What Are Jowls?As we get older, the youthful “V-shape” of the face begins to change. Gone are the sleek contours of the jawline and chin, and in their place is excess skin that droops below the cheeks, known as jowls. Because this sagging alters the natural shape of the face so dramatically, it’s one of the things you’ll notice first as you age. Instead of a smooth transition from the chin to your upper neck, you begin to see a jawline that appears lower than before. Along with this, you may become aware of pronounced folds at the sides of your mouth, from your nose to your lips. These are called nasolabial folds. Just about everyone develops jowls as they get older, but they appear more pronounced for some people. Usually, jowls are caused by a combination of factors.
What Causes Jowls?
GeneticsLike most health issues, your genetics will play a role in your appearance as you age. For example, some people naturally have thicker skin, more facial fat, or more collagen. These lucky few will often have less noticeable jowls. However, those with low elasticity and collagen levels or naturally thinner skin will typically have more pronounced jowls. You can get a general idea of how likely jowls will affect you by looking at how visible they are on your parents, grandparents, or other close older relatives.
Loss of ProteinOur body’s muscle and connective tissues have two main structural proteins: elastin and collagen. These proteins are responsible for upholding your skin’s firmness and strength and maintaining its integrity as time passes. Unfortunately, the older we get, the less our bodies produce these two essential proteins, which results in overall weakness in the skin’s structure. As a result, the skin begins to lose its firmness around the mouth and cheeks, and due to the pull of gravity, the area starts to sag.
LifestyleLike many other issues with our appearance, our lifestyle also plays a role in the development of jowls. Some of the common habits and behaviors that can contribute to the severity of our jowls include:
SmokingIf you smoke, you’re probably tired of hearing about all the ways that smoking is bad for you, but here’s one more: smoking is awful for your complexion. The constant puckering can lead to premature sagging and wrinkles. Plus, smoking interferes with blood circulation, which directly affects the health of your skin. Additionally, cigarettes contain dozens of harmful chemicals that can damage elastin and collagen. So one of your best weapons in fighting aging is to quit.
Sun ExposureExcess exposure to the sun is also implicated in the severity and likelihood of developing jowls. This is because UV rays destroy your skin’s collagen and elastin. You’ve heard it before—If you want to maintain a youthful complexion, wear sunscreen! Get yourself a high-quality formulation that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and avoid too much sun exposure when possible.
Tech NeckYes, “tech neck” is a real thing, and it’s more common than ever. This is because people are constantly looking down at their computers, tablets, and smartphones. And now that many people are working remotely, the standard ergonomic work setup has been pushed aside. However, all this looking down can cause the skin of your neck to lose elasticity, a condition dubbed as “tech neck.” To avoid it, be sure your screen is level with your face, rather than you having to look down all the time. And be sure to take a ten-minute break for every hour of screen time.
Fluctuations in weightIf your weight is constantly fluctuating due to yo-yo dieting, these changes can actually compromise the structure and strength of your skin. Gaining weight (especially a lot of weight over a short period of time) stretches out your skin. If you lose weight, your skin might not have the elasticity to pull back into place, leading to sagging. The best way to counter this problem is to stick with a slow and steady weight loss plan rather than crash diets.
Habitual ExpressionsSurprisingly, your own facial expressions can have a lot to do with developing jowls and other issues with your complexion. Puckering your lips, frowning, squinting, and other habitual expressions can cause you to age before your time. Of course, breaking these habits is a bit challenging, but just being aware of them is a start.
What Can You Do if You Have Jowls?
Dermal FillersDermal fillers can change the appearance of jowls dramatically. With this procedure, a filler is injected into the soft tissue of the cheeks to lift. Fillers also lift the skin around your jawline and your mouth. Not only will fillers instantly plump the area of the face where they are injected, but they also help to stimulate the growth of new collagen for some time after the treatment. Many patients will notice a remarkable change in the appearance of jowls for up to two years with this procedure. Of course, you’re Not limited to jowls with dermal fillers either. Our technicians can use dermal fillers for other areas, too, including:
- Chest or décolletage
- Deep wrinkles
- Nasolabial folds
- Crows feet
- Under the eyes
BotoxSometimes, Botox (botulinum toxin) can work for jowls by thinning out the masseter muscle. This is the muscle you can feel when you clench your teeth and feel a bump at the end of your jaw. By injecting Botox directly into that muscle, our technicians can help slim your face shape by pulling up the corners of your mouth and jawline. This can restore the youthful “V” contour you are looking for. The results of the treatment can last up to six months. Other areas we can treat with botox include:
- Lines across the bridge of the nose
- Dents in the chin
- Crows Feet
- Frown and forehead lines
- Neck lines (bands)
Thread LiftsA PDO Thread lift is one of the newest and most popular options for those looking to reduce the appearance of jowls and nasolabial folds. This is essentially a non-surgical facelift where special types of threads are inserted underneath your skin. Performed correctly, a PDO thread lift is a fantastic option for instantly defining and tightening your jaw and correcting sagging jowls. Plus, a thread lift is also great for prominent nasolabial folds. Our practitioners at La Belle Vie are highly skilled at performing thread lifts, and this very safe and effective procedure can be completed in about an hour at our office, with little to no downtime involved. Plus, you are not limited to jowls, either. Thread lifts are ideal for other parts of the face and body as well, including:
- Upper and lower cheeks
- Marionette lines