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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | The One Exercise That Harms Your Skin

The One Exercise That Harms Your Skin

We all know (and sometimes even love) the feeling: pushing for that final rep or sprinting that last hill in a workout class. We’re going for toned, sleek muscles and we know we have to exert ourselves as fully as possible in order to see change in our bodies. The more we move, the more we expect to sculpt our muscles and tighten our skin.

But there’s one exercise that won’t help you on your journey to firmer skin and will even cause more harm than good: facial exercises.

Why “Working Out” Your Face Doesn’t Work

As recently as a few years ago, there were proponents who said that facial exercises (i.e. repeatedly contorting and stretching your expression to make funny faces) were the best way to tighten and tone the skin on your face. This might seem reasonable when you think about how muscles in different parts of the body will tone and slightly tighten the skin when worked. But for the skin on your face, when you move your muscles, you move the skin, stretching out the skin’s elastic fibers at the same time.

Muscle Fibers Versus Elastic Fibers

When you work out and move your muscles, you are breaking down muscle fibers and building those muscle fibers back to be stronger. You tighten the muscles fibers, giving that “toned” look we’re all striving to create through that last burpee or spin sprint. But when you do something similar with the face, you aren’t achieving similar results.

Dr. Schultz says, “When you move those muscles, you are then moving the overlying skin. Usually, when you move it, you are actually stretching it and at a certain point you are creasing it and folding it. When you stretch skin you are actually stretching the elastic fibers. All elastic fibers, whether they are in your skin or in your clothing, have a finite number of stretches in their life, after which they stop contracting again.”

The Paperclip Effect

When you’re creasing and folding your skin, you’re also folding the collagen in it. And eventually, that collagen will break. Dr. Schultz suggests thinking of it like a paperclip: “It is just like bending a paperclip back and forth time and time again: enough folds and then it will break. So, breaking the skin causes lines and wrinkles, and over stretching it causes it to sag and the elastic fibers to fail prematurely.”

If you've been battling with overstretched skin, especially around the eye area, don't worry — there are lots of things you can do to treat fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. Schultz's Gentle Exfoliating Eye Cream is a great option to treat the delicate skin under and around your eyes. It has a pH-adjusted and buffered glycolic, for gentle yet effective exfoliation. Using this kind of gentle eye cream revives tired, dull-looking eye area skin, as well as decreases the appearance of fine lines and under-eye dark circles with regular use.

Pushing hard through a workout and getting your body moving is great for your muscle fibers. But when it comes to the skin on your face, don’t work too hard. Keeping facial exercises out of your routine is one way to keep your skin from creasing so you can hold onto the firm skin you know and love.

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