AGE LESS: Yoga teacher Annelise Hagen demonstrates a facial muscle stretch in New York. Botox and plastic surgery may promise to reduce wrinkles, but some New Yorkers are turning to facial yoga to achieve a youthful appearance. Picture: Lucas Jackso/Reuters
Instead of splurging on Botox, creams or fancy masks, those hoping to hold back the years might be better off trying facial yoga.

As well as being free, a medical study has found the practice does actually work.

Results show that just five months of the facial exercises can make devotees look almost three years younger.

As we age, our skin loses elasticity, while fat pads between the muscle and skin become thinner. When the skin sags, the fat pads begin to slide, giving a "collapsed" look.

But facial exercises build up our muscles, providing extra "stuffing" that plumps up the skin, making it appear firmer.

A study of 16 women aged 45 to 60 by Northwestern University in Illinois, US, found they achieved better average fullness in their upper and lower cheeks. Dermatologists judged them to be 2.7 years younger after just 20 weeks of sessions, said journal JAMA Dermatology.

So, if you fancy a go yourself, here are a few exercises:

Jaw and neck firmer: Open your mouth and fold your lower lip and its corners into your mouth. Extend the lower jaw and scoop it upwards, repeating ten times.

Cheek lifter: Open mouth, position upper lip over teeth, smile to lift cheek muscles up and rest fingers lightly on top part of cheek.

Release cheek muscles to lower them, then lift them back up on repeat.

Eye bag remover: Open mouth in an "O", fold upper lip over teeth and squint, raising the lower eyelids. Press three fingertips under each lower eyelid, pull downwards and slowly open and close eyes ten times.

Temple developer: Place your fingers at your temples and press lightly while clenching teeth for ten seconds. Then clench your back teeth during a count of ten to flex the temporal muscle.

All exercises by study co-author Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga. Daily Mail