How to Get Rid of Jowls: 4 Treatments for 4 Stages of Sagging
Not many areas of the body show a person’s age more than the lower face, which is why even the slightest sight of a sagging jawline can create panic. Relax. Depending on your level of droop, there’s more than one way to deal with the dreaded jowls.
Not even Brad Pitt – with his seemingly perfectly crisp jawline – is immune. Because at some point, he – like everyone else in the world – will lose elasticity in his skin as he ages. And when you lose elasticity, the inevitable occurs: The development of excess or saggy skin around the cheeks, lower jaw, or under the chin, also known as “jowls” or the act of “jowling.” So why does it seem like Mr. Pitt is managing to avoid the unavoidable better than others? Probably for a number of reasons.
For one, jowling doesn’t just happen as you age; several other factors contribute to the process and how quickly it occurs, including your genetics, stress, repetitive facial habits, weight loss/weight gain, and other lifestyle choices (smoking, sun damage, etc.). Our guess is that Mr. Pitt lives a pretty healthy lifestyle…and has access to great skincare and advanced clinical treatments, so he can attack the problem preemptively.
And that’s just one of the ways to treat jowling – with preventive care as soon as you start to see the beginning signs. But it’s not the only treatment, depending on your age and your level of droop. Here’s the skinny on a few treatments our in-house skincare experts and plastic surgeon, Dr. Anthony Wilson, suggest (and regularly perform themselves), from fillers to facial surgery.
Injectable Dermal Fillers
Ideal For: Candidates who are just beginning to see a tiny pre-jowl from soft tissue that is starting to deflate, likely in their late 30s or early 40s.
“Dermal fillers restore lost volume to make everything look more balanced,” says Rossli Delorey, an advanced practice registered nurse at AW Plastic Surgery. Probably the least invasive of the options, fillers are injected into the soft tissue and can be used to enhance both the cheeks and the skin around the jawline and mouth. “It’s a way to non-surgically improve the jawline contour, but it isn’t a forever fix,” she explains. Rather, think of it as a nice “in-between” option for someone who is not quite yet a candidate for something more intense, like FaceTite. So why can’t you just do this forever? Too much filler can make your jawline actually look square and unnatural. “Eventually, there comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and go for a more intensive solution. But this is a great way to stave things off.”
InMode Morpheus8 (Microneedling with Radio-Frequency)
Ideal For: Candidates who are also beginning to see the pre-jowl – again, likely in their 30s or early 40s – but also want the added benefit of slight skin tightening, reducing enlarged pores, enhancing the texture of the overall skin and fine lines or other fine wrinkles.
This advanced radiofrequency microneedling treatment is the first and only full-body subdermal adipose remodeling device – that means it targets the soft tissue and the skin – by using microneedling and radiofrequency (RF) waves (see our post “Morpheus8: The Beautiful Benefits of Marrying Microneedling with Radiofrequency” to learn more about its technology, the process, and if you might be an ideal candidate). “The heat from these waves penetrates deep into the dermal skin layer, creating a ‘shrink wrap’-like effect, tightening the skin and fat below,” says Tracy Thaden, clinical aesthetician and medical assistant at AW Plastic Surgery. This process is what causes the remodeling and restructure, and the improvement in the appearance of what was formerly saggy skin around the neck to thicker, more healthier skin. An added benefit? The treatment can also be used to target and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and fine lines. “While it truly is one of the most amazing non-invasive skin-tightening treatments, it’s not going to give you instant facelift results if you already have very saggy jowls,” says Thaden. “However, in the right candidates, it’s a great way to combat the breakdown of collagen and elasticity in the skin as they age.” While some see results as quickly as their first treatment, she suggests at least three sessions spaced six weeks apart for truly optimal results.
Ideal For: Candidates who have moderate jowling around cheeks, lower jaw, or under the chin, likely in their late 40s and early 50s.
FaceTite is another good solution for “treatment gap patients” – those who do not have saggy enough skin for a facelift. And much like Morpheus8, it works by delivering radiofrequency energy in a targeted manner to firm the skin. The main difference is that FaceTite uses a probe that goes under the skin, deeper into the subdermal layer, to melt or “shrink-wrap” fat and tighten the skin. “Then we always follow that treatment up with Morpheus8,” says Thaden. “Morpheus8 helps to further tighten the skin envelope, which allows for better, smoother, and more youthful facial contours than using the FaceTite treatment alone.” Patients receive the first Morpheus8 treatment right after the FaceTite procedure, then follow that up with two more Morpheus8 treatments. FaceTite may also be done in combination with micro-liposuction to the submental area under the chin to give an even more sculpted look to the jawline.
Mini Facelift or Full Facelift
Ideal For: Candidates who have moderate to excessive sagging of the skin and underlying muscles from the cheeks to the jawline, likely in their 50s and older.
While both mini and full facelifts are surgical, it’s important to be aware of their differences. A full facelift requires incisions around the ears hidden in the tragus in the front and extending into the hairline and behind the ear in order to surgically remove excess skin, tighten lax muscles, and re-drape the skin over the face and neck; whereas a mini-facelift is a technique that uses shorter incisions (usually just around the ear and not extending into the hairline) and less extensive dissection under the skin than a traditional facelift technique. For that reason, a full facelift is better suited to someone with more laxity in their face, jawline, and neck, where a mini facelift focuses largely on just the face and jawline. And because a full facelift is done under anesthesia and a mini facelift is done under local anesthesia, it means the latter procedure requires less recovery time. “While both procedures are done by Doctor Wilson, our board-certified plastic surgeon, full facelifts are ideal for candidates who have moderate to excessive jowling,” says Delorey. And it’s important to note that that’s the difference you’re going to get at AW Plastic Surgery. “We offer both solutions: minimally invasive options, like fillers and FaceTite, but also surgical for those who have extreme jowling. At a medi-spa, they can only do the minimally invasive, which means they can only treat certain candidates,” adds Delorey. “But here at AW, we can treat all candidates and at all stages of their life.”