French writer and coach Catherine Pez has penned best-selling books on facial gymnastics, a practice that is gaining popularity throughout the world.
As a new edition of her latest book (written in French), La Gymnastique Faciale, comes out with a bonus section devoted to the different shapes of the face, we spoke to her about the many benefits of these exercises and found out more about the how, when and why of doing them on a daily basis. – AFP Relax News
You have a degree in literature and writing fiction. How did you become interested in facial gymnastics?
When I was around 48 years old, I noticed that my facial features were starting to slide downwards when I was bending over a mirror. I became interested in the muscles located under the skin in this area. With the help of my husband who’s a doctor, I began my research and, in particular, I became aware of these skin muscles’ existence and how effective they could be (in this regard). As someone who loves writing, it didn’t take me long to come up with the idea of sharing my experience with other women through a book.
How can facial gymnastics be beneficial for skin?
Diligently exercising the 50 muscles of our face in repeated tense-relax cycles has an undeniable effect on the firmness of the skin. It’s just like a workout in a gym for the muscles of the body. Not only will these exercises help tighten the muscle fibers under the skin, but they will also stimulate the biological elements essential to maintaining its good condition, such as hydration, diffusion of hyaluronic acid, and collagen and elastin production.
read more: DIY cosmetics: What you should know and how they can help your skin
Does the emergence of methods such as facial gymnastics indicate that our modern lifestyles and behaviors have contributed to sagging skin?
I don’t think so, on the contrary. Our mothers and grandmothers have always experienced such deterioration of their features post-menopause. And one can’t deny that a 70-year-old of today is completely different from a person of that age in the past… I am convinced that our awareness of what is detrimental to our beauty and health – the harmful effects of the sun or excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, for example – is well established. We all know what we’re dealing with, and skin science is making steady progress. I think we are much more involved and perhaps also pay more attention to not straying too far from what’s natural… That’s mainly what’s changed.
The approach that you have developed includes an exercise program adapted to each face shape. Can you explain how that works?
Following the publication of my previous books on the subject, and through my experience in the field, I became aware that since each face shape has its own particularity, it is not always desirable for each person to exercise the same muscles. A square face should not overwork the jaw muscles, while a long face should focus on this area. With such exercises, we can not only remedy the sagging of the tissues but also correct certain defects linked to this sagging.
Would you say that facial gymnastics can be as effective as a botox session?
I don’t think I would say that, for the simple reason that botox paralyses the muscle more than temporarily. The work done on our muscle fibers through facial gymnastics exercises does not seek to paralyse the muscle but to stimulate it so that the fiber shortens and lifts the features. It’s my conviction that wrinkles appear when the muscle that supports the skin in this area is weak. Of course paralyzing it with botox injections should make the unsightly lines disappear, but in doing so the face becomes mummified and loses its facial expressions. This is not the effect that I’m looking for by advocating the practice of facial exercises.
Which areas of the face can be worked on?
All of them! If the need is there, there’s no zone that can’t benefit from facial gymnastics. The facial contour, cheeks, forehead, temples and even the eye area… There are exercises for every part of the face.
If you’re over 40, is it already too late to start facial gymnastics?
Absolutely not! That’s the ideal age to start: as soon as the first signs of aging appear… and these signs begin around the time of menopause, between the ages of 45 and 50 in most cases. The loss of female hormones results in a loosening of the tissues, on all levels, and it is first noticed on the face.
There are dozens of exercises in your book. Do you have to do them all regularly to turn back the hands of time for your face?
It’s not so much a question of turning back the hands of time as of maintaining the good condition of your skin on a daily basis. Diligence will pay off and underwrite its effectiveness. The idea is not to do all the exercises. That’s why I have established a routine in the book according to each toning problem that arises according to age and issue.
read more: People are ‘mewing’ to sculpt their faces, but does this beauty technique work?
Is there one that you consider a must?
Actually, to be precise, I have two. The first one is the one that deals with the shape, the contour of the face. It’s about stopping its slackening by working on the digastric muscle. The second is the one that will reorient the face towards the center, working on the cheekbones, with work on lifting the upper lip.
Do you think that in the long run these manual methods could come to replace the countless creams that we apply on a daily basis?
Self-massage as well as Jacquet pinching are two important pillars in maintaining the beauty of facial skin. Self-massage, in addition to forcing you to follow the location of facial muscles, will help drain the lymphatic vessels in their path, and smooth out and relax involuntary tension, such as wrinkles between the eyes, for example. Jacquet pinching will stimulate the muscle fiber deep down and give it the impetus it needs to produce hyaluronic acid. However, creams won’t get supplanted, largely because they force us to interact with our skin on a daily basis. They are an integral part of our beauty care. In self-massage, they must be used to allow our fingers to glide over the skin without wrinkling it and at the same time self-massage gestures help them penetrate the epidermis.