What Are Jowls?

Most people develop jowls as they age. Jowls, the sagging skin under your chin, are often the first sign of aging. When facial skin and the fat beneath start to droop, facial contours become distorted. Jowls can develop as a result of genetic predisposition as well as exposure to sunlight. Lifestyle choices, habits of facial movement and chronic stress are also factors. A rapid weight loss can also contribute to developing jowls.

Jowls will not harm your health and they do not require a medical solution. However, they can become a serious cosmetic issue for some people. If you are unhappy with your jowls and you are searching for a solution, Dr. Cho and Dr. Climov at Integrated Aesthetics can explain various treatment options ranging from noninvasive therapies to a surgical facelift. 

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Causes of Jowls

Jowls develop as the result of loss of elastin, fat stores and collagen in the face and lower jaw as you age. Combined with gravity and the lack of connective tissue, face and neck skin under the cheeks and around the jawline can shift downward, causing jowls to form. Some people have a genetic predisposition to developing jowls.

An unhealthy diet that does not give your skin the proper nutrients is thought to be a risk factor of developing jowls, as well as exposure to the sun. Other possible causes include dehydration, too much alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of adequate physical exercise and overusing facial muscles.

Preventing Jowls

Staying hydrated, wearing a high SPF sunscreen with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, eating a healthy diet, exercising and refraining from smoking are behaviors that are thought to prevent the development of jowls.

Some people use moisturizers and creams high in retinol and other antioxidants to promote production of collagen. Others use facial exercises to tighten loose skin and maintain a strong jawline. When jowls persist despite your at-home preventive measures, you can learn about your best treatment options when you visit Dr. Cho at Integrated Aesthetics.

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Treatment Options for Jowls

There are several treatment options for jowls, ranging from noninvasive injectable dermal fillers and skin tightening procedures to surgical facelifts.

Non-Surgical Options

  • Dermal fillers are injectables that can eliminate the appearance of jowls on a temporary basis. They typically contain substances such as hyaluronic acid. Common dermal fillers include Juvederm, Radiesse and Sculptra. Results can last from 2-4 years.
  • Ultherapy is FDA-approved for using ultrasonic frequencies to lift loose skin on the neck and under the chin. Targeted Ultherapy treatment is designed to boost collagen. 
  • FaceTite uses radiofrequency for heating and tightening the skin through collagen remodeling. The procedure melts extra fat that is then removed by liposuction.
  • Thermage FLX also uses radio frequencies and heat energy to stimulate collagen production in deeper layers of the skin. You may need multiple treatment sessions and you will continue to see improvement in the tightness of your skin over time. Thermage may not be effective for severe jowls.
  • Laser skin tightening is an FDA-approved treatment for skin laxity. A laser directs high-intensity light rays to the treatment area, and the light transforms into heat energy beneath the skin. The heat promotes collagen production and tightens the skin. There is little downtime for a laser skin tightening procedure, and it can produce effective results.

Surgical Options

  • Facelift surgery, technically called a rhytidectomy, may be required to correct loose and sagging skin under the lower face and jawline. Dr. Cho will evaluate your needs and recommend a custom facelift treatment.
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