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What Is Facial Toning?

By Tara Barnett
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Facial toning is a term used to describe the practice of changing the appearance of the face by stimulating various facial muscles with exercises or electricity. This is thought to reduce sagging, wrinkles, and other features considered undesirable by many people. Whether stimulating the muscles actually changes the appearance of the face is somewhat contested, but many anecdotal accounts confirm its benefits. It is important to note, however, that changing the muscles in the face can be effective only when the muscles are not covered by large amounts of fat.

There are many theories about facial toning and whether or not it works. One of the older techniques involved applying electricity to the face using a mask with various points of contact with the skin. Although this technique is still sometimes used, most people do not believe that this is a healthy strategy for improving the appearance of the face. Many masks used for this purpose can burn the skin and leave scars or may severely damage the face. These beauty tools are widely understood to be gimmicks, although they appear to work for some people.

More careful application of electricity to the face is known to safely stimulate the muscles in the face to some degree. This is typically done with electrodes that are applied individually to areas of the face for a completely custom fit. By applying exactly the amount of electricity that is needed to produce the desired reaction to each individual electrode, a person significantly reduces the chance of injury from electricity. Obtaining the desired results, on the other hand, can be more difficult.

Facial exercises are a safe and somewhat more effective method of facial toning. These exercises are known to be demonstrably effective in the neck and chin area and sometimes effective in other areas of the face. The muscles in the face are not as easy to stimulate as, for example, a bicep, and knowing how to move the face in order to produce results is very important. Among the many exercises, pushing on certain points on the skin and then moving the face are common instructions.

There are some dangers in facial toning by either method. Asymmetry can result, as can pain and even permanent damage to the face. Most of the time, the exercises are not so much dangerous as merely ineffective. Alternatively, they may be effective, but due not to the exercises but other concurrent therapies that have been applied. When beginning a facial toning program, it is important to address the situation critically and avoid falling for scams.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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