Deborah Tosline wrote and published “Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skincare” in 2015. Her approach to skin care is based on a scientific background, love of research and over 30 years of DIY skincare experience.
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While we slather serums, lotions, and creams on our skin and make time for special facial treatments the skull, the underlying foundation for our facial skin, is losing density and shrinking over time. As the skeletal foundation shrinks the muscles and skin that are draped over the skull slowly begin to sag and droop without adequate support. To maintain your facial contours and firmer skin it is vital to maintain facial bone strength.
A lack of appropriate self-care may result in osteoporosis which weakens the bones allowing them to shrink, become brittle, and susceptible to injury and increased health risks. We typically think about the body when discussing weak bones but shrinking bones also negatively impact the skull and the health of the upper respiratory system, teeth and jaw. I often write that Health = Beauty and once again it rings true here. In addition to the primary health benefits of strong facial bones the beauty co-benefits may include maintaining facial contour, a strong refined jaw, and support for the upper cheek bones and nasal area.
The skull is not one solid bone, it consists of 8 cranial bones and 14 facial bones. The skull bones protect the brain and the vision, taste, hearing, equilibrium, and smell organs. Muscles attach to facial bones and move the head, control facial expressions and help chew.
A 2011 study assessed bone degradation and the extent to which it changes appearance in women and men from ages 20 to 65 years. The study showed the following changes over time:
· eye sockets become wider and longer
· the distance between prominent part of the brow to the top of the nose decreases
· cheekbones recede
· nose bones recede
· lower jaw shrinks in length and height
Why do we care about the skull in skin care? The facial skeleton supports the overlying muscles and skin. If the skull shrinks and facial bones recede, these skeletal changes will result in sagging skin, increased skin folds, chin flattening, and a less firm neckline. The nasal bone may collapse changing the facial contour and compromising nasal health.
This study provides scientific evidence that a decrease in facial bone density may be the primary reason why facial contours change over time and why it is important to restore and maintain facial bone density to maintain the appearance of facial contours.
Fortunately, we can naturally strengthen and maintain bone structure, including the facial skeleton, in good health via nutrition, exercise, and posture at any age. This article focuses on physical methods to maintain facial bone density.
The facial profile may be maintained over time by:
· facial posture
· facial muscle resistance exercises
· facial bone strengthening exercises
Facial posture - it’s a thing and it’s important.
Studies show that ancestral teeth were straight and that the dental arch was wide. When society moved from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, from chewing food to soft foods and an early introduction of semi-solid foods before mature swallowing is developed this resulted in slack jaw muscles, unhealthy changes to the facial bones, and nasal congestion leading to open-mouth breathing. Importantly, these changes modify the tongue-palate posture. Studies show that once the natural tongue-palate posture is lost it is rarely re-established and results in narrowing of the palate and crowded teeth.
The ideal tongue posture is to rest the entire top of the tongue on the palate, this is the natural tongue resting area. Once this practice is re-learned the brain quickly reverts to the correct tongue posture. The correct tongue-palate posture is named Mewing after Dr. Mike Mew, a British orthodontis who developed this Do-It-Yourself orthotropic (natural orthodontics) technique to correct tongue placement. Proper tongue alignment is recognized as a viable way to achieve a refined jaw, improve speech, and potentially reduce jaw-related pain.
· relax the tongue
· place the entire top of the tongue against the roof (palate) of the mouth
· ensure the back of the tongue is pressed against the roof of the mouth
· keep the teeth and lips gently closed
· breathe through the nose
· practice this tongue posture at all times, especially when swallowing and drinking liquids
It is important to hold the mewing posture while swallowing as this applies the strongest force to facial bones helping to maintain their original position. The ideal way to swallow involves pushing the entire top of the tongue upwards, outwards and forward against the palate. The force of the tongue on the palate and the indirect forces on the teeth promote good facial bone growth and facial bone maintenance throughout life.
Poor tongue posture results:
· reduces eye bone support
· flattens cheekbones
· narrows the nasal airway
· lengthens the mid face
· lowers and narrows the palate
· corrects facial asymmetry
· improves jaw strength
· creates well defined cheekbone and jawline profile
· reduces sleep apnea
· reduces mouth-breathing
Studies show that normal tongue-palate posture now appears to be rare and that most folks use a 'suckling like' swallow that does not support nasal, cheek and jaw bones.
The good news is that it is possible to re-establish the correct tongue-palate posture with mindful practice. What have you got to lose? This method takes a few seconds and with practice muscle memory will automatically place the tongue in the correct position and may help you breath and look better over time.
Check out before and after photos posted on the Internet which show anecdotal positive results for this DIY technique. When practicing Mewing as an adult, it may take months or years to see results. Check out this site for dozens of mewing examples, discussions, photos and more.
I began Mewing in August 2019. I was intrigued and found it easy to practice for 6 or more hours per day. To me, proper tongue posture feels like “home” and is comfortable. I know that this is becoming an unconscious habit because I have woken up several times to find my tongue pressed completely against the roof of my mouth, success! I now look forward to a refined jaw in six months or a year or two, however long it takes for me to see physical changes. The best news is that nose breathing has many health benefits and I love the thought of keeping my nose and upper cheek bones from collapsing into my face.
Weight bearing facial exercises
Another way to keep bones strong is to practice weight bearing exercise by working the muscles against a resistance. A resistance may be introduced by any force that makes it more difficult for the muscle to contract and expand. Muscle movement may be resisted against gravity or by weight training.
I am not affiliated with, but have practiced FlexEffect facial muscle resistance training from 2002 to present. It just makes sense to optimize facial exercises by applying a force during the exercises. The hands are used to provide the resistance (weight) to the muscles during the facial exercises.
Facial muscles respond to resistance training in the same manner as the muscles in the body; with continued training the muscles will get stronger. Facial muscles are different from body muscles in that facial muscles connect to bone and skin or to bone and other muscles; muscles of the body connect to bone at both ends. Facial muscles are small, it may take time to see results. The good news is that research shows that muscles may be strengthened at any age, no matter the skill level. Folks who exercise throughout their life and folks who have never exercised both strengthen muscles equally when practicing resistance training.
The best way to strengthen bones is to practice weight-bearing and resistance exercises to force muscles to work against gravity.
Bones seem to be static but bone tissue is active and existing bone is continuously broken down and reabsorbed while new bone material is made and deposited. When facial bones loose density and shrink over time this negatively impacts how the skin drapes over the skeleton.
Resistance training provides fresh oxygen and nutrients to the muscle, increases circulation 10 times, and stresses the bones to promote bone strength. Bone is like muscle, it responds to exercise. Facial exercise promotes facial bone mass density, strength and health when weight bearing exercises are exerted on bones. Scientists report that resistance exercise alone or in combination with other practices may be the best way to increase muscle and bone mass in women and men.
Special Bone Strengthening Exercises
FlexEffect developed training techniques for facial bone strengthening in their BoneFlex Remodeling and Jolting® and Pressure Reps® programs. Facial resistance training will maintain muscle strength but to maintain ones facial contours bone remodeling is required.
The 2010 3rd edition of FlexEffect Facialbuilding includes the Jolting® and Pressure Reps® programs which were developed to address bone atrophy, increase bone density and “remodel” facial bones to maintain their strength over time.
The FlexEffect programs use a jolting action or fast jerking motion to stimulate bone remodeling. Studies have shown that this action produces more bone than any other physical action. Additional exercises apply firm bone pressure to promote remodeling.
In summary, practice self-care to keep as much of yourself as you can as you mature. Maintain the skull in good condition throughout life by practicing good posture (tongue-palate placement), facial muscle resistance exercises and special facial bone strengthening exercises to maintain strong facial bones and facial contour for Health = Beauty. You’ll breath better, feel better and keep facial bones lifted.
If you need more information, go to the library, search the Internet, read my past Blog articles, or get my book “Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skincare”
Take good care of yourself. xo
This article is intended to be used as general information only and is in no way intended to replace medical advice, be used as a medical treatment program, diagnosis, or cure of any disease or medical condition. There are no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the effectiveness of the practices described in this article. Products or substances discussed herein are for educational purposes only and are not intended as recommendations of the author.