Are Face Exercises the Key to a Firmer, Lifted Face? Here’s What Experts Say

The secrets to abs and a firm butt may include sit-ups and squats (sad but true). But what if you want to lift and tone your face? Can face exercises lift and tighten your skin for an all-over toned look the way a monthly gym membership can transform your body? 

If you're dealing with wrinkles or volume loss on your face, rest assured that you're one among millions. It's a perfectly normal part of aging, but if you do want to tighten things up, doesn't it stand to reason that if exercise can work for your body, it can work for your face? We tapped board-certified plastic surgeons Michael Somenek and Lyle Leipziger, to break down trends in facial exercises and their thoughts on whether or not they can help tighten things up. 

Experts In This Article
  • Lyle Leipziger, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon and Chief of Plastic Surgery North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center in Long Island
  • Michael Somenek, MD, double-board certified facial plastic surgeon based in Washington, D.C and NYC.

Do face exercises actually work? 

It's a fact that exercise is great for your body but facial exercises? The jury is still out. "While some people claim to experience positive results from regular face exercises, scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness for tightening and lifting the skin is limited," says Dr. Somenek. "Facial exercises may not necessarily result in significant changes in the appearance of the face, such as lifting or tightening the skin." Instead, other factors such as genetics, age, and skincare routines play a much more significant role.

So take any "at-home facelift TikToks" with a huge grain of salt. "The theory of expanding muscle to lift and tighten the skin, as we do with our bodies, doesn't usually translate to the face," Dr. Leipziger says. In fact, it might do more harm than good: "In our practice, we use treatments such as Botox to prevent and improve wrinkles by relaxing the muscles," he adds. "With that in mind, repeated movements or excess muscle activity can actually cause wrinkles, laugh lines, and crow's feet rather than reduce them."

Can you build face muscles or tone your face? 

If you've tried it and seen some light results, it's likely due to improved circulation, notes Dr. Somenek. This means you're not actually toning or building face muscles—you're just using the movement to get blood flowing, which may result in a nice temporary glow. 

And if wrinkles aren't your concern but losing weight in the face is, facial exercises won't work the same way exercise or lifestyle changes can. "Facial muscles are on a much smaller scale than the larger, muscle-building areas of the body that can increase metabolism and reduce fat volume," says Dr. Somenek.

How can I lift my face naturally? 

"Being realistic about expectations for skin tightening is the most important factor when considering what can be done naturally to the face," says Dr. Somenek. Because the firmness of skin on the face is supported by things like collagen and elastin fibers (not necessarily muscle tone), when it comes to natural, non-invasive solutions to lift the face, your best bet is skincare that includes retinoids and antioxidants, sun protection, and lifestyle habits like regular exercise. 

How can I tighten the skin under my chin and neck? 

Still, if tightening the skin in the chin or neck area is your concern you have options:

In-office treatments

In-office treatments with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon are a great option if you're trying to lift or tone facial skin. Laser treatments like a non-ablative, fractional laser can leverage heat to target the dermis and stimulate new collagen production. Dr. Leipziger says microneedling can also create micro-injuries on the skin that will stimulate collagen and tighten things up. 


"A medical grade retinol can tighten and brighten skin," says Dr. Somenek, due to its natural ability to stimulate collagen production. "I recommend that all patients follow a daily skincare regimen with moisturizers, antioxidants, and potentially retinol to keep their skin looking good," Dr. Leipziger agrees. "Everyone benefits from a regular skincare routine, and it's helpful to consult with a professional to build a multimodality treatment plan based on their age, needs, and goals, which can be implemented over time."


Slightly more invasive than in-office treatments, injectables can either prevent the formation of wrinkles (Botox) or plump up skin in places where volume loss is occurring (hyaluronic acid fillers). 


Of course, the most invasive option to tighten the chin and neck is a facelift. "Facelifts are performed to address various signs of aging in the mid to lower regions of the face and jawline," says Dr. Leipziger. We carefully reshape the underlying facial tissues to soften and smooth away visible signs of aging and create a strong, youthful facial structure."

Final takeaway 

Despite all the chatter on TikTok, there's no quick fix for lifting and toning the face — in fact, facial exercises may make lines deeper or more pronounced. Instead, some patience with the right skincare regimen, in-office laser or microneedling treatments, or even surgical procedures are your best bets if firmer, lifted skin is your end game.

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