What Are Jowls and How Can You Tackle Them?
Ageing is a process nobody can avoid, and unfortunately the appearance of jowls is an unwanted side effect. If you’re wondering “What are jowls?”, we’re here to explain:
- What they are
- How they appear
- Ways you can prevent them
- How we can help you treat them
In simple terms, jowls are areas of sagging skin that start to appear around your jawline. They’re unavoidable, which means we’re all going to encounter them as part of the ageing process. They arise when your skin starts to lose its plumpness and elasticity, causing the area to become less firm as time goes on.
But, why does this happen? We all produce collagen and elastin, but our ability to do so gets more difficult as the years go on. While collagen keeps your skin plump and youthful looking, elastin ensures it stays tight and doesn’t sag.
From wrinkles and fine lines to blemishes and pigmentation, there are a lot of elements of the ageing process you might want to avoid. However, as jowls become so prominent once they settle in, they can leave you feeling self-conscious.
Although you can’t stop yourself from getting older, there are some lifestyle factors you could address. Also, there’s a variety of treatments you can try to make your jowls less visible or to slow down their progression. If you want to know “What are jowls?”, how to treat them, and how to prevent them, keep reading.
What are Jowls?
‘Jowls’ is a term used to describe the flesh and skin along the lower jaw, just beneath the cheeks. It’s usually used when referred to sagging, fleshy skin.
What causes jowls?
Sagging jowls start to form when your cheeks and chin lose their elastin and collagen. The process is gradual and insidious, which means you might notice their appearance before you have a chance to engage in preventative methods.
Unfortunately, gravity isn’t on your side during this process. The older you get, the more your skin starts dropping downwards. The appearance of jowls becomes particularly apparent around the mouth, as the skin falls downwards.
Aside from collagen and elastin failing to form, your genes might play a role. If you’ve noticed that older members of your family have strong ones, there’s a chance you’ll develop them too. Although you can’t change your genetics, you can make some simple lifestyle modifications to achieve jowls less noticeable. Making such alterations also slows down their appearance, giving you the chance to stay looking younger for longer. There are many reasons why the skin on the jowls might lose its elasticity:
As we get older, our skin starts losing significant amounts of collagen and elastin. These are two proteins crucial for keeping the skin taut and firm.
When the amount of these proteins starts to decrease, the skin begins giving in to gravity and begins dropping downwards.
This is most prominent at and around the lower jaw, as visible pouches of skin and flesh start forming.
The laxity of the skin due to ageing can also cause the tissues in the cheeks and around cheekbones to weaken and drop down. This contributes to a more prominent development of jowls, as they are significantly heavier and more pronounced.
A significant percentage of the population has a genetic predisposition to the jowls. These are people who tend to develop visible jowls at an early age, and whose face otherwise doesn’t have any significant signs of ageing or other damage.
If your parents or close family members have or have had jowls, you are more likely to develop them yourself.
UV rays are great for a lot of things. They help your body manufacture Vitamin D, which in turn helps your bones use calcium to get stronger. On the aesthetic side of things, you’ll get a tan. At the same time, too much UV exposure breaks down your collagen and elastin, leading to skin that sags.
UV exposure doesn’t just affect your jowls. It’ll cause any area of your face to form wrinkles. So, make sure you use sunscreen, avoid staying outside during hot periods and never turn to a tanning bed for your healthy glow.
Significant weight loss
While low and medium intensity weight loss won’t do any damage to your skin whatsoever, extreme weight loss can have a hugely negative impact.
During the process of gaining weight, your skin stretches out naturally to accommodate extra fat. When you lose that weight, your skin remains stretched out and saggy, and all of the fat and flesh it was holding disappears.
If you’re planning to lose weight, avoid crash dieting and try a slow weight loss plan instead. By doing so, you’ll reduce the risk of sagging jowls.
Smoking is the enemy of healthy skin and can cause a myriad of different skin conditions and damages.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, along with dozens of other harmful chemicals that narrow the blood vessels in your skin and slow down your blood circulation. Nicotine is directly responsible for dehydrating the skin and depleting its collagen levels.
Also when you smoke, you reduce blood flow to the skin. You also reduce your collagen and elastin content. As a result, your skin loses many of the properties it needs to remain supple. If you’re struggling to quit, approach your GP for smoking cessation advice.
Spending too much time on your phone and computer
Many of us are permanently attached to our phones. At the same time, most professionals use a computer at some stage or another. Or, you might use one at home for recreational purposes.
While this may seem a little odd, the movements you make to read the text on your screen cause your neck to lose its elasticity. As a result, your jowls receive less support from below, causing them to look saggier.
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If your jowls have already set in and you want to treat them, you have a couple of options to look into. The first is Botox type injections, which can tighten the skin and slow down the jowl formation process. The second is fillers, which plump the skin and make existing jowls less prominent. Before you decide which, one you want, let’s investigate how they work.
Botox type injections for jowlsWhether Botox type injections will benefit your jowls depends on your age. Also, you need to exercise caution, as they can make them appear worse rather than better.
If your younger and trying to prevent jowls from setting in too soon or becoming too prominent, using Botox type injections in the right area will relax the muscles. As a result, you’ll use them less if you’re prone to those sulking movements that make them prominent.
Conversely, if you’re older, encouraging your muscles to relax will make the jowls more visible. Botox type injections in those with firm set jowls find that their muscles sag further, making the problem worse rather than better.
Fortunately, a qualified doctor such as Dr Dhesi can assess whether you’re a good Botox type injection candidate.
Dermal fillers for jowlsDermal fillers are a more popular treatment choice for jowls. Reasons for this include:
- Sagging jowls will benefit from the plumping effect fillers provide. As such, they’ll look less visible especially when your doctor uses them in the right area.
- Dermal fillers also last longer than Botox.
- It’s easier to fine-tune the approach we take with dermal fillers, which means you’re more likely to benefit from a plan that’s unique to your cosmetic needs.
Dr Dhesi works with a range of fillers, including Juvederm. As a universally-popular answer to jowl problems, Juvederm can help you restore your skin’s firmness.
How Can Rutland Aesthetics Help
Whether your jowls are slight or very apparent, we at Rutland Aesthetics want to help.
With a strong medical background and robust cosmetic therapy training, Dr Dhesi will perform a thorough assessment and start you on the right path to tighter and firmer facial skin. Contact our clinic to book a free consultation appointment.