Shot of a fit young woman working out with a kettle bell at the gym

Exercising will help you stay healthy and get an amazing body, but it can also have a negative effect if you overdo it.

Once you’re past your twenties, you can sometimes find you have to work a little bit harder to keep the same figure, but if you’re working out harder, there comes a tipping point when excessive exercise may be melting fat away from your thighs, but it will also be disappearing from where you don’t want to lose plumpness – your face, resulting in an ageing look that’s been dubbed ‘gym-face’.

“Gym-face can be caused by excessive cardiovascular exercise, like running, cycling and endurance training which raise the heart rate and can cause dramatic weight loss,” Medical Director Dr. Preema Vig told us. “When you start to exercise your face goes red as blood vessels widen to get oxygen flowing around the body. But after about 15 minutes, when muscles need more oxygen, blood starts to be diverted from the face, which causes fat pads in the cheeks to be deprived of oxygen and to slowly diminish.

“This causes facial volume loss, particularly in the cheek area, which then makes your face look prematurely aged.”

To combat the phenomenon, Dr. Vig recommends varying your workouts for a more facial friendly fitness regime. This means avoiding draining back-to-back cardiovascular exercise, and mixing it up with different types of exercise like weight-training, yoga, Pilates and high-intensity training.

How to plump up your face cheeks.

Hit the facial gym

Give your cheeks a facial workout. A few simple toning exercises will put the plumpness back in your face. Every morning and evening, stand in front of the mirror and smile. But not just any smile. A forced smile, very exaggerated and pronounced. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat five times. Then, puff out your cheeks for a maximum of 10 seconds and repeat five times. Finish with a massage using both hands in a circular movement just above the cheekbones and progressively descend to the centre of the cheeks

Beauty solutions

Opt for serums with active ingredients such as hyaluronic acids, as a regime of effective daily skincare will encourage skin cell turnover and increase the penetration of actives such as sodium hyaluronate to deliver skin plumping actives into skin, which helps to refresh your appearance. Dr. Vig recommends iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, Youth Eye and Active Serum. Or try Estee Lauder’s much loved Advanced Night Repair, to spur your skin into regeneration while you sleep.

Cheat with contouring make-up

Contouring can come in handy here, helping you to sculpt your face and redefine its features, creating plumper cheeks rather than going for the mask-like look beloved by the Kardashians. With a few strokes of a foundation brush, use a shade darker than your natural skin tone, you can create a shadow below the cheekbone and blend a highlighter on the bone, following the structure of the bones for the most natural result. If you’re concerned about taking it too far, skip the shading step and only add a highlighter above the bone

Non-surgical fillers

Women don’t have to choose between having an amazing body, or a plumped face, they can have both. “I advise patients who want a non-surgical solution to the ageing effects of excessive exercising to consider have dermal filler applied to the cheek area, to increase facial volume,” Dr. Vig shared. “In fact the new generation fillers can often increase your own production of hyaluronic acid, leading to less frequent treatments.”