and bones of the jaw affect these too. And to some extent, these are inherited. Smoking, drinking through a straw, kissing, etc. can make these lines deeper. (But don’t stop kissing!!)

What about electrical stimulation of muscles during a facial?

  • Can the person doing the facial isolate just the muscles that make the face more attractive? Very hard to do. They tend to just stimulate all over.
  • Could stimulating the muscles that cause wrinkles, make them worse? Possibly.
  • Are our facial muscles lazy? Do they need stimulating? Not really.

Bottom Line:

In my opinion, save your money for other things. This is not likely to harm you, but also doesn’t provide much benefit.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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