French writer and coach Catherine Pez has written best-selling books on facial gymnastics, a practice that is gaining popularity around the world.
As a new edition of her latest book (written in French), facial gymnastics, comes with a bonus section dedicated to the different shapes of the face, we talked to her about the many benefits of these exercises and learned about the hows, whens and whys of doing them on a daily basis. – AFP Relax news
You have a degree in literature and write fiction. How did you get interested in facial gymnastics?
When I was about 48 years old, I noticed that my features started to slide down when I bent down in front of a mirror. I became interested in the muscles that are under the skin in this area. With the help of my husband who is a doctor, I started my research and became especially aware of the existence of these skin muscles and how effective they could be (in this regard). As someone who loves to write, it didn’t take me long to get the idea to share my experience with other women through a book.
How can facial exercises benefit the skin?
Diligently training the 50 muscles of our face in repeated tense-relax cycles has an undeniable effect on skin firmness. It’s like a workout in a gym for the muscles of the body. These exercises will not only help to tighten the muscle fibers under the skin, but they will also stimulate the biological elements that are essential for maintaining good condition, such as hydration, diffusion of hyaluronic acid and the production of collagen and elastin.
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Does the rise of methods such as facial gymnastics indicate that our modern lifestyles and behaviors have contributed to sagging skin?
I don’t think so, quite the contrary. Our mothers and grandmothers have always experienced such deterioration in their facial features after menopause. And it cannot be denied that a 70-year-old today is completely different from a person of that age in the past… I am convinced that our awareness of what is harmful 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 advancing steadily. I think we are much more involved and maybe also pay more attention so as not to stray too far from what is natural… That is mainly what has changed.
The approach you have developed includes an exercise program adapted to each face shape. Can you explain how that works?
After the publication of my previous books on the subject, and my experience in the field, I became aware that since every face shape has its own peculiarities, it is not always desirable for every person to train the same muscles. A square face should not overload the jaw muscles, while a long face should focus on this area. With such exercises, we can not only remedy the prolapse of the tissues, but also correct certain defects associated with this prolapse.
Would you say that facial exercises can be just as effective as a botox session?
I don’t think I would say that, for the simple reason that botox paralyzes the muscle more than temporarily. The work done on our muscle fibers through facial gymnastics is not meant to paralyze the muscle, but to stimulate it so that the fiber shortens and lifts the facial features. It is my belief that wrinkles form when the muscle supporting the skin in this area is weak. Of course, paralyzing with botox injections should make the unsightly lines disappear, but in doing so, the face is mummified and loses its facial expressions. This is not the effect I seek by advocating the practice of facial exercises.
Which parts of the face can be worked on?
All of them! When 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 contour… There are exercises for every part of the face.
If you are over 40, is it already too late to start doing facial gymnastics?
Absolutely not! That’s the ideal age to start: as soon as the first signs of aging appear… and these signs start around menopause, in most cases between the ages of 45 and 50. The loss of female hormones results in a loosening of the tissues, at 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 time for your face?
It’s not so much a matter of turning back time as it is about keeping your skin in good condition every day. Diligence will pay off and guarantee its effectiveness. The idea is not to do all the exercises. That is why I have established a routine in the book according to each toning problem that arises based on age and problem.
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Is there one you think is a must?
Actually, to be precise, I have two. The first is the one that deals with the shape, the contours of the face. The point is to stop its sagging by working on the stomach muscle. The second is the one that will reorient the face to the center, working on the cheekbones, with work on lifting the upper lip.
Do you think these manual methods can replace the countless creams we apply daily in the long run?
Self-massage and Jacquet squeezing are two important pillars to maintain the beauty of the facial skin. Self-massage not only forces you to follow the location of the facial muscles, but also helps to drain the lymphatic vessels in their path and smooth out and relax involuntary tension, such as wrinkles between the eyes. Squeezing cutaway stimulates the muscle fibers deep within and gives it the impetus it needs to produce hyaluronic acid. However, creams are not being pushed aside, mainly because they force us to deal with our skin on a daily basis. They are an integral part of our beauty care. In self-massage, they should 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.