Structurally when we are young the layers of our face are healthy and robust but as we age these layers individually are affected by the ageing process. 

The deeper layer is the facial bones, as we age, these lose volume, change shape and become thinner. In some areas of the face, this can be very noticeable, these include the facial bones on either side of the nose, the cheekbones, the bones around the eye socket and the jawbone. 

There are a series of retaining ligaments which support facial fat pads and skin positioning, and these too lose integrity as we age causing laxity. As muscles and fibrous layers age these too lose integrity so stop supporting the skin.  

The facial fat pads in adolescents and younger are full and tightly packed next to each other, as we age these deflate and change position, which exacerbates the appearance of jowls.

Finally, another factor contributing to the appearance of jowls is the fact that as we age the skin’s fibroblast cells fail to produce quality collagen and elastin, which exacerbates skin laxity making the skin look saggy.

Almost everyone who gets older will show the development of jowls, but some factors contribute to their development. These include:

  • history of sunburn
  • excessive or chronic alcohol use
  • smoking
  • chronic or severe dehydration
  • chronic or severe stress
  • diets low in antioxidants, healthful fats, and other essential nutrients
  • habits or expressions that overuse the cheek, mouth, and jaw muscles, such as frowning, chewing gum, and talking on the mobile phone for a long time
  • skin allergens, ranging from air pollution to cosmetics
  • poor skin hygiene
  • lack of exercise
  • cleansing the skin too aggressively
  • physical trauma or injury to the facial and jaw muscles and skin
  • a family history of jowls
  • severe or chronic illness
  • extreme or rapid weight loss

Losing weight can have an impact on the face in different ways. If you are older when you lose weight you may develop more noticeable jowls due to the skin laxity, however, if you are younger and lose weight this can lead to positive changes in your appearance. However given, that we are all individuals and structurally individual, weight loss will have a different impact on each of us. While you may get the body you want you may have to accept the face will change and this may not always have a positive impact. Treatments are available to address the negative changes.

Ultimately the overriding cause is age-related. As we age the face loses volume from bone reabsorption, lateral fat pad atrophy, medial fat pad hypertrophy, and muscle weakness, but most importantly there is a reduction in the essential connective tissue factors- collagen and elastin. 

The skin tends to become drier and thinner, making it more difficult to maintain its form. As the skin becomes less resilient and full, it becomes more vulnerable to gravity and slowly begins to sag.

We will follow up on this blog with some of our most recommended and effective treatments for jowls. Book an appointment with one of our experts today.

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