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Say Goodbye to Jowls: A Complete Guide to Jowl Treatments

Before you hit your 40s, you probably won't ever have given jowls more than a passing thought. Possibly no thought at all! But if, post 40, you’ve spent more time than you care to admit looking in the mirror, your thumbs on your jawline and your fingertips on your hairline and lifted…just a cm or two…but enough to smooth and tighten your lower face and jawline, read on!

In this guide we're going to cover:

  • Causes of jowls
  • Facial Exercises that may help with jowls
  • Injectable treatmets to improve jowls
  • Device-based treatments to consider
  • Threadlift treatments and, finally,
  • Surgery

Jowls are a common concern that typically develop as a natural part of the ageing process. They refer to the sagging skin or fat deposits that appear along the jawline, resulting in a loss of definition and a droopy appearance.

What causes jowls?

Let’s start with the cause of jowls. By understanding the underlying causes, you're better equipped to make informed choices when deciding which treatments you might consider.

There are five key factors that contribute to the formation of jowls.

  1. Ageing: As you age, your skin loses elasticity and collagen, which are responsible for maintaining its firmness and tightness. The natural breakdown of these supportive structures can lead to sagging and the formation of jowls.
  2. Reduced muscle tone: The muscles in the face, particularly the jaw muscles, can lose tone over time. When the muscles weaken, they are less effective in supporting the surrounding tissues, including the skin. This can contribute to the formation of jowls.
  3. Loss of fat and mid-face volume: The irony that as we age our faces lose fat whilst our middle gains fat isn’t lost on me. The natural ageing process results in a loss of fat and volume, particularly in the mid face. This loss causes the cheeks to deflate and descend downward, accentuating the appearance of jowls.
  4. Genetics: Your genetics play a role in how your face ages and whether or not you are prone to developing jowls. Take a look at your parents and grandparents…if they’re jowly, the likelihood is that you’ll be.
  5. Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle choices can accelerate the development of jowls. Smoking, excessive sun exposure, poor diet, running and inadequate skincare can contribute to premature ageing and the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.

It’s important to remind you that jowls are a natural part of the ageing process, but if they bother you, there are various treatments available to minimise their appearance.

We’re going to cover them all, from free and easy facial exercises to expensive, invasive face lifts.

Available to all and free of charge, facial exercises can be a non-invasive and natural way to help tone the muscles in the face, potentially minimising the appearance of jowls.

Jawline Exercise:

  • Sit or stand upright with your head in a neutral position.
  • Tilt your head backward and look towards the ceiling.
  • Close your lips and move your lower jaw forward, as if you are trying to scoop something with your lower teeth.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Cheek Lift:

  • Sit or stand upright and smile as wide as you can.
  • Place your fingers lightly on the top part of your cheekbones.
  • Gently lift the skin upward, using your fingers as resistance.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Chin Lift:

  • Sit or stand upright with your head in a neutral position.
  • Tilt your head back, looking towards the ceiling.
  • Pucker your lips and extend your lower jaw forward.
  • Feel the stretch in your neck and jawline.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Fish Lips:

  • Sit or stand upright and relax your face.
  • Suck in your cheeks to make a fish face, puckering your lips.
  • Smile while maintaining the fish face and hold this position.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Amazing!? Right? Free exercises you can do whilst watching Netflix!?

Remember, to actually be in with a chance of getting results, you will need to perform these exercises gently and gradually, increasing the intensity over time. You will also need consistency. Aim to incorporate these exercises into your daily routine...Yes...Every. Day.

While facial exercises may help strengthen the underlying muscles and improve muscle tone, they are unlikely to eliminate jowls entirely. For more significant improvements, you may want to consider a slightly more invasive and effective approach.

If you've tried the facial exercises and either not had the results you'd hoped for, there are a few injectable solutions that have proven to successfully imporve the appearance of jowls

Wrinkle relaxing injections, fillers and fat reduction injections can be used, often in various combinations, for amazing jawl-reducing effects.

How can Botox treat jowls?

Botulinum toxin injections, commonly known as Botox, can be used to minimise the appearance of jowls. Really! Here's how Botox can be used to help treat jowls:

Masseter Muscle Reduction

Botulinum toxin can be injected into the masseter muscles, which are the muscles responsible for chewing and clenching the jaw. In some cases, these muscles can become enlarged, contributing to a square or heavy jawline appearance. By injecting toxin into the masseter muscles, the muscles are weakened, leading to a slimming effect on the lower face. This can indirectly help improve the appearance of jowls by creating a more defined jawline.

Platysmal Bands

The platysma muscle is located in the neck and can contribute to the development of jowls when it becomes more prominent or starts to sag. Injections into the platysmal bands to relax and weaken them, reducing their downward pull of the muscles on the lower face and improving the appearance of vertical neck bands. This helps improve the overall appearance of jowls.

The effects of botulinum toxin injections are temporary, typically lasting for a few months. You’ll need ongoing treatments to maintain the desired results. Using wrinkle relaxing injections to treat jowls is an advanced treatment, so ensure you seek treatment with an appropriately trained and insured healthcare professional.

How can dermal fillers be used to reduce the appearance of jowls?

Dermal fillers can be an effective non-surgical option for reducing the appearance of jowls. They can help restore volume, lift sagging skin, and improve the contour of the jawline. Here's how dermal fillers can be used:

Cheek Augmentation

It seems counterintuitive to add filler to cheeks to treat jowls, right? Stay with me here…as we age, we lose volume in our cheeks as muscle atrophies, fat disappears and skin loses its elasticity. This deflation of your mid-face leads to a saggy lower face. By carefully and subtly injecting dermal fillers into the cheeks, volume can be restored, creating a lifting effect that improves the overall contour of the face.

Jawline Enhancement

This one is a little more obvious. Injecting dermal fillers directly along the jawline can improve its definition and contour, creating a more sculpted and youthful appearance. This can help minimise the appearance of jowls by creating a smoother and more defined transition from the jawline to the neck.

Chin Augmentation

Another slightly strange one to get your head around. As we age, our chin also recedes which can contribute to the appearance of jowls. By injecting chin filler, balance can be restored to the lower face, improving the overall harmony and reducing the appearance of any jowling.

Dermal fillers are typically made of hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the body. The treatment should be performed by an appropriately trained and qualified healthcare professional. The procedure involves injecting the filler into specific areas of the face using a fine needle or cannula. The results are immediate, and the effects can last anywhere from several months to over a year, depending on the type of filler used.

There are several skin tightening procedures that can be effective in minimising the appearance of jowls by stimulating collagen production, improving skin elasticity, and tightening sagging skin.

These treatments are perfect for those who aren’t keen on injectables, and those who don’t really fancy the idea of surgical options.

Here’s a run down of some of the more effective skin tightening procedures:

Ultherapy: Ultherapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses focused ultrasound energy to target the deep layers of the skin and stimulate collagen production. The ultrasound waves heat the tissues, triggering a natural skin tightening response. This can help lift and tighten sagging skin, including jowls. Ultherapy is often performed on the face and neck and has minimal downtime.

Radiofrequency (RF) Treatments: RF treatments use radiofrequency energy to heat the skin's deeper layers, stimulating collagen production and promoting skin tightening. There are various RF devices available, such as Thermage and Venus Freeze, which can be used to target jowls specifically. These treatments are typically non-invasive or minimally invasive, and multiple sessions may be required for optimal results.

Laser Skin Tightening: Laser treatments, such as Nd:YAG or fractional CO2 lasers, can be used to improve skin tightness and elasticity. The laser energy heats the skin, promoting collagen remodelling and contraction. Laser skin tightening can help reduce the appearance of jowls by stimulating collagen production and tightening the skin. It may require several treatment sessions and some downtime for recovery.

This next treatment isn’t an injectable, nor is “surgery”, it’s somewhere between the two.

Thread Lift: A thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting dissolvable sutures with tiny barbs under the skin. These threads are then lifted to provide a tightening effect, elevating sagging skin and reducing the appearance of jowls. Over time, the threads stimulate collagen production, which further enhances the results. Thread lifts are often performed by dermatologists or plastic surgeons.

It's important to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner to determine the most suitable skin tightening procedure for your specific needs and goals. They will holistically evaluate your skin and anatomy, discuss the available options, and recommend the best course of treatment. Keep in mind that individual results may vary, and multiple sessions or combination treatments might be necessary for the best outcomes.

Sometimes, to get the results you’re hoping for, surgery might be the best option.

There are several surgical options available to treat jowls, providing more significant and long-lasting results compared to non-surgical treatments, albeit at more cost, downtime and expense. Surgical procedures aim to provide significant lift and tighten of the skin, redefine the jawline, and address the underlying structural causes of jowls. Some common surgical options include:

Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

A facelift is a comprehensive surgical procedure designed to address signs of ageing in the lower face, including jowls. It involves making incisions along the hairline and/or behind the ears to access the underlying tissues. The surgeon then lifts and repositions the muscles and removes excess skin, resulting in a tighter, smoother, and more youthful appearance. Facelift surgery can effectively address jowls, improve jawline definition, and rejuvenate the entire lower face.

Neck Lift

A neck lift is often combined with a facelift or performed as a standalone procedure. It focuses specifically on addressing sagging skin and excess fat in the neck and jawline area. During a neck lift, incisions are made around the ears and under the chin, allowing the surgeon to tighten the underlying muscles, remove excess skin and fat, and create a more defined neck and jawline contour. This can help reduce the appearance of jowls and improve the overall neck and jawline appearance.


Liposuction can be used to remove excess fat deposits contributing to jowls. This surgical procedure involves making small incisions near the treatment area and using a thin tube (cannula) to suction out excess fat. Liposuction can be performed alone or in combination with other surgical procedures to enhance the results.

Facial Liposculpture

Similar to liposuction, facial liposculpture is a procedure specifically focused on removing excess fat from the face. It can be used to target areas like the cheeks, jawline, and neck to help improve the appearance of jowls. This procedure involves making small incisions through which a cannula is inserted to remove excess fat and contour the face.

As stated above, surgical options like facelifts and neck lifts are more invasive procedures that require anaesthesia and a recovery period. A thorough consultation with a plastic surgeon will allow for an holistic assessment of your specific concerns and goals, leading to a recommendation of the most appropriate surgical approach for treating jowls.

So there you have it. A guide to all the potential treatments for jowls, from those you can do at home for free, to surgical options that will cost a pretty penny, but will deliver real bang for your buck.

As always, with all things appearance and aesthetics, taking time to understand your motivations for treatment, knowing about the options available to you and consulting with appropriately trained and qualified healthcare professionals will help you make an informed decision about any treatments you may choose to have.

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