What is facial posture?Facial posture refers to the alignment of the head, neck and facial muscles while at rest and during movement. “It’s the way that we naturally hold our head and face, and it can be influenced by a variety of factors such as genetics, lifestyle habits and daily activities,” says Doctor Ifeoma Ejikeme, Medical Consultant Skin Expert and Founder of Award-winning Adonia Medical Clinic.
Why is facial posture important?Good facial posture involves maintaining the correct alignment between the head, neck and facial muscles. As we age, we lose fat in our face, which leads to sagging. We also experience facial bone degradation, which is also known as facial bone loss, as we age. “Facial bone degradation refers to the loss of bone density and structure in the facial bones. It can occur due to a variety of factors such as ageing, hormonal changes or nutritional deficiencies,” shares Etre Vous Expert, Aesthetic Doctor and Medical Director of Laser Clinics UK, Vincent Wong.
The facial bones are responsible for providing structure and support for other tissues in the face, including the skin. “When the facial bones lose density and strength, our facial posture can be compromised, leading to changes in facial shape or structure and premature ageing-like effects such as sunken cheeks, a receding chin or a visibly changing jawline,” adds Wong.
Facial bone degradation can make a person appear older than their actual age. It can also cause dental problems or reduce the effectiveness of certain cosmetic treatments like dermal fillers or jaw enhancement. “Facial bone loss should be addressed sooner rather than later,” says Dr Wong. “Adopting a proper diet, regular exercise and having regular metabolic screening or check-ups to keep track of your bone health is essential.”
What impacts facial posture?But natural causes aren’t the only reason your facial posture can be out of whack -there are several lifestyle habits and daily activities that can impact facial posture. Take sleeping - something adults should be doing for a minimum of seven hours a night – if done on one side or on your stomach you can put pressure on one side of the face and cause asymmetry, which can affect the alignment of the teeth and jaw.
“Chewing on one side, having difficulty chewing due to dental problems and repetitive facial expressions such as squinting or grimacing while eating can all alter facial posture too. While spending long hours at a computer or on your smartphones can cause ‘tech neck’, which results in the forward head posture, and leads to a strained neck and a flatter facial profile,” shares Etre Vous Expert, Aesthetic Doctor and Medical Director of Laser Clinics UK, Vincent Wong.
Another common cause is stress. “When a person is stressed, their body releases hormones that cause the muscles in the face to tighten, and if this tension is not released, it can lead to facial muscles becoming strained and overworked, resulting in a change in facial appearance,” says Dr Wong.
Common examples of holding in stress are furrowing the brows, clenching and teeth grinding – and the latter two can have a significant impact on the alignment and look of the face – think wider jaws, lines and wrinkles. Not only that tension in the face can also slow down blood circulation around the face area, resulting in a puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.
How can poor facial posture be corrected?Thankfully, a change in lifestyle habits can help. Sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow, limiting the amount of time spent looking at screens, being conscious of how you’re eating and fixing any dental issues before they can do too much damage to your facial posture is possible.
And to help negate the damage done you can use a combination of facial exercises and professional treatments.
Non-invasive face sculpting treatments like the Lumenis NuEra Tight, with FocalRF Technology, is a skin tightening device which uses radio frequency to target the effects of poor facial posture by elevating and regulating the temperature in the skin’s tissue to stimulate collagen and improve signs of sagging skin and wrinkles.
When it comes to the muscles underneath the skin strengthening them with exercises that target the facial muscles can help to build strength in areas that are under-utilised and improve muscle tone and symmetry of expressions. This can lead to a more supported facial bone structure, and reduce excess strain on other facial structures and tissues, and visibly promote better alignment and facial posture over time.
However, muscles that are overused, can lead to the development of unwanted facial features such as bulky or excessively enlarged masseter muscles. “In such cases, muscle relaxing injections can be used to temporarily relax the muscles, preventing them from becoming overactive and allowing the muscle mass to decrease. This can help create a slimmer facial profile,” says Wong.
Another beneficial injectable that can correct poor facial posture would be dermal fillers, which are used to add volume to areas of the face that are flat, sunken or poorly defined. While For teeth-related posture issues, orthodontic treatments like braces, aligners or oral appliances can adjust teeth and jaws for a more symmetrical facial appearance.
Take noteWhile there are a number of ways to improve your facial posture, and the lines, wrinkles, and sagging that result from the changes the face goes through. The most important thing to do first is to see a medical professional who can diagnose the underlying cause, so they can perform and advise on the best treatments and lifestyle practices for you.
Vincent Wong, Cosmetic Doctor
Dr. Vincent Wong is one of London’s leading cosmetic doctors. He is trained in advanced non-surgical cosmetic treatments...Book with Vincent Wong