Do you feel like you look sad or down faced when you look in the mirror because of a sagging jawline? If you do, you are not alone. A sagging jawline, or “jowls” as it is often referred to, is the unsightly loose skin that forms under the chin and jawline as we age. One of the least desirable side-effects of getting older, a sagging jawline is caused by a loss of elasticity and thinning of the skin. Add to that the fact that gravity is taking its toll on the underlying structures that prop everything up and you have the perfect recipe for sagging. This is why people who have more fat in their face tend to have less pronounced jowls as the fat provides volume, but they then run the risk of a double chin instead.
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FAQ ABOUT Sagging Jawline
What are jowls?
Do you feel like you look sad or down faced when you look in the mirror because of a sagging jawline? If you do, you are not alone. A sagging jawline, or “jowls” as it is often referred to, is the skin that forms under the chin and jawline as we age. One of the major concerns of the ageing face, a sagging jawline is caused by a loss of elasticity and thinning of the skin, combined with gravity taking its toll one the underlying structures which support the skin and prop everything up. People who have more fat in their face tend to have less pronounced jowls as the fat provides volume.
What causes jowls?
As we age, we start to lose fat in our faces and the plumpness and elasticity of our skin begins to fade. This causes our skin to become wrinkled and saggy, resulting in things like jowls. Dramatic weight loss can also contribute to a sagging jawline as it is also associated with loss of volume and fat in the face. Sagging skin is a natural part of the ageing process however lifestyle factors, such as smoking and sun damage, can also accelerate it.
At what age do jowls start to appear?
Jowls are more prominent as we reach our 40s but they can start to develop at a younger age if the ageing process is accelerated by sun damage or smoking for example. Our skin starts to age from about the age of 25 onwards but earlier signs of ageing tend to be around the nasolabial folds, cheeks and eyes. Jowls get progressively more noticeable the older we get and are something women in particular in their 40s and 50s start to become more concerned about.
How do I tighten a saggy jawline/jowls?
The formation of jowls is down to a number of factors so tightening the skin will help but skin tightening may be better utilised alongside other treatments which replace lost volume or stimulate the production of new collagen. Skin tightening treatments include energy based treatments such as radiofrequency, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and laser (including fractional laser or laser resurfacing), however for an area such as the jowls ultrasound is considered to be the most effective. Such treatments work by creating heat in the skin causing it to build new collagen and elastin. Threads can also be used to address a sagging jawline and there are advanced “off label” uses for botulinum toxin for contouring the jawline. Off label means that the drug is not actually approved for this indication although doctors are able to use drugs off label at their discretion. Dermal fillers can also be used to contour the jawline, however if there is significant lose skin and sagging a combination approach may be best.
Does laser treatment get rid of saggy jowls?
Laser rejuvenation can be very effective for a number of ageing related concerns, but it is not necessarily the most effective treatment for jowls. Ultrasound is considered to be more effective in this area. There are many different types of laser but the most powerful one used for facial rejuvenation is an ablative CO2 laser resurfacing. This is very effective at treating scars, wrinkles and pigmentation but does also have a tightening effect. Because ablative laser has more downtime many practitioners now prefer to use what is known as fractional CO2 laser which is non-ablative and therefore not as aggressive as its ablative counterpart. This is because it only targets a fraction of the skin, leaving little spaces in between the areas that are treated.
Can surgery fix a saggy jawline?
Yes surgery can be used to address sagging in the area of the neck and jawline. A neck lift or platysmaplastyis probably most effective for jowls although a face-lift may also be performed.
Will losing weight get rid of jowls?
Actually the opposite may be true. Losing weight can make jowls more pronounced. If you have ever heard the term “runners face” this is used to described the hollow, saggy look some runners get as they age because of a lack of fat in the face. Fat is actually your friend in terms of facial ageing as fat equals volume. Losing too much weight or losing weight quickly may contribute to premature ageing.
Alice answers your question. Want to ask Alice a question? Pop it in here and check back in a few days for the answer.
Hi Alice, could I please ask what your thoughts on threads are? I could do with some help with my jowls and under my chin. Many thanks! X
Hiya, editor Georgia here. Threads can achieve great lifting and tightening results in the right hands and providing you’re a suitable candidate. There are different types of threads and some are better suited to certain indications than others (e.g. the degree of skin laxity). You can also have bio-stimulating threads which help stimulate collagen within the skin, so you also get a gradual improvement in skin firmness. Threads are deemed 'minimally-invasive' but they aren’t for the faint-hearted, and things can go wrong. Plus, the results don't always last as long as advertised. It’s really important to find someone who knows what…
Jowls... I have had Ultherapy and there is an improvement, but not as much as I thought. Would your suggest fillers?
Maybe fillers to define the line of your jaw. Or maybe radiofrequency microneedling to smooth and tighten the skin in a slightly different way? I'd ask your practitioner as they know your face and can suggest what sort of treatment could work best for you.
Hi Alice, Do you know anything about the Facial-Flex facial exerciser that Rosemary Conley uses? I have one and cannot find any recent reviews but want to firm up the area around my mouth and cheeks! I also take collagen supplements plus retinol.
Not much, sorry. I was interested in trying it but my doctor friends said forgodsake no, because it would only make already over-tight muscles in my jaw and neck tighter still. Collagen supplements and retinol are both a really good idea, so keep up with those.
Hi Alice, I was considering Profhilo for my sagging jawline and to make me look more refreshed – what’s your opinion on Profhilo please?
Hi, like all the other injectable moisturisers, Profhilo is a great product and it does give a small tightening effect BUT it is primarily for improving the resilience and condition of the skin. So if you're looking to do some proper tightening of sagging skin around your jawline, you would do better with radiofrequency microneedling, or some form of ultrasound skin tightening, or (if you need to reduce fat along the jawline as well as tightening the skin) with something like Facetite or Endolift, all of which tighten the skin more convincingly. Find a great practitioner, book a consultation so they can assess your face and skin, and see…
Hi, can you recommend what a 73-year-old can have after 3 Profhilo treatments and 3 Skinpen treatments (alternate months)? As in RF or any other skin and jaw tightening treatment?
Hi, I'd be tempted to keep going with monthly microneedling for another three months, then leave it for a while because those needling sessions will go on delivering their benefits (in skin strength, smoothness and tightening) for several more months, particularly with all that Profhilo in your skin (which won't need doing again until six months after your first session of it). See what your skin is looking like after all that before you step up to anything else. Yes, you could try RF – what does your practitioner suggest?…
At 53 years old I hate the way my face is losing its 'scaffolding' and the lack of firmness around my jawline. I have had numerous Profhilo treatments and more recently 3 sessions of Morpheus8, but I can't see an improvement. What do you suggest?
I know what you mean about losing the 'scaffolding' in the face – that is exactly what's happening thanks to bone resorption all over the skull. It's like our skull is being sanded down on the inside. Those treatments that you've had WILL have helped – the Profhilo will have improved your skin condition and the Morpheus8 will have helped smooth and tighten your skin. What I'd suggest, if your practitioner thinks it's a good idea, is some careful work with filler along your jawline and in your chin, and maybe in your cheeks, to strengthen that internal scaffolding and redefine your contours.…
What is your honest opinion of Endolift? I have been recommended it for neck and lower face.
It's a really interesting procedure. If you take a look at the video of the Endolift treatment I had, you'll see there were improvements in the three-months-after 3D pictures – but they're not huge. Maybe I wasn't a good candidate for the procedure. I understand it works really well for recontouring fatty jawlines where people are looking for fat-busting plus the skin-tightening that the laser can give.
Dear Alice, from what I can gather, I think you've had both radiofrequency with needling and also ultrasound treatments. My biggest problem area is my turkey neck and jowls. Which have you found to be the most effective treatment?
Hi, yes, I've had Ultherapy a few times over the past decade and it seems to have given me good results in tightening my lower face and neck, and more recently I've tried a couple of types of RF needling. The one that gave me the most obvious improvement was Profound RF, which is a hard-hitting, one-off RF needling procedure – there's a picture on my blog showing the difference it made to my jawline 3 months after treatment.
The fat from my cheek pads seems to have slipped downwards, making me look jowly. What is the best treatment for this?
Hiya, editor Georgia here answering on Alice's behalf. There are a few things you can do for jowls. If you suspect yours are more to do with fat rather than loose skin, I'd look into fat freezing with CoolSculpting (if the fat is beginning to group under the chin and around the jawline), or FaceTite. FaceTite is slightly more invasive as it involves extraction of the fat from under the skin with a cannula, but it can be very effective and only one session is needed. It first uses radiofrequency energy to melt the fat before sucking it away and leaving you with a more taught jawline. There are more options on our free Jowls factsheet,…
I have lumps under the surface of my skin (lower jaw area from Radiesse filler, which have become more pronounced. I have that this filler cannot be removed. Please can you advise?
Hiya, editor Georgia here answering on Alice's behalf. I'm sorry to hear this. You're right – Radiesse is a type of collagen-stimulating filler that can't be dissolved. How long ago did you have treatment? Lumps can occur immediately following injection but should settle after around four weeks. If it's been longer than this, unfortunately you'll have to wait until the filler is absorbed by your body, which can take up to 18 months. If they're really troubling you they can be surgically removed. I'd suggest following up with your practitioner and asking for a referral.
Hi Alice, I had Ultherapy after watching you have it! I went to Dr Victoria's clinic in Edinburgh...3 months later there is a subtle lift but wondering if I should try microneedling or fillers...it's the saggy jowls and tightening of the jaw.
Hi Becky, editor Georgia here answering on Alice's behalf. How long has it been since you had Ultherapy? Full results can take up to three months to be visible so you may wish you wait and see if you really do want to do something else. Having said that, yes – RF microneedling would be great to tighten up jowls and define the jawline a little more. You could have some filler along the jawline further down the line for extra definition, but fillers won't do anything for the jowls as such.…
What do you think about Ulthera for skin tightening? Or just ultrasound in general?
I prefer Ultherapy (Ulthera) to other types of HIFU skin tightening as it has a visualiser in the device so the practitioner can "see" into the skin and position each pulse at the right depth so it hits the collagen layer, not the fat.
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