How does weight affect sagging jowls?

anti-ageing • 4 min read

How does weight affect sagging jowls?

A couple of years ago, Vicky started running long-distance.

She had always exercised, but this was far more intensive than anything she had done previously. The weight dropped off rapidly, and she loved her lean look…..

Except in one crucial area.

Her face.

Instead of looking fitter and healthier, her cheeks looked a little hollow. Worst of all, there was excess skin around her jawline which hung down in an unflattering way.

“I suddenly look a lot older,” she told me in frustration, when she came to see me about it at Riverbanks Wellness. “It’s beginning to really affect my confidence. I’m too young for this!”

What happened to Vicky, a nurse, is in fact not unusual.

Sagging jowls are mostly caused by ageing. Your skin is kept supple and firm by two proteins called Collagen and Elastin. However, the body stops producing elastin entirely after puberty and produces less collagen as we grow older. The result is that gravity takes its toll, pulling our jowls down.

But another crucial contributing factor is fat – both having too little, and too much!

Why Some Fat Is Good For Your Face

In order to look its best, your face needs a certain amount of fat under the skin, as it pads out your face, preventing you from looking gaunt. People with a bit of weight on their face tend to look younger than people with very slim faces, because the fat under the skin smooths out wrinkles, fine lines and even pores.

When too much fat disappears through excessive weight loss, your skin essentially deflates, a bit like a balloon.
Any extra, loose skin tends to droop, particularly in the lower half of your face, leading to the dreaded jowls and ‘turkey neck’. They change the shape of your face, which is why they look so ageing.

This is very often the case with marathon or long-distance runners, who can develop what is known as “runner’s face”. People who lose very large amounts of weight can also experience sagging skin at the top of their arms and their stomachs.

….But Not Too Much!

Confusingly, the opposite is true as well….

If you have excess fat on your face, this can also cause sagging jowls, as fatty deposits around the jawline may weigh your skin down.

But worst of all is sharp weight fluctuations, or yo-yo dieting. Think of your skin as a rubber band. When it expands and contracts continually, your skin will initially cope well, but eventually it will lost some of its elasticity. After a time, it won’t be able to contract back as effectively as before, and your skin will become that much more lax – leading to sagging jowls.

So What’s To Be Done?

  • Avoid weight extremes, both high and low.
  • Avoid, too, very fast weight gain or loss, and in particular, yo-yo dieting.
  • If your jowls are caused by excess weight, you may be able to fix the issue alone, with a bit of (responsible and careful) weight loss.
  • Sadly, if you have lost a lot of weight, simply eating more in order to plump out your face won’t work – any weight you add is just as likely to go to your hips!

After that, your options are the same as anyone else with sagging jowls, whatever the cause.

In both cases, you can learn to disguise your jowls in a minute or two, through clever application of makeup.

Facial exercises are unlikely to help

If you want to get rid of sagging jowls permanently, you have two options: Surgery, or a non-invasive treatment such as Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound to stimulate the growth of collagen. This kicks-starts an entirely natural process, tightening your skin and giving you a mini-face-lift.

It’s the best permanent solution I know.

Ultimately, try and stay as close as possible to a healthy weight. It’s good for your health, for your overall look – and also for your skin.

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