Plastic Surgery 101

Despite the hype, facial exercises do not get rid of your wrinkles

A woman does facial exercises in a Revita-Yoga class, which combined the exercises with yoga, at the New York Health & Racquet Club in 2007.
A woman does facial exercises in a Revita-Yoga class, which combined the exercises with yoga, at the New York Health & Racquet Club in 2007. NYT

Q. My friends are all doing facial exercises and telling me that it’s the best thing for wrinkles of the face. What is your take on this?

A. I always like to break things down in simple terms. When muscles are exercised, they become bigger and stronger and, therefore, they pull more. Wrinkles are caused by sun exposure and strong muscles that pull the skin in certain vectors.

Botox is a drug that weakens or paralyzes muscles in order to stop wrinkles. Now, let’s put it all together!

People pay a lot of money for Botox to diminish the movement of muscles in order to stop wrinkles that are caused by muscle movement. Logic would tell you that doing facial exercises would, therefore, cause more wrinkles.

In this case, logic is the correct answer. These exercises and many other types of non-invasive treatments are sold to the public because they sound like the right thing to do. But, clearly, they are not.

When patients strengthen their muscle, you have more tone. But as you get older and the skin can no longer keep the muscle from retracting away from the skeleton, as in the platysmal bands, or neck area, the flabby skin and wrinkles get worse. We use Botox in the neck to make these bands look better.

This is just an example of the many things that are sold to consumers, which either don’t work or make things worse. My suggestion is when something sounds too good to be true, ask your plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist as it relates to your beauty needs.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board-certified. He also is a clinical assistant professor at FIU Herbert Wertheim School of Medicine. Email your questions at Cwolf@miamiplasticsurgery.com. Follow him at @CarlosWolfMD

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