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Jowls - Causes, Risks Factors, Prevention, and Treatment

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4 min read


This article deals with information about jowls and saggy or excess skin along the jawline and above the neck region.

Written by

Dr. Karthika Rp

Medically reviewed by

Dr. V. Srikanth Reddy

Published At February 1, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 28, 2024


Jowls are saggy skin seen above the neck, in the chin, and below the jawline. Jowls are composed of subcutaneous fatty tissues. Several factors are responsible for the formation of jowls in the face. Jowls are usually harmless and require no treatment. However, recommended exercise can significantly reduce risk factors for developing jowls. In addition, certain lifestyle modifications can be done to reduce the progression of jowls. Jowls are more common in older people, and jowls have no gender preference.

What Are Jowls?

Jowls are the saggy fat tissues on the chin and jawline. The anatomy of the jowl fat is composed of the pad of fat in the superior aspect and the inferior jowl seen overlying the neurovascular structures at the mandible. The mandibular septum separates the jowls from the submandibular fat pad. The skin gets dry and thin, and the skin form is lost. Sagging of skin on aging around the chin and jawline causes prominent jowls.

What Are the Causes of Jowls?

Jowls are mainly caused by the aging of subcutaneous tissue or atrophy of subcutaneous tissue. Jowling is also caused by the drooping of eyes, called ptosis, and by the dehiscence of the mandibular septum. Jowl exacerbation occurs with midface descent in addition to soft tissue ptosis. In addition to these causes, mandibular atrophy can also cause jowls. The overall causes for the appearance of jowls are mentioned below.

  • Elastin and collagen loss - Elastin and collagen are responsible for maintaining the skin's normal structure. Loss of elastin and collagen causes the skin and subcutaneous tissues to lose their texture, causing jowls.

  • Genetical cause.

  • Environmental and lifestyle factors include smoking, sun exposure, excessive weight loss, and some facial expressions.

Who Is at Risk of Jowls?

There are some risk factors for jowls. Risk factors can be controlled to prevent the sagging of skin or jowls. Certain lifestyle modifications can be done to reduce or avoid the risk factors. Some of the risk factors for the development of jowls are given below.

  • Smoking habit.

  • Consumption of excessive alcohol.

  • History of increased exposure to sun or ultraviolet rays or Uv rays.

  • Severe dehydration.

  • Psychological stress.

  • Inadequate intake of antioxidants.

  • Low consumption of healthy fats.

  • Intake of low or decreased intake of essential nutrients.

  • Increased facial expressions cause increased activity of cheeks, mouth, and muscles in and around the jaws.

  • Increased facial activities like frowning, chewing, and talking for a long time on a cell phone.

  • Allergic reactions of the skin to some cosmetic products.

  • Poor hygiene in the skin.

  • Inadequate Or lack of exercise.

  • Frequent cleansing of the face aggressively.

  • Any physical trauma or injury to jaw muscles.

  • Familial cause of jowls.

  • Idiopathic cause

  • Chronic or severe illness.

How to Prevent the Risk of Jowls?

The causes of jowls other than genes include some environmental and lifestyle factors. The environmental and lifestyle factors can be controlled to reduce or avoid the risk of jowls. Prevention of jowls is done with behavioral and lifestyle modifications. The preventive measure will reduce elastin and collagen fiber loss and improve aging symptoms. The preventive measure for the jowls is mentioned below.

  • Always stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

  • Cessation of smoking.

  • Avoiding the consumption of alcohol.

  • Decreasing the screen time and chat time while using phones and laptops.

  • Reducing sun damage by limiting the sun exposure time.

  • Always wear sunscreen with sun protection factor or SPF, ultraviolet A or UVA, and ultraviolet B or UVB.

  • Wearing clothes to prevent sun damage.

  • Apply moisturizers.

  • Collagen production can be promoted with certain creams and lotions containing antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin A or retinol, and vitamin C.

  • Avoiding excessive facial expressions such as frowning and chewing.

  • A healthy diet with all essential nutrients.

  • Regular exercise.

  • Facial yoga or facial exercises can be done.

How to Prevent Jowls at Home?

It is observed that some of the facial exercises will decrease or reduce the severity of jowls. Facial exercises involving the cheeks, jaw muscles, and the muscles in and around the neck will give beneficial results. Facial exercise causes the even stretch of facial muscles, thereby helping in jowls. Such facial exercises can be done 8-12 times or several times daily to improve outcomes. Some common facial expressions that cause even stretch of facial muscles are mentioned below.

  • Yawning.

  • Opening the mouth as far as possible.

  • Puckering the mouth.

  • Chewing with head tilted up.

  • Blowing the cheeks.

  • Humming can be done with the tongue pressed against the palate.

  • Sounds like "o" followed by "E" is performed to get an even muscle action.

What Is the Treatment for Jowls?

Usually, jowls require no treatment and are harmless. When jowls cause discomfort and anxiety, and cause low self-esteem to the people, jowls require treatment. Treatment options involve nonsurgical management and surgical methods for correcting jowls. The various treatment measures for treating jowls are mentioned below.

  • Nonsurgical methods do not require surgeries, and it consumes minimal time. The advantages of nonsurgical methods for correcting jowls include avoiding general anesthesia and minimal side effects. The various nonsurgical and surgical approaches for treating jowls are mentioned below.

  • Thermage jawline tightening.

  • Injectable dermal fillers, the commonly used fillers include hyaluronic acid, poly-L-lactic acid, silicone, polymethyl methacrylate, and calcium hydroxylapatite.

  • Makeup.

  • Clothing with turtlenecks and scarves.

  • Surgical treatment - surgical management can be done with general anesthesia, and the patient requires a couple of days or more to recover. Some of the surgical management of jowls are pointed out below:

    • Lower rhytidectomy is also known as neck lift or facelift.

    • Laser liposuction.

    • Ultrasound therapy, called ultherapy, can be done to stimulate collagen production.

    • Radiotherapy also stimulates collagen production.

  • Additional treatments include - chemical peels, acupuncture, acupressure, facial massage, and face yoga.

What Are the Food Tips to Fight Age?

Consumption of foods containing anti-aging factors will help to reduce the aging effects on the skin. The quality of life is increased with a regular intake of healthy foods and vegetables. There are so many natural foods with high nutritional value. Some of the foods with anti-aging effects are given below.

  • Soybeans, rich in isoflavones, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.

  • Tofu, a soybean curd.

  • Carrots are rich in vitamin A.

  • Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, and radish are rich in vitamins C, E, K, and folates.

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, lemons, and tangerines contain vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties.


Jowls are the saggy pad of tissues present along the jawline and see below the neck. Jowls are harmless and don't require any treatment. Jowls are common in older people and have no gender predilection. Facial exercises can be done to get an even stretch of facial muscles and improve the effects of jowls. Behavioral modifications and lifestyle modifications can be done to reduce the impact of jowls. A healthy diet improves the quality of life and fights against the aging process. Preventive measures can be followed to avoid the risk of jowls.

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Dr. V. Srikanth Reddy
Dr. V. Srikanth Reddy



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