What Plastic Surgeons Think About Facial Exercises

Can you firm up a sagging jawline with Facercise? Can you turn your frown lines into smile lines with Happy Face Yoga?

Plastic surgeon Dr. Joel Aronowitz says the answer is generally no, but facial exercises as directed by your plastic surgeon can help with healing after surgical procedures.


Carole Maggio says that her Facercise program is Hollywood’s best-kept secret.

Claiming it to be a natural alternative to plastic surgery, Maggio promotes “no-lipo lipo” for getting rid of cellulite, plump lips without injections or lip gloss, and wrinkle removal without Botox. Offering books, DVDs, and consultations over Skype, Facercise is used by thousands of people, many of whom are happy with their results.

Plastic surgeons tend to disagree. One expert, Dr. Jerry Spiegel, chief of reconstructive surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine, labels Facercise a total waste of time. However, Dr. Murad Alam of Northwestern University disagrees.

Murad says, “The facial exercises that work are those that involve squeezing and puckering the cheeks. There are lots of muscles in the cheeks that power facial motion, and exercising those muscles makes them look fuller.”

Joel Aronowitz MD points out that Facercise usually involves two 90-minute sessions with an instructor either face-to-face or by Skype or Zoom. Then it’s necessary to do the exercises for 20 minutes a day for 10 weeks and 20 minutes every other day for the next 10 weeks.

Happy Face Yoga

Facial exercise expert Gary Sikorski has created Happy Face Yoga, a streaming program that promises to stimulate 57 muscles in the face, neck, and scalp. The program promises to improve your complexion, tone your facial muscles, eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce sagging skin, all without plastic surgery.

Sikorski cites the Northwestern University study we mentioned above as proof his program works. That’s only fair because the study used his exercises. One thing Happy Face Yoga has going for it is that it is not hard to learn.

Consider The Cheek Lifter. To do this Happy Face Yoga exercise, you open your mouth and scrunch your lips into an O. You pull your upper lip over your teeth, lift your cheek muscles with a smile, place your fingers on the top part of your cheek, let your cheek muscles relax, and then lift them back up.

Then you repeat the exercise. Sikorski has a total of 32 exercises.

The dermatologists who conducted the study of Happy Face Yoga said that the exercises took about one year off the apparent age of participants for every 10 weeks they did the exercises. That’s looking several years younger after doing exercises every other day for a year.

The Bottom Line on Facial Exercise

Dr. Aronowitz has nothing against facial exercise for patients who aren’t recovering from surgery. Facial exercise and surgery don’t always mix. But Aronowitz advises that the fastest and longest-lasting results come from surgical intervention, carefully following the doctor’s orders for follow-up care.

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