4 Natural Ways To Target Facial Asymmetry & Uneven Aging, From A Derm
As we get older, research shows our faces become increasingly asymmetrical. A popular plan of action is to use fillers or injectables to correct these imbalances, but because we like to approach beauty at a holistic angle around here, we consistently try to decipher the root cause of certain skin care concerns, be it asymmetries, puffiness, or general "signs of aging." And in our 2022 Wellness Trends, we argue that body alignment can actually help bring balance back to the face—as a result, we predict bodywork will become the focus of facial skin care.
Triple board-certified and integrative dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., FAAD, is on board with the idea: "The way that we use our muscles can affect our faces," she says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. Here, she explains how to target facial asymmetry using holistic, whole-body methods:
1. Find the cause.
Before actually targeting the facial asymmetry itself, it's important to discover what may be causing the imbalance in the first place—if it's a lifestyle habit you can change (like, say, your sleeping position), you're better equipped to stop the asymmetry in its tracks. "Some people notice if they sleep on a certain side, that side of their face gets flatter. So maybe it's just addressing your sleep," Turegano says.
Of course, the root cause can differ from person to person. "Is this something new? Was there an event, accident, or physical trauma that happened that could have maybe led to [asymmetry]? Is there a habit or activity that's making you do something more on one side versus the other?" Turegano poses. "First try to figure out what the issue is." Then you can dive into fixes.
If the root cause is difficult to pinpoint, "I'm actually a fan of chiropractics and having [a professional] take a look to see if there's any misalignment in your neck or your overall spine," Turegano says.
Your body alignment, as we mentioned, can have a significant impact on the face over time. "If we have a hip injury, for example, and we are in pain for a long period of time, we will develop a specific movement pattern, simply to be able to move pain-free or with as little pain as possible," Fumiko Takatsu, face yoga instructor and founder of the Face Yoga Method, tells us in our Wellness Trends piece. "Of course, this will cause the body to be out of alignment; yes mainly the hip, but as kind of a domino effect, it can also be shown in our face as a facial asymmetry."
On to bodywork: If facial asymmetries can lend insight on body alignment, whole-body healing modalities can help bring balance back to the face. "Things like massage, acupuncture, and overall energy healing type of modalities—whether it's reiki or other forms," Turegano explains. Acupuncture, for example, is all about flow: Before focusing on facial rejuvenation, professionals (like Debbie Kung, DAOM, L.Ac.) typically perform several sessions of body constitutional acupuncture. Why? Because your chi can't flow to the face if the hips, back, or other parts of the body are blocked.
"Everything does manifest with the skin," Turegano continues. "When the body is balanced, it can show up as healthy skin, too."
That doesn't mean you must always seek out a professional to do the work. At-home modalities, like regular massage, can also help encourage flow, thus targeting facial asymmetries. "I'm a fan of massage work, ways to reduce tension in your upper back, neck, and shoulders," Turegano says. "I'm a fan of facial massage, too, because it just invigorates the muscles in your face, promotes circulation, and provides the nourishment that our face needs." Studies even show that massage improves circulation in the face and aids lymph flow.
You don't even have to get fancy with tools, says Turegano: "You can just use your own fingers with a facial oil," she notes. "I am a fan of different tools because to me it's fun. But even just using your fingers to massage your face is helpful." Here's a nine-step DIY facial massage tutorial, if you need help getting started.
In holistic skin care conversations, we typically discuss how sleep, nutrition, mental health, and movement can affect skin quality—now, let's add body alignment to the conversation. With facial asymmetries, in particular, bodywork can affect the imbalances in a significant way, and we shouldn't ignore how whole-body health can show up on the face. As Turegano notes: "If your internal health is good, your skin is going to be good."
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