Age wallops every nook and cranny of the human body. Sadly, one of the most obvious changes appears on our face. Like it or not, many different skin changes start to supervene every time we blow those birthday candles. From wrinkles to age spots to jowls – you name it!
Luckily, there are a number of preventive measures and curative treatment to some skin problems. In fact, a lot of articles and beauty editorials share “secrets” on how to get rid of them. Well, mostly about acne, wrinkles, and scars and so on but very little about how to prevent jowls. Jowls are actually one of the most palpable changes that could leave anyone feeling and looking old! So, we’re going to give you tips on how to deal with them effectively.
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What Are Jowls?
You know those loose, fleshy, saggy pouches on the face usually found in the lower cheek and drooping around the jawline? Those are jowls. Studies show jowls affect women more than men and people with narrowed faces tend to get them earlier than those with fuller faces. It usually appears around the 40s although some unlucky few get them as early as their 20s.
This is sadly the major factor of why we have jowls. As we age, our skin loses collagen and elastin which pretty much keeps our skin taut and firm even after it’s being stretched. As we lose these proteins, our skin starts to give in to the gravitational pull causing sagging pouches of flesh in our jawline. Also, the subcutaneous tissues make our lower cheek fat move down. This greatly contributes to the manifestation of jowls.
2. Sun Damage
It’s a known fact that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful to the skin. Overexposure to such can damage collagen thereby causing your skin to sag. So if you love the sun too much, you probably need to tone it down a bit and slather on some sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You don’t want to greet your jowls before your forties, do you?
Hereditary predisposition is quite difficult to tussle. If your parents have jowls, chances are, you’ll have them, too. Let’s just cross our fingers you won’t have them early on. You see, genetics play a big part on determining how noticeable your jowls will be. Most people with thin skin and a limited amount of collagen and elastin may start to develop jowls as early as their twenties.
4. Weight Loss
When you gain weight, your skin stretches to accommodate the increased body mass. Subsequent weight loss may leave your stretched skin sagging, eventually forming into jowls. This happens frequently to aging people as their skin elasticity is getting poorer.
The nicotine and other harmful chemical substances found in cigarettes are far more damaging to the skin than you think. It impairs collagen and elastin, narrows blood vessels, limits blood circulation and slowly deprives you of the necessary nutrients to keep your skin healthy and young-looking.
6. Facial Expression
If you’re fond of making elaborate facial expressions, you need to control yourself. Certain facial expressions stretch out the skin on your face and neck. So if you do it frequently, this loose part of your skin might eventually sag and form into a jowl.
For millennials, this could be pretty alarming. Experts say that using your computer or phone for an overly extended period of time can make the skin around your neck lose elasticity, thereby forming a “turkey neck” or otherwise termed as tech neck.
If you already have jowls and you’re looking for ways to treat them or at least reduce how droopy they are, we laid out a number of options for you:
- Jowl Lift
Commonly known as a facelift (or sometimes neck lift depending on the procedure and extent of the problem), a jowl lift is a surgical procedure done to tighten and fix sagging jowls. Depending on the surgeon, fat may be removed or displaced. Rearranging the skin will also shape the jawline and the incision is usually around the ears. For those who have tried other ways like dermal fillers and still failed, jowl lift is usually the treatment of choice.
- Jowl Liposuction
This minimally invasive procedure involves a microcannula to remove fat from your chin area and sometimes even from your neck and cheeks, after then will your skin and jaw-line be reshaped This is the treatment of choice for anyone who has a medical history that makes them not qualified for a jowl lift. Other times, the surgeon recommends laser liposuction.
There are other available fixes that do not involve going under the knife. People with less saggy jowls may benefit from these procedures.
- Thermage Jawline Tightening
This non-invasive procedure relies on heat and radio frequency energy using a tool called Thermatip to tighten skin around neck and jawline. A plastic surgeon uses Thermatip to penetrate deep into the subdermal layers of your skin and destroy the worn-out collagen fibers thereby stimulating the production of new healthy collagen. Because it will take time to have top quality collagen regenerated, you may need to undergo this procedure several times for a few months. As the treated area progressively firms up, the jowls gradually tone down.
- Dermal Fillers
This is a widely popular non-invasive treatment for jowls. It involves injecting dermal fillers in the affected area to plump the skin and redefine the jawline. The best dermal fillers to treat jowls include Radiesse, sculptra, restylane gel and juvéderm.
This technique does not treat jowls but with certain makeup tricks, it can make jowls less noticeable.
How Can We Prevent Jowls?
Although there is a fair amount of options available to treat jowls, it is still better if we can prevent it or at least delay its development. Afterall, it’s not so easy to shell out thousands of dollars for a single procedure, right? And no matter how successful a treatment is, there is a huge possibility that jowls can still reappear over time. Besides, prevention is ALWAYS better than cure. So how do we prevent jowls? Facial exercise has been overlooked by many. We tend to be so fixated on working out our abs, pecs, glutes and other parts of our body and forget that our face and neck also have muscles that need to be maintained.
STEP 1: Chin Tilt
Comfortably position yourself in a relaxed manner. You can either sit or stand but make sure you are completely relaxed with your head and chin slightly tilted backwards. Put your lower lip over your upper lip and stretch it as far as you can. Hold the position for 5 seconds before relaxing your lip and doing it again four more times. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times a day.
STEP 2: Facial Massage
Pull your cheeks back and a bit downwards to tighten the corners of your mouth. Gently massage around your jawline starting on your chin outwards. You may feel your lower lip tighten but don’t worry because this is normal. You can do this massage as many times a day as you can.
STEP 3 Head Tilt
Lie supine on a couch or bed with your head hanging down over the edge. Your body should be relaxed and your arms comfortably placed on your sides. When you’re ready, slowly lift your head up until it becomes even with your body. You should feel some kind of strain in your throat and neck. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat the process as much as you can. As you become stronger, you can extend the hold time to 10 to 15 seconds.
STEP 4: The Pout Sit
Sit upright and raise your chin up towards the ceiling. Then try to elongate your lips into a pout and maintain that position for 5 to 10 seconds before releasing the pout and relaxing back in your seat. Repeat the process 5 to 10 times. Perform this twice a day to exercise your jawline muscles.
STEP 5: Tongue Stretch
This technique involves sticking out your tongue so we suggest you do this in private. Tilt your head backwards and stick your tongue out, pointing it toward the ceiling. You will feel the stretch and pull at the back of your tongue and also around your neck and jawline. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds then relax. Repeat 3 to 5 times, as many times a day as you can.
Whether we like it or not, jowls seems to be part of the aging process and since aging is something we cannot defy, what we can only do is try to prevent it or put off its buildup through regular facial exercises. Otherwise, if our purse strings are a bit loose, we can always opt for jowl lifts, dermal fillers or liposuction.
However, these treatments may be regarded as temporary fixes only. Face lifts, fillers and liposuction can only last for some time. After a few years, jowls may develop again. That’s why even if you’ve had jowls treatment, it is always important to exercise your neck and facial muscles. We cannot be totally jowls-free, but we can always try to maintain a crisp jawline or at least create an illusion with the use of makeup.