Facial Exercises vs Botox: Pros & Cons

by Linda Robison

Facial exercises vs Botox: Is one better than the other for anti-aging? 

Have you been thinking about using Botox to help fight the signs of aging and wrinkle reduction?

Are you are a little unsure or worried about using something that involves expensive injections? 

Well, keep reading, you might be surprised about your choices.

Botox needle. Botox vs Facial Exercises.

What can I do instead of Botox?

If you are looking for a more natural way to help soften wrinkles (like forehead wrinkles and crow's feet) then you may find facial exercises a more suitable option.

Many women, and increasingly men, are looking for ways to treat wrinkles more effectively without needing to resort to using Botox or other injectables.

Some might question whether facial exercises would prove an effective way to help reduce or soften wrinkles.

However, some scientific studies, like the ones published in the Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology, found that a facial exercise program sustained over 20 weeks modestly improve facial appearance of selected middle-aged women.

Benefits of facial exercises

Do facial exercises work

Study results showed significant improvement in upper and lower cheek muscles, with added fullness in upper and mid-face.

Participants were highly satisfied, noting significant improvement in 18 of 20 facial features.

So which is better? As you will see in this article, Facial Exercise vs Botox, there are pros and cons for each method.

So are facial exercises better than botox

To help you make a more informed decision about facial exercises versus Botox, using my experience, I’m going to list some of the pros and cons of each.

Once you have a clearer understanding of what each has to offer then, of course, you can clearly decide which one is going to suit your needs and requirements better.

Pros of facial exercises 

Doesn't Cost Anything

Well, initially you will have to pay for a complete face exercise program. Facial workouts usually come with a DVD and instruction booklet.

But, after the initial purchase cost, you do not have to buy anything to continue with your facial exercise routine and maintain your new look.

Creates a Natural Lift and Reduces Sagging

Face exercises can increase muscle size. These enlarged muscles create fullness which adds a slight lift to the face, this lift is especially noticeable in higher firmer cheeks.

Facial exercises can also improve sagging jowls, giving the whole face a firmer, slimmer appearance. See my before and after pictures here...

Improved Collagen Production

Facial exercises can help to improve the production of collagen in the skin due to increased blood flow and oxygen. This, in turn, leads to firmer skin and improved tone. 

These benefits are not something that can be accomplished with plastic surgery or cosmetic treatments like facial fillers. 

Does exercise tighten skin on face? Crow's feet and skin around the eyes is tighter after facial exercises.Before Facial Exercise - After Facial Exercise

After years of performing these simple facial exercises, not only has my skin tone improved, but my crow's feet lines are smaller and not as deep as before exercising.

In the photo above, the after picture on the right, I'm about 5 years older, yet my skin tone looks healthier and smoother than when I was younger.

Helps To Release Tension In Your Face

When we are tense, the muscles in our face contract, tighten and pull down on the skin, enhancing the look of wrinkles and fine lines, especially around the delicate eye areas.

Over time, facial muscle exercises can give you a more lifted and youthful appearance.

Improved Facial Bone Mass

If done correctly, facial exercise can help maintain and prevent the loss of facial bone mass. Why is this important in terms of aging?

Because when we lose bone mass in the face, the skin, and muscles will start to sag creating droopy eyes, cheeks, and sagging jowls.

Can Face exercise change facial bone structure?

 This is especially evident around the eye sockets and jowls. You can learn more here at Exercise Facial Bone Mass Impact.

Easy to Do

Facial yoga and exercises are easy to do. They don't require strenuous exercise or the need to stand in front of a mirror for hours.

Most involve simple movements using your index finger, middle finger, or the heel of your palm.

Cons of facial exercises

Results Take Longer to Achieve

It can be several months before you actually begin to see any real results.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you because as with any type of exercise, it takes several months of continuous exercise for muscle size to increase and firm up.

And, this is a lifetime commitment.

To maintain results, you’ll have to perform facial exercises at least 2-3 times a week for the rest of your life.

May Lead to More Wrinkles Forming

The skin on your face is sensitive so if exercises are not performed properly or not designed by a professional; facial exercises may cause more wrinkles to develop.

Also, if not performed as instructed, or you're not following a complete face exercise program, you may risk the chance of muscle overdevelopment, which can lead to an odd or bulky look.

Pros of Botox - Botulinum Toxin Injections

Results Are Quick with No Downtime

Most people see results within 5-7 days. So it's a good idea to give yourself that much time before an important work event or social engagement. 

And aside from some possible mild redness or bruising around the treated muscles and injection site, most people can return to work or normal activities right away.

This is why it’s often referred to as the “lunchtime procedure.”

Only Takes A Short Time To Carry Out Procedure

Unlike other surgical procedures used to help combat the signs of aging, generally, administration of the Botox injections takes around 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

So providing you with a quick way of refreshing your facial features and achieve a more relaxed expression. 

Results Are Quick with No Downtime

Normally, you will begin to see results within a few days to a week.  And aside from some possible mild redness or bruising, most people can return to work or normal activities right away.

This is why it’s often referred to as the “lunchtime procedure.”

Only Takes A Short Time To Carry Out Procedure

Unlike other surgical procedures used to help combat the signs of aging, generally, administration of the Botox injections takes around 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

So it's a quick way of refreshing your facial features.

Cons of Botox

Botox cons are few. The most complained about con is the cost and improper use. 

Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Some people may have an allergic reaction towards the drug. If you’re currently taking medications, such as antibiotics, but sure to inform your doctor before getting the injections.

Certain medications like antibiotics may increase the risk of serious side effects of botulinum toxin. 

Must Be Carried Out By A Professional

In recent years, there have been reports of women getting Botox treatment BY untrained professional. In turn, this lead to some undesired results and bad press.

The important thing to remember is to make sure you receive injections from trained medical providers only for good results.

Temporary Solution

Botox provides a temporary solution to the signs of aging. In fact, to ensure that your face remains looking youthful after the first injections, you will need to continue having them.

The effect of Botox does not slow or reduce the aging process or help to firm facial muscle tone.

It simply offers temporary results in reducing facial wrinkles (like frown lines and smile lines) by preventing repetitive muscle contractions.


Since Botox is temporary, injections will be required every 3-6 months to maintain results.

This can be expensive since injections typically cost between $300-600 depending on your location, how many vials you require, and how many areas of the face are injected.

As you can see above, when it comes to facial exercises versus Botox, which you select depends on how quickly you’d like to see the results you desire, and the type of results you’re looking for.

Aging Side Effects

While Botox works quickly for wrinkles, check out the 4 Botox injection mistakes that could age your face.

Facial Exercises vs Botox  or Face Yoga vs Botox

Regardless if you use Botox or other non-surgical procedures, there are too many benefits to facial exercises (and face yoga) to not add them to your anti-aging beauty routine.

While facial exercises may not fully eradicate the look of deep wrinkles to the degree Botox can, it can improve facial appearance by adding fullness, firmness, and lift to the face due to enhanced muscle size and firmer skin tone.

So, perhaps, the best solution is a combination of facial exercises and Botox.

If you have stubborn areas (like the forehead area) that are not responding to facial exercises, Botox may be a great temporary solution.

But, continue performing facial exercises to keep your eyes, cheeks, jowls, and neck skin firmer and lifted.

Also, make sure you check with your skin care specialist before resuming facial exercises after any non-surgical procedure.

There might be some restrictions or a "rest" period before you can resume facial exercises.

Facial Exercises vs Botox - FAQ

Have any questions Facial Exercises vs Botox Injections, face exercises, or face yoga? Please feel free to ask.

Q: Can facial exercises reshape your face?

A: Yes! Unlike Botox, facial exercises can reshape and firm-up your face. Check out my before and after pictures here.

Q: What about face yoga vs Botox?

A: I personally think face yoga are face exercises are important. Both provide a good skin massage, keep facial muscles firm and (in my opinion) help your face age better.

Remember, the hallmark of an aging face is not wrinkles, but that droopy, saggy look we get with age...like a melting candle, someone once said.

When our facial contour starts heading south, that can make us look older and tired. Why not combat that with facial exercises you can do at home for free?

Q: Will Botox prevent future wrinkles?

A: Botox injections are a temporary solution to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It works by paralyzing or preventing the facial muscles that were injected from contracting, thereby reducing expression lines, allowing current deep wrinkles and static wrinkles to smooth out over time.

So if you have Botox injected into your crow's feet AND continue to repeat injections every few months, it will prevent any future wrinkle from forming in the crow's feet area only.

However, you can use Botox treatments as a preventative measure to prevent the appearance of fine lines before they even form. This preventative treatment is usually used in younger people (who have very little wrinkles) and want to prevent facial wrinkles before they form.

If you suspect or see a wrinkle starting to form and get Botox injected into that area and continue with Botox treatment (every 3-6 months), then yes, you could say Botox can prevent future wrinkles from forming in that area.

Q: Can I still do facial exercises after getting Botox injected for my crow's feet?

A: It's best to wait about 1-2 weeks after getting any cosmetic injections before resuming facial exercises.

Q: Can you get a facial after Botox?

A: A: You should wait about 2 weeks before massaging or rubbing the injected area so as not to spread the solution to other areas of the face.

Q: Can you drink after Botox? I drank alcohol after Botox injections, and I noticed some swelling near the injection site.

A: Generally, you should avoid alcohol right before and after your treatment. Also, avoid blood thinners, like vitamin E, aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve, Excedrin, or Advil about one week before your Botox procedure.

For some, a glass of wine or two might not be a problem, but everyone is different, so you'll have to gauge for yourself.

You might also want to avoid anything that increases blood flow like strenuous exercise, hot tubs, or steam rooms for a couple of days after the Botox appointment. 

Please check with your doctor about your droopy eye situation. 

Q: Can you exercise after lip filler?

A: You should refrain from any strenuous physical exercise for at least 48 hours after received the dermal injections. The increase in blood flow and blood pressure could increase bruising and/or swelling.

Q: Can I do facial exercises after Botox

A: I would wait about 2 weeks after Botox injections. Also, check with our provider to make sure it's ok.

Q: Do facial exercises cause wrinkles?

A: When properly done and along with massages, face exercises help strengthen and build facial muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can help keep the skin firmer and your looking younger. 

There is even some evidence that it can help maintain that beautiful facial fat that keeps our skin plump and our contours sharp.

You might like these


Maria Fraser is an outreach specialist for Venn Healthcare with over 10 years' industry experience. Venn Healthcare are nationwide distributors of non-invasive systems and combination therapies to the medical, aesthetic and veterinary markets. They have worked with a broad range of clients including dermatologists, physiotherapists, vets, spa owners, and hospital managers.