Want younger-looking skin? Here's the rub: Facial massage can firm, smooth and sculpt.
But even if you're not trying to stave off wrinkles just yet, there's one more reason to indulge: As with your body, massaging your face can help lower beauty-sapping stress hormones. "Stress hormones can lead to increased acne," says Dr. Leslie Baumann, a professor of dermatology at the University of Miami and author of The Skin Type Solution: A Revolutionary Guide to Your Best Skin Ever. "They can also damage the skin's natural barrier, letting too much water evaporate and dehydrating the skin." But be cautious if you have skin that is prone to breakouts. "Massage causes friction, which can worsen acne in some people," says Baumann. "You should also stay away from oil-based massage creams if you're prone to oiliness."
Whether facial massage is really a well-kept anti-aging secret or just a way to get a temporary glow, one thing is for certain: It will give you a sense of calm and relaxation. "The face, back of the neck and ears are extremely sensitive to touch," says Achilleos. "They contain an abundance of nerves that feel wonderful when touched and have the power to release [tension throughout] the entire body."
Not sure how to give yourself a facial massage? Celebrity facialist Anastasia Achilleos shares her top tips.
• Start by placing a warm cloth over your skin for a minute or two. "This gives your skin an extra dose of oxygen because the heat causes a rush of blood to your tissue," says Achilleos. (Skip this step if you're prone to rosacea.)
• Apply a cleanser, cream or oil and, using your fingertips, massage it all over your face in strong, circular movements. "Focus on areas that can look fatigued, like your jawline, the sides of your nose and around your mouth and forehead, where deeper lines start to accumulate."
• Reduce puffiness by using your fingertips (held horizontal to the face) to smooth the skin from the centre of your face outward.
• For more instructions on how to give yourself a facial massage, check out The Face Lift Massage: Rejuvenate Your Skin and Banish Wrinkles by Kundan and Narendra Mehta.
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