a woman touching her jawline

Jowls: Causes, Prevention & Remedies

What are jowls?

Jowls are often used to describe sagging skin below your chin or jawline. Almost everyone develops jowls as they grow older. It usually happens because your skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity over time.

Some people may never develop jowls because of their genes, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors.

Causes of jowls

Loss of elastin and collagen

Over time, the skin of your cheeks and below your jawline starts losing collagen and elastin. Collagen is a protein that forms the connective tissue in your body. Elastin is another connective tissue protein that lets your skin return to its normal shape indeed after being stretched.

As these proteins are lost, the skin of the cheek surrounding your mouth loses its tightness and firmness. Once this happens, gravity causes it to sag and fall to the area on either side of your mouth and chin.

Genetics

Your genetics can also determine whether or not you develop jowls and how visible they become over time. If either of your parents has jowls, you’re very much likely to develop them. If you naturally have thinner skin or lesser collagen and elastin in your skin, you may start to notice jowls early in life. 

Environmental and lifestyle factors

Other causes of jowls generally either come from the environment or from lifestyle choices. These include:

Facial expressions: Certain facial expressions frequently can stretch out the skin of your face or neck.

Weight loss: When you gain weight, your skin stretches to cover an increased mass of the body. If you lose weight, the stretched skin may sag afterwards.

Sun exposure: Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can damage the collagen in your skin. This can cause your skin to sag prematurely.

Smoking: Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can damage collagen and the elasticity of the skin. Smoking can also cause your blood vessels to become narrow which limits your blood circulation and prevents your skin from getting enough nutrients to keep it healthy.

Using screens: Using a computer or smartphone for long periods of time can make the skin around your neck lose its elasticity over time. 

What can I do to reduce my risk?

You may develop jowls because of certain factors that are out of your control. But there are a few you can do to help prevent jowls or from sagging prematurely.

  • Avoid smoking. 
  • Limit your exposure to the sun. 
  • Limit your screen time. 

What if I already have jowls?

There are several options for handling sagging jowls or reducing how saggy or droopy they show. Surgical procedures, similar to neck lifts, can tighten your skin and make it seem less saggy. Nonsurgical procedures, such as thermage, lasers, and peels, can alter the composition of the collagen in your skin. Fillers can be used to disguise hollow regions around the jowls.

You can also use apparel and makeup to conceal your jowls when you go out. However, check out these workouts for a defined jawline, If you’re additionally interested in-home solutions.

Surgical options

To reduce the appearance of jowls surgical procedures are usually done in a hospital or at the premises of a cosmetic surgery specialist. 

A neck lift or face lift

A neck lift, also called a lower rhytidectomy, is performed by removing fat, tightening muscles, and rearranging the skin around your neck to shape the jawline. The incision is usually placed in front of and behind the ear, stretching into your hairline.

Liposuction

With liposuction, your surgeon uses a microcannula to remove excess fat from your chin area. They also reshape the skin and jawline to prevent saggy skin in the future.

Nonsurgical options

Nonsurgical procedures don’t require general anaesthesia, so they have fewer risks. However, the results may also not be as drastic.

Thermage jawline tightening

This technique uses heat and radiofrequency energy from an instrument called the Thermatip to tighten the skin around your neck and chin. It can be done multiple times to make sure that the collagen in your skin remains tight. This procedure can be done in a single day and recovery time is also very minimal.

Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers consist of a material called hyaluronic acid. This can be injected into your neck and chin to fill in jowls and make them appear less saggy. Some fillers can help your body make more collagen to keep your skin tight.

Other ways to reduce their appearance

If you don't want to go through any surgical or nonsurgical procedures but still want to lessen the appearance of your jowls, you may consider changing your personal style to help conceal them.

Makeup

Using distinct styles of contouring along your chin and neck can help make your jowl lines less visible. The beauty store’s staff can also help you choose which shades are right for your skin tone.

Turtlenecks and scarves

Scarves and turtlenecks aren’t just for staying warm — they also provide you coverage from jowls. Although turtleneck shirts or sweaters can hide your jowls fully, scarves can be tricky.

Take Away

You have several options for preventing, treating, and concealing jowls if you’re dealing with them. Make sure to speak to your doctor regarding the best option for you, especially if you’re more than 60 years or have any conditions that could raise your risk of complications after a surgical procedure.