The following are not just definitions taken from a medical dictionary; they are definitions that will help you understand some of the concepts involved in keeping the face looking young and healthy.
Circular muscles - These muscles like the orbicularis oculi that constricts around the eyes, and the orbicularis oris that constricts around the mouth are the master muscles of expression. Many other facial muscles join these circular muscles and are toned up and strengthened when they are exercised.
Extrinsic aging - This is the process of aging that you can slow down a lot. You can do this by protecting yourself from the sun, eating nutritious foods, drinking enough clean water, not smoking, keeping the proper weight for your bone structure, getting enough sleep, and exercising - facial exercise included.
Intrinsic aging - This is the natural process of aging that you might be able to slow down quite a bit, but it's essentially unrelenting. As 80 years of age approaches, the cells lose their resilience.
Gravity - Well, other than moving to another planet, there's not much we can do to escape gravity's pull on all body tissue. Gravity's pull does much more damage to the way we look, however, if we are fat and out of shape. Gravity's effect on lean bodies and lean faces is minimal.
Modiolus - (mo-dí-o-lus) On each side of the face many muscles converge just a little back from the corners of the mouth. They form a dense muscular round mass. Usually this mass is not visible on a person's face. Sometimes it is visible, though, through the skin. The facial exercises will not make the modiolus either bigger or smaller.
Philtral ridges - These ridges border the central groove on the external surface of the upper lip. The shape of the philtrum cannot be altered by facial exercise. Women who were born with a pronounced philtrum usually have the desirable Cupid's bow.
Platysma - This broad flat muscle extends from the chin to the upper chest. It helps depress the jaw and lower lip among other duties. When it starts to get lax with age and inactivity, the front of the neck starts to sag and look sloppy. If you want to maintain a youthful appearance, I think it is necessary to gently exercise this muscle every day.
Platysmal banding - These are vertical lines running down the front of the neck. They are usually caused by platysmal muscles that have lost their tone and elasticity.
Necklace banding - These are horizontal lines at the front of the neck, often three or four of them. Excessive fat in the neck or habitually bad posture can cause these lines to form.
Hooding - This is the formation of a flap of excess upper-eyelid skin. It can sometime reduce peripheral vision. It often feels like the eyebrows are sitting on the upper eyelids.
Temporalis - This is a sheet of muscle on the side of the head above the ears. It helps to close the jaws. These strong muscles get enough exercise when we eat. They do not need any specific exercise.
Collagen - This fibrous insoluble protein is found in the skin, bone, ligaments, and cartilage. It, along with elastin, gives the skin structure and strength. Wrinkles appear in the skin when collagen and elastin are damaged or just plain wear out. Daily unprotected exposure to the sun can damage the skin's collagen. It does this by creating oxidative stress. This in turn activates enzymes that degrade collagen and elastin fibers.
Elastin - These fibers within the dermis give the skin flexibility and resiliency. Both elastin and collagen begin to wear out with age. This causes a thinning and wrinkling of the skin. Don't believe the advertising on skin care products that promises or at least hints that the elastin and collagen in these products topically applied will supplement what is in your skin already. They won't. The molecules of both are too large to be absorbed into the skin.
Cross-linking - In human skin, cross-linking is the result of chemical activity, often because of excessive sun exposure, in which excessive bonding between skin molecules takes place. This makes the skin look cracked, wrinkled, and inelastic.
Oxymoron - A good tan. A good tan is actually the sign of skin damage from too much sun exposure.
Isometric Exercise - Exercise performed by the exertion of effort against resistance without changing the length of the muscle. For example, when you hold the contraction of the mouth muscle for a few seconds in exercise two, you are doing an isometric exercise.
Isotonic exercise - Exercise performed in which opposing muscles contract with controlled movement. The tension is constant while the length of the muscle changes. When you move the mouth muscle in a controlled manner, the length of the muscle changing, you are doing an isotonic exercise.
Skin matrix - It is the framework that holds the skin together. It is composed of molecules like elastin and collagen. These matrix proteins are responsible for the skin's strength, firmness, and elasticity.
Adspeak - Anti-aging, natural, hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, medically-enhanced, salon-quality, organic, and the list goes on - all meaningless terms used to sell cosmetics.
The Aging Process - This is the big one. It can't be stopped but it can be slowed down. It is best defined by the things that speed it up:
- Chronic exposure to sun, cold, and wind.
- Genetic predisposition - but genes are not necessarily destiny.
- Prolonged psychological stress.
- Chronic disease
- Dramatic changes in weight - bulimia, anorexia.
T-zone - This is the forehead, nose and chin. There are more oil glands in this area and therefore a greater tendency for breakouts: blackheads, whiteheads, and other good stuff.
Fat pad - This is mass of closely-packed cells. These cells often shrink in the wrong places as we get older. They shrink in the cheek and under-eye area but get larger in the abdomen and butt.