Dr. Menachof, MD, FACS has performed thousands of facial plastic surgery procedures in over 20 years of experience. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of America’s Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.
One of the many signs of aging is face jowls. Eventually, everyone gets them, and as we get older, they become more prominent. So, what are face jowls and how can you prevent or get rid of them?
Face jowls are the bags of skin along the jawline that sag or droop lower than the jaw. As the lower cheek muscles lose strength and volume, the skin gravitates down which gives the jawline an undefined, loose appearance. Unfortunately, face jowls rarely come alone – nasolabial folds (smile lines) and marionette lines typically come with them.
A lot of people consider facial surgery for the laxity of the lower face and neck. Like all facial concerns, face jowls require careful evaluation with an experienced surgeon. Every patient’s anatomy is different – it’s important to assess the nature of the patient’s jowls and the specific treatment for that individual.
What Causes Face Jowls?
Jowls on the face can be caused by a variety of factors:
- They can develop due to a loss of elastin and collagen (proteins in facial tissue). As these proteins deteriorate, the face loses firmness and tightness, causing the skin to sag.
- Smoking and overexposure to sunlight can also cause damage to facial collagen and elastin.
- Jowls are sometimes genetic or can be caused by environmental or lifestyle choices.
- Certain facial expressions can stretch out your face and neck skin. When you gain weight, your skin stretches, and if you lose that weight, the stretched skin may sag.
- If you constantly work on a computer or are on your phone all the time, the skin in your neck may become elastic over time depending on the angle in which you view the screens.
How Do You Get Rid of Face Jowls?
There are a variety of techniques available to get rid of jowls, ranging in invasiveness. Make sure you discuss your concerns with your surgeon, and then create a plan of action to improve your face jowls.
For those just beginning to age, these non-invasive techniques can be used to get rid of jowl lines.
- Filler Placement – Filler injections in front of the jowls can camouflage the jowls as they begin to form.
- Botox – Botox can help decrease face jowl lines as they begin to form – it can help by disguising the lines.
If these non-invasive techniques are performed correctly and frequently, the results should last a couple of years. There does come a point, however, when a lower facelift is a definitive treatment for jowl lines.
The most effective and long-lasting procedure for correcting jowls is a facelift. Jowls on the face develop from the descent of facial tissues, and while fillers or Botox can disguise the skin crease, they will not correct the underlying problem. There are many variations of jowl reduction surgery – facelifts are the most natural-appearing and cost-effective approach to get rid of jowls.
The descended tissues need to be lifted back to the position they were in. A facelift increases tension on the SMAS, the tissue layer underneath the skin. SMAS is mostly made of collagen, so it has a strength, unlike skin, and does not relax. Once the SMAS is raised, the surplus skin is trimmed to get rid of sagging jowls. SMAS elevation also softens the nasolabial folds, which can correct marionette lines.
A lower facelift for jowls tightens and elevates the skin to treat the jawline and neck. For patients asking how to get rid of jowls on their face, there are two plans of action. For patients with early facial aging, this is the recommended procedure. If you are wondering how to get rid of sagging jowls, chances are you have more notable midface aging – the SMAS face and neck lift is recommended. It all depends on the patient.
How to Prevent Face Jowls
You can prevent jowls from sagging prematurely by:
- Limiting extreme facial expressions: Don’t be afraid to laugh! Just try not to stretch the skin unnecessarily.
- Avoid smoking: The chemicals from cigarettes damage the skin.
- Limiting exposure to the sun: Always apply sunscreen to your face and neck – the sun’s rays damage the skin!
- Limiting your screen time: Keep your head at a comfortable angle when using your computer or phone. Do not bunch or stretch out the neck. Try to take a five to ten-minute break for every hour of computer work.
Face jowls are the reason why many patients seek facelifts. Keep in mind that jowls can occur again after a face and neck lift if the facelift solely lifts the skin. Evaluate your surgeon’s before and after photos to ensure a successful jowl reduction treatment.
The jowl facelift is the best way to achieve a long-lasting, youthful appearance. We recommend an in-person consultation with an expert surgeon to help you reduce jowls on the face and achieve the look you desire.
This blog was originally posted in February of 2018 and has been reposted in 2020 with updated information.