News just in: you can ex­er­cise, knead and mas­sage youry way to firmer, more youth­fuly look­ing skin.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Remy Rip­pon.

News just in: you can ex­er­cise, knead and mas­sage your way to firmer, more youth­ful-look­ing skin.


Your face fin­ishes at your boobs.” As a beauty editor, I’ve heard this phrase count­less times from der­ma­tol­o­gists, fa­cial­ists and any­one else who cares about skin enough to know that any cream, serum, essence or youthin­fus­ing tonic should not only be used on the face, but also ap­plied as dili­gently on the neck and dé­col­letage. Af­ter all, skin is skin. Now, ap­ply the same prin­ci­ple to ex­er­cise. Fit­ness rou­tines and repet­i­tive ex­er­cises to build and shape mus­cle – prac­tices usu­ally re­served for south of the neck­line – are be­ing in­tro­duced into daily skin­care reg­i­mens to pro­mote cir­cu­la­tion and im­prove over­all skin tone.

While knead­ing, f lex­ing and prod­ding your fa­cial con­tours might seem like an odd con­cept, it’s a cen­turies-old beauty prac­tice that has been used in all cor­ners of the globe. Ja­panese geisha, lauded for their pro­gres­sive beauty rou­tines and youth­ful com­plex­ions, con­sider fa­cial mas­sage, or tsubo, ba­sic main­te­nance to boost cir­cu­la­tion and ease puffi­ness. Mean­while, in South Korea, a hotspot for beauty trends both out­landish and ben­e­fi­cial, skin­care blogs are brim­ming with how-to tu­to­ri­als on “skin fit” ex­er­cises de­signed to, say, lift droopy eyes or cre­ate a nar­rower jaw­line.

So what does it re­ally mean to be “skin fit”? Like squats to tighten the glutes or bi­cep curls to tone the arms, con­stantly en­gag­ing the fa­cial muscles through spe­cific move­ments can po­ten­tially im­prove mus­cle tone and the skin’s lax­ity. “Muscles in the face are ‘mimetic’ muscles, mean­ing they are used for fa­cial ex­pres­sions,” says Dr Jack Zoumaras, a cos­metic sur­geon at Syd­ney’s Artiste Plas­tic Surgery. “They dif­fer from other body muscles by hav­ing at­tach­ments to the over­ly­ing skin and not nec­es­sar­ily aris­ing from bone and ten­dons, like leg and arm muscles. So-called ‘ fa­cial yoga’ can po­ten­tially slow down age­ing by im­prov­ing fa­cial mus­cle tone.”

Lon­don-based fa­cial­ist Ni­chola Joss has pi­o­neered a sculpt­ing fa­cial tech­nique that de­ploys knead­ing and deep lym­phatic mas­sage and has, in turn, gained a du­ti­ful celebrity fol­low­ing from the likes of Gwyneth Pal­trow and Gisele Bünd­chen. Her fa­cials are more work­out than veg-out: Joss con­ducts ap­point­ments not in a spa or salon but, more fit­tingly, in a fit­ness stu­dio in Covent Gar­den (so in-de­mand are her ser­vices, she also hosts a monthly pop-up in New York). Her unique (some may ar­gue, in­tru­sive) mas­sage tech­nique is de­signed to lift the fa­cial con­tours and yield im­pres­sive re­sults. Re­lax­ing it is not. “The treat­ment in­volves mas­sage from in­side the mouth to dis­tress the mus­cle tis­sue and im­prove the tone and firm­ness of the fa­cial muscles to add youth and vi­tal­ity, en­cour­ag­ing the muscles to sit higher,” says Joss, who stud­ied phys­i­ol­ogy be­fore train­ing as an aes­theti­cian. Joss warns clients that, as with real sweat ses­sions, they may feel a lit­tle ten­der post-treat­ment, but should see im­proved firm­ness and over­all ra­di­ance. “It works by ton­ing and de-stress­ing the mus­cle fi­bres to al­low them to be­have more youth­fully, hold­ing less stress and ten­sion, also hold­ing less toxin, which is age­ing to mus­cle and skin tis­sue. Firm­ing muscles and de-stress­ing them makes the fa­cial struc­ture feel lighter and more toned, re­freshed and con­toured.”

Dr Zoumaras says the first ar­eas of the face to lose tone are “around the eyes, fol­lowed by loose skin along the jaw line and ears, fat mov­ing to the wrong place, re­sult­ing in hol­low ar­eas like un­der the eyes, and ar­eas of puffi­ness. The loss of fa­cial

tone re­sults in the de­tach­ment of fine lig­a­ments from the over­ly­ing skin. The skin is now un­sup­ported by the un­der­ly­ing mus­cle and be­comes ‘crepey’. With time the skin then droops down and the fat in the face also de­scends, due to the un­sup­ported mus­cle layer.”

Like for­go­ing the gym for the con­ve­nience of your liv­ing room, there are “face­cises” that you can do to pro­mote mus­cle tone in the face with­out seek­ing out a pro­fes­sional. “Ex­er­cises in­volve open­ing your mouth wide to make an ‘O’ shape, pout­ing the lips and stretch­ing your neck by look­ing up at the ceil­ing. These ex­er­cises will stretch and ac­ti­vate the ma­jor­ity of the fa­cial muscles,” says Dr Zoumaras, who warns against fore­head-fo­cused ex­er­cises, which can ac­tu­ally ac­cen­tu­ate fine lines.

Mean­while, beauty com­pa­nies are ush­er­ing in a dual ap­proach – both top­i­cal and man­ual – to face treat­ments and up­keep. Skin­care leader Der­ma­log­ica re­cently launched its on-counter FaceFit ser­vice, a menu of su­per­charged ex­press treat­ments de­signed to boost glow and ra­di­ance in 10 min­utes. “FaceFit treat­ments achieve vis­i­ble re­sults and cre­ate amaz­ing skin health ben­e­fits by us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of Der­ma­log­ica’s ac­tive cos­me­ceu­ti­cal in­gre­di­ents with high-tech equip­ment such as ul­tra­sound and mi­crocur­rents,” says Emma Hob­son, ed­u­ca­tion man­ager for the In­ter­na­tional Der­mal In­sti­tute and Der­ma­log­ica. I sign up for Der­ma­log­ica’s Bril­liant Eyes ser­vice and, af­ter I’m lath­ered in a ros­ter of serums and mois­turis­ers, the tech­ni­cian be­gins prod­ding and mov­ing the skin in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions to pro­mote blood flow. When the physi­cian hands me the mir­ror I look as though I’ve awo­ken from eight hours’ sleep and, like a de­flated tyre that’s been given a shot of air, the fine lines around my eyes seemed plumper, sans puffi­ness. I fol­low an on­line how-to guide to re­peat the tech­nique at home and set aside a few ex­tra min­utes to in­cor­po­rate them into my nightly rou­tine.

The gym skin move­ment has in­fil­trated beauty bags back­stage, too. This sea­son make-up artists re­placed de­scrip­tors like “ef­fort­less” and “un­done” with “gym skin” and “post-work­out”. At Bal­main, where the brief is typ­i­cally along the lines of “mod­ern bomb­shell”, mod­els could have hot-footed it straight from an in­tense sweat ses­sion. “I smoothed a clear gel across the cheek­bones, tem­ples, brows and lips, craft­ing the ap­pear­ance of wet­ness to com­ple­ment the mod­els’ drenched, slicked-back hair,” says make-up artist Tom Pecheux. “I wanted the look to be very dewy and slightly wet, in a way that al­most looked like it was an af­ter­thought of a girl putting her make-up on and then jump­ing into the ocean.”

Mean­while, at Lan­vin and Al­berta Fer­retti, make-up artists were high­lighter-happy, util­is­ing re­flec­tions on the zones of the face – cheek­bones, nose, fore­head and cu­pid’s bow – that would

typ­i­cally per­spire dur­ing a gym class. But even the most art­fully high­lighted com­plex­ion and dili­gent face-ex­er­cise rou­tine needs the sup­port of hard-work­ing skin­care prod­ucts. Dior Cap­ture Totale DreamSkin 1-Minute Mask is a souped-up won­der prod­uct that de­liv­ers an in­stant glow to ra­di­ance-zapped skin. Used twice weekly, the pow­der-pink gel trans­forms into a cream for a turbo-charged dose of chem­i­cal ex­fo­liants such as sal­i­cylic, gly­colic and cit­ric acids.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, di­rect­ing your ef­forts away from the prob­lem at hand can yield ef­fec­tive re­sults. Many der­ma­tol­o­gists agree that while tone and plump­ness are im­por­tant el­e­ments in main­tain­ing a youth­ful com­plex­ion, one shouldn’t over­look the ben­e­fits of bright­en­ing. Perricone MD Thio:Plex In­ten­sive is a two-step bright­en­ing sys­tem with anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties to smooth out dis­coloura­tion and brighten the skin tone over­all. Uniquely, it also ad­dresses loss of firm­ness, with 93 per cent of con­sumers who tested the prod­ucts re­port­ing their skin ap­peared “firmer, brighter and more youth­ful”.

I don’t need a study to be con­vinced. I switch up my skin­care reg­i­men to in­clude an arse­nal of firm­ing and bright­en­ing prod­ucts, which I knead into the skin with some tar­geted mas­sage tech­niques. While it might be all the prod­ding or the M. A.C Strobe Cream I’ve been dili­gently ap­ply­ing to amp up the glow, af­ter a week I feel recharged and the top layer of my skin feels slightly more sup­ple while si­mul­ta­ne­ously toned. And the best part? I didn’t even need to set foot in­side a sweaty gym.


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