Jowls are a common occurrence as we age, resulting from lost elasticity in the face over time. They are formed by the shrinking of the fat pads in the face and reduced collagen and elastin by skin cells. With the help of gravity, this results in sagging skin around the jaw or chin, and almost everyone develops jowls to an extent as they age. Due to their being hard to treat and they tend to make the face look sadder and older, jowls are something a lot of people struggle with. The key wish from our experience is to minimise them or eliminate them altogether. This article will explore some of the best ways that you might be able to get rid of jowls and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
What Are Jowls?
As we age, our skin gets thinner and less elastic which causes sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines. This when combined with the shrinking of the natural fat pads which support the facial structures gives rise to deeper lines including jowls. The skin may hang down below the chin and can create the appearance that you are grumpy or sad. While jowls are not a cause for concern medically, they can be aesthetic.
Most people will develop jowls over time, though some may have more prominent jowls, particularly in people with thinner skin or with family members that also developed jowls as they aged.
The main reason that people develop jowls is because of the normal ageing process. As you get older, your skin produces elastin and collagen at a lower rate. This results in a loss of elasticity, volume and tautness in the skin, meaning that it will sag and droop on either side of your mouth.
There are also other lifestyle and environmental factors that can cause jowls, including:
- Genetics: if your parents have jowls, it makes it more likely you will too. In addition, those with thinner skin or naturally lower levels of elastin and collagen are more likely to develop jowls.
- Smoking: the chemicals in cigarettes can inhibit collagen and elastin production and can also limit the healthy blood flow vital for healthy, firm skin.
- Significant weight loss: when someone loses a significant amount of weight, they may experience sagging skin. This is because the skin has stretched to cover an increased body mass and does not reduce when the weight is lost.
- Sun damage: overexposure to sunlight without SPF can result in reduced collagen and skin elasticity.
How To Get Rid Of Jowls
There are many ways to reduce, minimise or get rid of jowls. These options include surgical and non-surgical options, as well as at-home care and prevention. Surgical options include face and neck lifts, while non-surgical options include Botox and dermal fillers. Surgical options are often permanent solutions or at least last for a very long time. On the other hand, non-surgical treatments are temporary and will need to be repeated regularly to maintain the results. There are other treatments available such as laser, Profhilo, traditional or RF microneedling and threads which we will touch on slightly, but in this article, we will focus on the treatments that are typically the most effective at eliminating jowls.
Botox For Jowls
Jowls have two main characteristics: sagging skin and deep lines. If your jowls are early onset or you wish to prevent jowls from setting in then Botox injections can help reduce their appearance or even eliminate them entirely. However, if your jowls include very deep lines and/or sagging skin, Botox may not be an entirely effective treatment. In severe jowling, Botox can help prevent the jowls from getting worse because it freezes the muscles that pull down on the skin but it will need to be combined with another treatment such as dermal fillers which will replace the missing volume to reduce the appearance of sagging.
Botox is typically injected into the skin and reduces the activity of lower face muscles which cause frowning and pull down on the skin. This smoothes out the skin and reduces the appearance of early and moderate jowls. Botox is one of the most popular non-surgical solutions for treating lines and wrinkles. It is a quick procedure with no downtime. Botox jowl injections can last around 3-4 months and take up to 2-3 weeks to see the maximum effect.
Dermal Fillers For Jowls
Dermal fillers are a common and popular form of non-surgical cosmetic treatment for treating deeper lines and wrinkles as well as shaping and augmenting facial features. They are usually made with hyaluronic acid and, unlike Botox, can fill in the skin, smoothing out jowl lines and providing extra support by replacing lost facial volume. They are widely regarded as a safe and temporary solution for concerns like jowls. Dermal fillers are injected into problem areas and can provide immediate results. In the case of jowls, we often apply a two-pronged approach to treating this area. The first is to replace missing face volume in the mid-face (cheeks) and lower face (around the corners of the mouth) by strategically depositing filler to help anchor the skin and reduce sagging it. We also directly inject dermal filler into the lines caused by jowls which smoothes them out and lifts up the wrinkle. Together this approach produces a more effective and natural-looking outcome.
Neck Lift For Jowls
A neck lift can be either surgical for long-term permanent results or non-surgical which gives rise to temporary results. The surgical option is best for extensive sagging and jowling as it provides the most effective and definitive solution. Surgical neck lifts involve a surgeon making a cut along the side of the face and under the chin to remove excess skin and fat. They will then sculpt the newly trimmed tissues to produce a tauter and smoother neck as well as a more defined jawline and of course removing jowls. This procedure is highly effective in the hands of an experienced surgeon but it is still associated with a long downtime that requires wearing compressing dressing to reduce swelling. There may also be extensive bruising that may take time to subside..
Non-surgical neck lifts usually involve Botox injections to relax the thin layer of muscle (called Platysma) around the neck that tugs on the skin to cause sagging and horizontal lines. This treatment is great for early jowling and necklines or sagging. It involves a number of small injections to the neck and jowl region and there is no real downtime other than potentially some injection site bruising. It is however a temporary solution and only provides effective results for people with mild-moderate jowls. It can still be preferable as it involves little to no recovery time and is minimally invasive. In people with more severe jowls, Botox neck lift can be used to prevent worsening of the jowling and combined with another procedure like dermal fillers for jowls to achieve better results.
Facelift For Jowls
For better or worse, a facelift is often the first treatment that many people think of when they’re wondering how to get rid of jowls. A facelift is a long-term if not a permanent solution to getting rid of jowls and generally reducing the appearance of ageing in the face. Surgical facelifts can enhance the appearance of the entire face, from the forehead to the chin or if only the lower face is a problem then a more limited procedure can be performed such as a lower facelift. Like the surgical neck lift, this is a highly specialized procedure with a long downtime and recovery period.
Where the incision is made will depend on if its a full facelift or a limited one but generally incisions may start at the temples and reach around behind the ears. The procedure may also be partially done with an endoscope (keyhole surgery) which reduces some of the downtime and the incisions). Like the surgical neck lift, excess skin and tissues are removed and the skin left behind is redraped to provide a more youthful appearance. Sometimes, fat (from somewhere else in your body such as the belly) might be injected into the skin during the facelift to replace missing volume and give a fresher, more natural (less stretched out) look.
Like neck lifts, facelifts also have a non-surgical option that can be highly effective in mild to moderate jowling, though this is not permanent. The non-surgical facelift procedure is performed using dermal fillers and Botox to smooth wrinkles, replace lost volume in the face and fill deeper folds and lines. The overall effect is to make the face look rejuvenated and the skin appear smoother, firmer and tighter. The results are generally immediate (though further improvement comes after the Botox takes effect) and there is very little to no downtime.
It is crucial that you choose a trustworthy and experienced clinic with expert doctors and medical providers. This will ensure that you get the safest quality treatment and best results. City Skin Clinic offers effective and safe non-surgical facelifts at our clinic in London.
Profhilo For Jowls
As we mentioned previously, one of the causes of jowls and other wrinkles is reduced collagen and elastin production in the skin. Profhilo injections can help reduce the appearance of early jowls by stimulating the skin making it plumper, thicker, tighter, better hydrated and smoother. It’s great as a preventative and also in treating crepey skin as well as early jowling. It can also be combined with other surgical or non-surgical jowl treatments as it will augment their results by improving the overlying skin quality and appearance.
Microneedling For Jowls
Like Profhilo injections, microneedling for jowls works by stimulating the skin to produce more collagen and elastin. Over time this results in skin appearing plumper, smoother and tighter. Microneedling can be performed alone using a device called a derma roller or dermapen or it can be combined with radiofrequency for better skin penetration using devices like the morpheus8. Unlike Profhilo which only needs 2-3 sessions 4-6 weeks apart, microneedling generally needs 3-5 sessions but this may be more depending on the severity of the jowling and skin quality. It also takes longer than Profhilo to administer the treatment however both give rise to good results.
Laser For Jowls
When it comes to treating jowls, lasers are an effective but often overlooked treatment. Laser jowl treatment resurfaces the skin to smooth lines and wrinkles but also stimulates skin cells to produce more collagen and elastin. Beware not any old laser will do! For a laser to be effective in treating moderate or worse jowls, you will need to consider new generations of treatments that combine laser with radiofrequency to target the deeper layers of the skin. Good results can be achieved with devices like Endolift and FaceTite which use a laser on the surface and have a wire that goes into the skin and treats deep tissues. These have the downtime of a laser but also additionally the procedure is more invasive because of the probe that needs to go into the skin. All in all these laser jowl treatments can give great results but due to the more complex procedure (compared with standard laser), you will need to seek out a specialist doctor that can provide this treatment safely and effectively.
PDO Threads For Jowls
One of the most popular and often talked about non-surgical aesthetic treatments are PDO threads. These are absorbable threads that are placed underneath the skin and tightened to lift and shape the skin. The theory behind them is they stimulate your skin to produce collagen which prolongs the effect of the treatment. The immediate results of PDO threads can be quite stunning especially when used to treat sagging skin and jowls. This treatment is however dogged by quite a bit of controversy. The main concerns are the risk of damaging important facial nerves and vessels when introducing the threads, long-term scarring caused by the treatment and also reports of the effects being very temporary and requiring multiple repeat treatments in a short period which is not recommended.
How To Prevent Jowls
Some causes of jowls are out of your control, such as genetics and a predisposition to produce less elastin and collagen. However, there are plenty of preventative measures you can take to minimise the appearance of jowls or reduce their acceleration.
Living a healthy lifestyle is crucial for the appearance of your skin. You should eat a balanced diet and avoid junk food and excessive alcohol intake. You should also keep well hydrated, which is invaluable for having glowing, healthy skin. Other steps that can be invaluable include:
- Quitting smoking
- Wearing high SPF all year round and avoiding prolonged periods in the sun
- Avoiding tanning beds
- Having a good, consistent skincare routine
If you’re concerned about the appearance of your jowls, you’ll be in the best possible hands here at City Skin Clinic. Get in touch today to book a consultation with one of our expert doctors.