Understanding Jowls: Causes and Treatment Options

Posted by Dr Theva in Anti Wrinkle Treatments Melbourne, Anti-Aging, Face Care, Facial Rejuvenation.

Jowls, the sagging skin and flesh around the lower jawline, are a common concern as individuals age. While aging is the primary culprit behind their development, several factors contribute to their formation, including genetics, skin laxity, and lifestyle choices. 

Understanding the causes and available treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical, is essential for those seeking to address this issue.

How do Jowls Occur

Causes of Jowls

Jowls, the sagging skin or flesh around the lower jawline, develop due to various factors related to the aging process and other influences. 

Understanding the causes sheds light on why they occur:

1) Loss of Skin Elasticity and Collagen 

As individuals age, the skin undergoes several changes. One significant factor contributing to jowl formation is the loss of skin elasticity and reduced collagen production. 

Collagen and elastin are proteins that provide structure and firmness to the skin. Over time, their decline leads to sagging and laxity in the lower face, causing the development of jowls.

2) Effects of Gravity

Gravity constantly pulls downward on the skin and underlying tissues, especially in the lower face and neck area. This continuous force exacerbates the stretching and sagging of the skin, contributing to the prominence of jowls over time.

3) Skin Laxity and Fat Redistribution 

Skin laxity, influenced by genetics, sun exposure, and lifestyle habits like smoking, also plays a role. Additionally, changes in fat distribution due to aging cause the facial fat pads to descend, contributing to the appearance of jowls.

Age Related Fat Loss Causes Drooping Jowls and Skin

4) Muscle Weakening

Weakening of the facial muscles with age contributes to the loss of support for the skin and underlying tissues in the lower face. This can result in a less defined jawline and the formation of jowls.

5) Environmental Factors

External factors such as prolonged sun exposure and smoking accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. Smoking, in particular, can reduce blood flow to the skin, impairing its ability to regenerate and maintain elasticity.

6) Weight Loss

Significant weight loss can also contribute to jowl formation. When individuals experience substantial weight loss, the skin may not shrink back to its original size, leading to excess skin and the appearance of sagging, including in the jowl area.

7) Bony Resorption

Bony resorption, a natural part of the aging process, involves the shrinking or loss of bone density in the facial structure. As bones in the face diminish over time, the supportive foundation for the overlying soft tissues diminishes as well. This results in a gradual descent of the facial soft tissues, contributing to the development of jowls.

Understanding these underlying causes highlights why jowls occur. While aging is the primary factor, a combination of genetic predisposition, lifestyle choices, and environmental influences contributes to their development. 

Addressing jowls often involves treatments to restore skin elasticity, collagen production, and support the lower face and jawline. 

Non-surgical and surgical interventions aim to counteract these aging-related changes, offering various options for individuals seeking to address this cosmetic concern.

Ultherapy Before and After - Non Surgical Jowls Treatment
Ultherapy Before and After – Non-Surgical Jowls Treatment

Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Treatment

Several treatment options exist for addressing jowls, ranging from surgical procedures to non-invasive techniques. Understanding the differences between these approaches is crucial for making an informed decision.

Surgical Treatments

Facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, is a common surgical intervention to tighten and lift the skin, effectively reducing the appearance of jowls. During this procedure, excess skin is removed, and underlying tissues are tightened to restore a more youthful contour to the face. Despite its effectiveness, a facelift involves downtime for recovery and carries potential risks associated with surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical alternatives offer less invasive options for jowl reduction and are often preferred by individuals seeking minimal downtime. Some of these non-surgical treatments include:

1) Ultherapy:

  • How it Works: Ultherapy employs focused ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production deep within the skin’s layers. This non-invasive procedure targets specific areas to tighten and lift sagging skin, including the jowls.
  • Procedure: During the session, the practitioner uses ultrasound imaging to visualise and precisely deliver the energy to the targeted areas without affecting the skin’s surface. The treatment triggers the body’s natural regenerative process, gradually lifting and tightening the skin over several months.
  • Results: Improvement in skin firmness and tighter contours can be observed over 2-3 months following the treatment. Depending on individual skin laxity, multiple sessions might be required to achieve optimal results.
Saggy Jowl Treatment Ultherapy

2) Lifting Threads (Thread Lift):

  • How it Works: A thread lift procedure involves inserting dissolvable threads made of materials like polydioxanone (PDO) or polylactic acid (PLA) beneath the skin to lift and support sagging tissues, including the jowls.
  • Procedure: The threads are strategically placed under the skin, providing an immediate lifting effect. Over time, the threads stimulate collagen production, further enhancing the skin’s firmness and longevity of results.
  • Results: Patients typically notice an immediate improvement in the jowl area, with continued enhancement as collagen production increases. Results may last up to 1-2 years, varying based on the type of threads used and individual skin response.
Lifting PDO Thread Treatment

3) Tixel Treatment:

  • How it Works: Tixel treatment utilises a thermo-mechanical approach, delivering controlled heat to the skin’s surface through a specialised device. This thermal energy stimulates collagen remodelling, improving skin laxity and reducing jowl’s appearance.
  • Procedure: The Tixel device creates micro-perforations in the skin, allowing for better absorption of topical medications and triggering the skin’s natural healing response. It is relatively comfortable compared to other fractional resurfacing treatments.
  • Results: Patients experience gradual skin tightening and improvement in jowls over several weeks to months. Optimal results often require multiple sessions spaced several weeks apart.

4) Dermal Fillers:

  • How it Works: Dermal fillers, usually containing hyaluronic acid, are injectable substances used to restore volume and support to specific facial areas, including the jowls.
  • Procedure: A qualified cosmetic injector injects the filler strategically into the targeted areas to lift and contour the jowls. The type and amount of filler used depend on individual needs and desired outcomes.
  • Results: Immediate improvement in jowl appearance can be observed post-treatment, with results lasting from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the type of filler used and individual metabolic factors.

Each of these non-surgical treatments offers unique benefits for addressing jowls, providing patients with a range of options to suit their preferences and desired outcomes. 

Consulting with an experienced cosmetic physician is essential to determine the most suitable treatment based on individual goals and skin conditions.

Want to Know More?

Scanning the headlines can be confusing when it comes to choosing the right treatment to improve your sagging jowls. Because there is so much information available, you might find yourself asking: 

Where do I even start? What treatments are safe? Which treatments are right for me?

These are all valid questions. The good news is you’ve come to the right place.

The first step is to book a no-obligation consultation with me at Dr T Aesthetics. I begin the process by assessing your main concerns.

I get to know you and discuss your desired outcomes, your ultimate experience, and your concerns, so we get it right the first time. 

We discuss timelines, expectations, best treatments, and payment plans.

Most importantly, I will explain why they are the best options and go over the results you can expect to feel comfortable and confident you are making the right decision.

Some of the available treatments for sagging jowls here at our anti-ageing clinic in Melbourne are:

  1. Ultherapy
  2. Thread Lift
  3. Tixel Treatment
  4. Dermal Fillers

To find out which treatment is best for you, begin by booking your comprehensive no-obligation consultation with me today.