The majority of anti-aging skin care products available today are designed to treat fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. But what about sagging jowls? It seems as though sagging jowls receive little attention in the world of anti-aging skin care, which is ironic since losing your sharp jawline can show your age like nothing else. In this post, you’ll learn about what causes jowls, how to prevent jowls, and the best ways to get rid of sagging jowls.
What are jowls?
The term “jowls” is often used to describe excess or saggy skin on the neck, just below the jawline and chin. The skin around the cheeks and mouth begins to sag and falls to the area around the chin and jawline, creating jowls. Almost everyone develops at least minor jowls as they age.
What causes jowls?
As mentioned above, age is the primary cause of sagging jowls. However, there are several additional factors that can contribute to the formation of sagging jowls at almost any age. According to Medical News Today, the following factors can cause jowls:
- History of sunburn
- Excessive or chronic alcohol use
- Chronic or severe dehydration
- Chronic or severe stress
- Diets low in antioxidants, healthful fats, and other essential nutrients
- Habits or expressions that overuse the cheek, mouth, and jaw muscles, such as frowning, chewing gum, and talking on a cell phone for a long time
- Skin allergens, ranging from air pollution to cosmetics
- Poor skin hygiene
- Lack of exercise
- Cleansing the skin too aggressively
- Physical trauma or injury to the facial and jaw muscles and skin
- A family history of jowls
- Extreme or rapid weight loss
- Severe or chronic illness
What changes occur in the skin that result in jowls?
It’s obvious that sagging jowls occur due to the skin losing the strength and elasticity it once had during your youth. But what exactly happens in the skin to cause sagging jowls? Simply put, sagging jowls are caused by loss of fat, loss of connective tissue proteins, and/or loss of hydration. Below we will cover each of these in detail so that you know exactly what causes sagging jowls.
Loss of fat
As you age, the more fat you lose in your face. Significant weight loss can also cause a decrease in the amount of fat in your face. This is problematic because as you lose volume in your cheeks, everything begins to slide down due to gravity. Over time, you’ll notice the development of sagging jowls, as well as laugh lines and wrinkles.
Decreased levels of collagen and elastin
The skin also produces less of the connective tissue proteins collagen and elastin with age. Collagen is a structural protein that is responsible for the resilience, strength, and durability of the skin. Elastin is a highly elastic protein that allows the skin to resume its shape after stretching or contracting. While collagen makes skin look plump and firm, elastin allows the skin to be elastic and pliable. After the age of 20, a person produces about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year. Moreover, environmental free radicals from things such as UV overexposure and cigarette smoking can degrade both collagen and elastin.
Loss of hydration
A final change that occurs in the skin that can lead to sagging jowls is loss of hydration, primarily due to the skin producing less hyaluronic acid with age. According to a publication in the journal DermatoEndocrinology, the most dramatic histochemical change observed in aging skin is the marked disappearance of hyaluronic acid in the epidermis (the top layer of skin). It is unknown why this occurs. Hyaluronic acid is the key molecule involved with skin moisture. In fact, hyaluronic acid is able to hold more water than any other natural substance—up to 1,000 times its weight in water! Without a sufficient amount of hyaluronic acid, the skin becomes dry and thin, making it more vulnerable to gravity. Ultimately, the skin will slowly begin to sag, resulting in jowls.
How to prevent jowls
While you can’t turn back time or change your heredity, you can make changes in your lifestyle habits in order to prevent jowls. Look again at the list above with all the lifestyle factors that are known to contribute to the formation of sagging jowls. Addressing these lifestyle factors is a great way to prevent jowls. For example, practicing good skin hygiene, wearing sunscreen to prevent sunburn, staying hydrated, reducing alcohol intake, and exercising are all simple ways to help prevent jowls. But the best way to prevent jowls is to use skin care products that are formulated to target the main causes of jowls. We will discuss the best skin care products to tighten jowls below.
Should I consider surgery for sagging jowls?
One way to treat sagging jowls is with surgery. This procedure is known as a jowl lift. During most jowl lifts, a surgeon will make a cut along the side of the face and under the chin, then reposition and sculpt fat and tissues in the jaw and cheek. They will also cut away some excess skin and tighten some of the surrounding muscles. A jowl lift surgery is a permanent option to get rid of sagging jowls.
While a jowl lift surgery is considered to be the most effective sagging jowls treatment, there are many drawbacks to surgery. For instance, the jowl lift surgery is invasive and has a long recovery time. Most people will experience bruising and swelling after jowl lift surgery, and these effects can last about two to three weeks. There’s also a risk of infection and scarring if the surgical incision is not taken care of properly. Lastly, a jowl lift surgery can be expensive.
How to get rid of jowls without surgery
While prevention is key, we recognize that the development of sagging jowls is often inevitable. Since jowl surgery has several disadvantages, we want to explain how to get rid of jowls without surgery.
One way to help get rid of jowls without surgery is by exercising. Increasing overall physical activity and performing specific facial exercises can help reduce the appearance and severity of jowls by making the facial, jaw, and neck muscles better able to hold their shape. Some of the best facial exercises for jowls include the following:
- Yawning and opening the mouth as far as possible, then closing it very slowly without letting the teeth touch
- Puckering the lips outwards and using the fingers to draw the sides of the mouth downwards
- Blowing the cheeks up as far as comfortable
- Grinning as widely as comfortable then slowly tilting the head up and down
- Putting the lower lip on the top lip and tilting the head up
- Humming with the tongue pressed against the roof of the mouth
- Tilt back your head and look up at the ceiling. Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, then swallow while tilting your head to the left. Finally, tilt your head to the right and swallow.
Another way to get rid of jowls without surgery is by using skin care products that will target the main causes of jowls: loss of connective tissue proteins and loss of hydration (there are no skin care products that can help with loss of fat that occurs with age or major weight loss). Since most anti-aging skin care products are formulated to target fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots, you’re probably wondering what products can be used for sagging jowls. To help you out, below we have the best products that you can use for sagging jowls.
The best products for sagging jowls
Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum is a lightweight, restorative serum that is specifically formulated for aging skin. The formula contains ingredients like Chondrus Crispus extract and hyaluronic acid to boost the skin’s hydration, while peptides and hydrolyzed soy protein can stimulate the production of collagen. You may recall from above that sagging jowls are caused by a lack of hydration and loss of connective tissue proteins. Since the Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum addresses both of these issues, you may notice your skin looks and feels firmer and more youthful.
Another Formulyst product that is recommended for sagging jowls is the Ultimate Youth Concentrate. This formula is bioengineered from plant stem cells and contains a concentrated combination of five unique peptides that can stimulate the production of Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF). EGF is a protein naturally found in cells called fibroblasts, which are responsible for producing collagen. It is thought that EGF signals to fibroblasts to produce more collagen, which leads to cell growth, proliferation, and wound healing. As we age, our ability to produce EGF decreases, resulting in the key signs that contribute to aging skin. Applying products that increase EGF production, such as the Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate, may increase skin strength and integrity.
References: Medical News Today “How to Get Rid of Jowls”, EpiphanyDermatology.com “Sagging Jawline? You CAN Get Rid of Jowls Without Surgery” 2017, Dermatoendocrinol 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 253–258, LavenderandStoneBeautyRooms.co.uk “Sagging Jowls? – How exercise can help!”