Frontalis Muscle Exercises
You may not think much about your frontalis muscle, but you probably use it every day to evoke expression. You use it to wrinkle your forehead in despair and raise your eyebrows in doubt. Exercising the frontalis muscles is said to prevent drooping of the forehead and excessive wrinkling as you age. But watch out: if you work it too much, you may end up with deep furrowing lines.
Carole Maggio, author of "Facercise," recommends smoothing exercises for the frontalis muscle to discourage hooded eyes and horizontal wrinkling of the brow. To do the move, spread your three middle fingers across your forehead so the tips point toward each other in the center. Pull down with your ring finger as you pull up with your middle and pointer finger to stretch the skin of the forehead and the underlying frontalis muscle. Hold for 30 seconds.
To improve function of the frontalis muscle, do eyebrow lifts. Look in a mirror and lift your right eyebrow up and down. If you cannot lift the eyebrow independently, hold your left eyebrow down with your fingers. Repeat with the left eyebrow. Then lift both eyebrows together. Continue to move between the three versions of the exercise for about 30 seconds.
Effectiveness for Wrinkles
Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris of Tulane University told the "Los Angeles Times" that exercising the muscles of the face to make you look younger is most likely futile. No clinical trials have proven that frontalis exercises truly reduce the occurrence of wrinkles in the forehead. These muscles are not designed to "bulk" up and will likely stay thin regardless of the amount of exercises you do. Even if you could build up your frontalis, when engaged it gives you the appearance of being worried, doubtful or concerned and those are most likely facial expressions you don't want ingrained. Over-exercising the frontalis muscle may even lead to additional wrinkles or cause spasms.
If you tend to furrow your brow when under stress, frontalis exercises may make you more aware of this habit and help you to relax it more often. Rose Hong Tran, a Houston-based Hatha yoga instructor who teaches facial yoga technique, told "Time" magazine that working your facial muscles increases circulation by 10 times. Increased blood flow may help improve function for people with compromised muscles of the face, for example, after surgery or stroke, but there is no guarantee. If you have had a medical procedure or suffered an event that led to paralysis of the frontalis muscle, check with your physician before adding any exercises.
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.