Over the last few years, facial massage has been a growing trend. Some devotees claim that facial massage techniques are the key to their plump cheeks, smooth foreheads, and taut jawline. But does facial massage help in the long-run, or is it just a temporary fix?

What does facial massage do? 

There are many different types of facial massage – some of which have huge benefits, and some of which I’m less keen on in untrained hands. Aside from being really relaxing, massage has proven health benefits that are largely linked to the lymphatic system. Poor lymphatic circulation means that fresh nutrients aren’t being delivered to skin cells, and can result in puffiness, dullness, and even drooping of the skin due to the weight of water retention. So, it goes without saying that keeping things flowing freely is key to a healthy complexion. At home, this can be achieved using gua sha tools, or you could see a lymphatic drainage expert for a more vigorous and targeted facial lymphatic drainage massage.

Can it sculpt the face?

Yes, in well-trained hands (and there are some excellent facial massage therapists out there), facial massage can make a face look more lifted and contoured, but you do need to be religious with your massages to maintain the results. There’s no scientific evidence that facial massage can offer anything beyond a temporary lifting effect, so don’t expect it to eliminate your wrinkles or jowls. It can, however, provide temporary relief from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (also known as TMJ), whereby problems occur between the jaw joints and in the surrounding facial muscles. Professional massage can alleviate this tension around the jaw, but when you’re doing vigorous facial massage, you must be well-trained because it requires putting a lot of stress and traction through the skin.

Can you have a facial massage if you have fillers?

I recommend waiting at least two weeks and preferably four weeks after fillers before having a facial massage to give the filler time to properly settle. Facial massage won’t break down filler, but you should avoid applying deep pressure in areas like the cheeks, tear trough and jawline if fillers have been injected.

If you really want to lift and tighten the face, with long-lasting results, I suggest this

While facial massage can offer a temporary lifting effect, I would take claims of long-term lifting benefits with a pinch of salt. If permanent lifting and contouring of the face is your main goal, the best route is professional aesthetic treatments. Botox injections and hyaluronic acid fillers can help define and sculpt the face. And energy treatments like Profound RF or Sofwave, can tighten and lift the skin with minimal downtime and long-lasting results. I’d also recommend having a solid skincare routine that’s based on your skin’s needs. Typically, your routine should include a cleanser, an antioxidant serum, sunscreen, a moisturiser, and a retinoid for use in the evening. Facial massage can certainly be useful, but it should be used as part of a broader approach to skin health and rejuvenation.