Updated January 2023 by Dr Gavin Chan
What are jowls?
There are a few key giveaways that can show your age. Natural aging and gravity lead to sagging of the cheeks. Subsequently, this causes the face to appear more square, an undeniable sign of ageing.
The jowls refer to skin that sags below the jawline with ageing. Naturally, collagen production slows down as we age, reducing skin elasticity. Over time, the loss of skin elasticity and the effect of gravity drag our skin down to form jowls and lead to an ill-defined jawline. Non-surgical jowl treatments can be used to counteract this concern.
Collagen and elastin production slows in our mid-twenties, and loss accelerates in our late thirties. It is possible to treat jowls with non-surgical methods, to prevent or reduce the appearance of jowls.
Why do we get jowls?
Several factors can lead to jowl formation, including;
- Decreases in collagen and elastin with ageing. Collagen is the building block of our skin and gives skin its structure, whilst elastin allows the skin to rebound after being stretched and reduces with age, causing a decrease in skin elasticity.
- A reduction in facial fat as we age may contribute to some sagging of the face and jowls.
- Genetic tendency to jowl formation
- Smoking, which accelerates collagen and elastin loss, leading to sagging.
- High levels of UV exposure.
- Large fluctuations in weight. When the skin to stretches with weight gain, subsequent weight loss may cause stretched skin to sag.
What are non-surgical jowl treatments?
Facelift surgery can help to lift the face and jowls and remains the gold standard. However, for those who don’t want surgery or for those wanting to delay surgery and its associated risks and recovery, non-surgical jowl treatments such as;
- Dermal fillers
- Anti-wrinkle injections
- Collagen-stimulating treatments
- Radiofrequency skin treatments and other energy-based devices
- and Threadlifts
can help reduce skin laxity and the appearance of jowls.
How can I prevent jowl formation?
Firstly, it is best to address any underlying factors, including;
- Quitting or cutting back on smoking
- Limiting UV exposure. As shown in this study by Jariashvili et al., when type I collagen solutions were exposed to UV radiation, there was a loss to the triple helical structure of collagen. Naturally, it follows sun protection with an SPF 50+ sunscreen such as Aspect Sun Envirostat On The Go, may help to reduce collagen breakdown and sagging of the skin and face.
- Maintain a healthy weight without significant fluctuations. As shown in this study by Ezure et al., body fat percentage was significantly correlated with sagging in the lower face; that is, higher body fat percentage was associated with jowls.
Once these are addressed, non-surgical or non-invasive skin tightening treatments can be considered to prevent further jowl formation and possibly reduce the immediacy of having a facelift or necklift surgery.
How do I get rid of my jowls without surgery?
There are many options for non-surgical jowl lift treatments. The choice will depend on individual needs and suitability;
Dermal fillers, most commonly temporary hyaluronic acid fillers, can be injected into the areas surrounding the jowls to disguise the jowls and give the appearance of a straighter jawline. Also, by supporting the mouth corners with dermal fillers, it is possible to turn the mouth corners back to a more neutral or upwards direction. Various dermal fillers can be used for the above purposes.
Anti-wrinkle injections treat jowls by relaxing specific muscles that pull down on the face, prematurely dragging down the skin and tissues. By targeting muscles such as the Depressor Anguli Oris (or DAO), which pulls down the mouth corners and the Platysma muscles of the neck, which are attached to the lower face and act to pull it down, the downwards pull on the face can be reduced. Subsequently, there is a relative increase in the strength of the muscles that pull the cheeks and face upwards, subsequently leading to a lift and a reduction in jowling.
Radiofrequency needling combines microneedling with radiofrequency energy to help stimulate collagen production. A handpiece directs a set of fine needles into the skin, and subsequently, radiofrequency energy is fired through the tips of these needles. Systematically, this is repeated to cover the treatment area. During the process of recovery from these micro-injuries, new collagen is produced naturally. Subsequently, new collagen produces thicker and firmer skin to lift and reduce the appearance of jowls.
Injectable collagen-stimulating treatments
Products can be injected into the skin to induce the production of type I and III collagen fibres. This improves the skin’s quality and firmness and may help lift the jowls.
Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to firm and lift the face. A minor injury is created by focusing ultrasound energy into hundreds of points in the skin and deeper layers, and the repair process induces new collagen production and improves concerns such as jowls.
A thread lift is a non-surgical alternative to a facelift. They involve using specialised threads to help lift the skin on the face and reduce the appearance of jowls. Interestingly, the threads are often made from the same substance as the collagen-stimulating injections (mentioned previously) and can also help firm skin by producing new collagen.
Again, the treatment is not comparable to a surgical facelift but does help to lift the skin to a degree.
Non-Surgical Jowl Reduction Case Studies
This female in her fifties presented with concerns about her jowls and drooping mouth corners. Subsequently, dermal filler was injected around the corners of the mouth and along the chin to support this area. This smoothed the transition between the cheeks and the chin and sharpened the jawline. Furthermore, she wanted to improve the shape of her lips. By injecting into the lips with filler, their size and shape were also improved whilst maintaining a natural appearance.
This patient presented to the Victorian Cosmetic Institute with concerns about her jawline. Accordingly, the practitioner used a combination of anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers to straighten her jawline and reduce the appearance of jowls. Firstly, anti-wrinkle injections were used in the patient’s chin. This helps to reduce the action of the mentalis muscle of the chin, which brings the chin upwards and inwards. Subsequently, the chin is projected and this helps to improve the jawline’s appearance and reduce the appearance of the jowls. Secondly, dermal filler was then used to fill the hollows adjacent to the jowls and to provide a fuller chin. The results are subtle and natural.
Who is a good candidate for a surgical jowl lift (facelift)?
Non-surgical treatments may be inadequate for those with more significant jowls or a desire for a more remarkable change. A good candidate for a surgical jowl lift (facelift) should be someone in their forties to sixties who generally has good health and shows more significant signs of skin laxity and jowling.
Surgery to lift the jowls is called a rhytidectomy or a facelift. There are various forms, although they usually involve an incision around the ear and into the hairline. From this incision, the various tissue planes, including the skin, fascia, muscle layers, and layers deep to the muscle layers, are lifted. Usually, the neck is included in this lift.
In summary, consideration of the increased recovery period and risk of surgical procedures compared to non-surgical treatments should include the following;
- the desire for a more significant outcome
- the general degree of concern about the jowls
- the prominence of the jowls
- the level of health to undergo a surgical procedure and general anaesthesia
How much does a non-surgical jowl treatment cost?
The cost of your specific treatment will be discussed during your initial consultation. As there are several options, treatments must be tailored to your needs and expectations. As a guide, you can visit the pricing page to view the costs of the various options available.
What is the difference between collagen stimulators and dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers add volume to contour the face. By filling in the concave areas along the jawline, the convexities of the jowls are disguised, and the jawline appears straighter.
Conversely, collagen stimulators are injected into the cheeks (above the jowls and jawline) to help create more type I and III collagen to improve the quality and firmness of the skin. This has a lifting effect on the jowls.
Why should I choose Victorian Cosmetic Institute for non-surgical jowl treatments?
At Victorian Cosmetic Institute, our cosmetic doctors and nurses have an extensive range of treatment modalities for you to choose from to suit your needs and goals and specialise in non-surgical jowl treatments.
It’s as easy as clicking the “book online” button above.
Otherwise, you can phone us directly on 1300 863 824.