Jowls: Exercises, causes, treatment, and prevention (2023)

In humans, jowls are excess or saggy skin on the neck, just below the jawline and chin. Almost everyone develops at least minor jowls as they age and their skin becomes less elastic.

Several factors, including heredity, stress, repetitive facial habits, and lifestyle choices, can cause more pronounced jowls at almost any age.

In this article, learn about exercises and treatments to get rid of jowls, as well as how to help prevent them.

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Though several factors are known to increase the likelihood and severity of jowls, their ultimate cause is aging.

As the skin ages, it starts to lose some of the compounds that help keep its shape, specifically fat and the connective tissue proteins elastin and collagen.

The skin also 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.

Sagging skin around the cheeks and mouth falls to the area around the chin and jawline, creating jowls.

Risk factors for jowls 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 cell 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
  • extreme or rapid weight loss
  • severe or chronic illness

Some research shows that facial exercises, and exercise in general, can help reduce the appearance and severity of jowls by making the facial, jaw, and neck muscles better able to hold their shape.

A 2014 review concluded that while the statistical evidence is still weak.

However, all of the available studies exploring the effect of facial exercises on facial rejuvenation reported positive outcomes.

Exercise also significantly improves several factors that contribute to the overall health of the skin. This may help reduce the age of onset, severity, and appearance of jowls.

Any exercise that engages or stretches the facial muscles evenly without overusing them may help reduce jowls.

Most recommended exercises should be done one after another to ensure the facial muscles are worked evenly. People should hold each exercise for 5 to 20 seconds before releasing. Each exercise can be repeated 8 to 12 times, several times daily.

Common facial exercises that may help improve jowls include:

  • Yawning and opening the mouth as far as possible, then closing it very slowly without letting the teeth touch.
  • Puckering the lips outwards. This exercise works best when done lying down, and by using the fingers to draw the sides of the mouth downwards.
  • Blowing the cheeks up as far as comfortable.
  • Chewing with the head tilted slightly up.
  • Grinning as widely as comfortable then slowly tilting the head up and down.
  • Putting the lower lip on the top lip and tilting the head up.
  • Lying down flat, curling the neck in towards the chest with the tongue pressing on the roof of the mouth.
  • Humming with the tongue pressed against the roof of the mouth.
  • Saying the sounds “o” followed by “e,” using more force than usual and exaggerating mouth movements.
(Video) Jowls: Face Yoga to Reduce and Prevent


(Video) How to Get Rid of Sagging Jowls | Dr. Angela Sturm

Jowls are usually harmless and do not require medical attention. But for some people, having severe or very noticeable jowls makes them feel uncomfortable, or causes them anxiety and lowers their self-confidence.

Medical treatment options for jowls are considered elective procedures or therapies, meaning most insurance companies do not cover them.

A dermatologist or plastic surgeon will usually perform jowl surgeries and procedures in a clinic or hospital setting.

Popular treatment options for jowls include:


Fillers are compounds that are injected into the cheeks to fill in the places where fat has been lost from the skin.

Lifting the cheeks also naturally lifts the skin around the jawline and corners of the mouth.

Fillers can also be injected directly into the jowl area to produce a fuller appearance. A 2014 study found that nearly 95.6 percent of people who received filler injections said they were “happy” or “delighted” with the results.

Compounds commonly used as fillers include:

  • hyaluronic acid
  • poly-l-lactic acid
  • polymethyl methacrylate
  • calcium hydroxylapatite
  • silicone

How long the effect of fillers lasts depends on the severity of the jowls, the structure of the face, the dosage of filler, and the number of injections given.

Many people find the results from facial fillers last anywhere between 2 and 4 years.

Fillers are typically more effective in people between the ages of 30 and 50. In people over the age of 50, additional procedures may be undertaken alongside fillers.

Popular brand-name injectable facial fillers include:

  • Juvederm
  • Voluma
  • Restylane

Neck lift

During most neck lifts, a surgeon will make a cut along the side of the face and under the chin, then reposition and sculpt fat and tissues in the jaw and cheek. They will also cut away some excess skin and tighten some of the surrounding muscles.

(Video) How to Get Rid of Neck Lines & Jowls Without Surgery or Fillers

Neck lifts are widely considered the most effective treatment for jowls, but the surgery has a long recovery time and carries the most significant risk of complications. The most common complications are scarring and infection.

Neck lifts are also very expensive compared to other treatment options for jowls.


Ultherapy involves the use of ultrasound therapy to stimulate the long-term production of collagen in the deep layers of the skin.

Ultherapy only requires one session, and people can usually return to their everyday activities immediately after the procedure.

Most people notice a continual improvement in skin tightness and firmness several months after treatment.

In one study, nearly 70 percent of participants still saw improvements around their neck and jawline 3 months after the ultrasound therapy.


Radiotherapy uses intense, radiating heat to stimulate the bundles of collagen and elastin fibers about 2 millimeters (mm) below the skin’s surface. This causes the bundles to recoil and the skin to tighten.

Radiotherapy also stimulates the production of collagen by tricking the body into thinking connective tissues have been damaged.

Many people need to repeat sessions a few times a year for maximum results.

The most common brand name of radiotherapy for jowls is Pelleve.

Other treatments

Additional treatment options for jowls include:

  • laser therapy
  • chemical peels

Less invasive alternative therapies are becoming more commonly used to treat jowls, but most require more studies to determine whether they are effective.

Additional therapies that may help treat jowls include:


  • acupuncture and acupressure
  • facial or lymphatic massage
  • face building
  • face yoga

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No one method can entirely prevent jowls, but some lifestyle choices can help reduce the severity or risk of early development.

Tips for preventing and reducing the severity of jowls include:

  • staying hydrated
  • wearing sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection
  • wearing protective clothing during periods of prolonged or intense sun exposure
  • using moisturizers
  • using creams and lotions high in antioxidants that promote the production of collagen, such as retinol (a type of vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin E
  • avoiding habits and expressions that cause the jaw and cheek muscles to face downward, especially chewing gum, frowning, and using the computer for a long time
  • eating a healthful diet
  • exercising regularly
  • not smoking
  • sleeping on the back instead of the side or stomach
  • doing facial exercises that promote flexible muscles in the entire face

Almost everyone eventually gets jowls, but several factors can contribute to their development. Factors include damage, poor diet, repetitive facial motions, and sudden weight loss.

While jowls are harmless, some people may feel uncomfortable about how they look. Many medical options exist to treat them, including neck lifts, injectable fillers, and radiotherapy.

Less invasive alternatives are becoming more popular, as well. These include acupuncture, facial massage, and facial yoga. Regularly performing facial exercises may also help reduce the appearance and severity of jowls.


Do exercises for sagging jowls work? ›

Some research shows that facial exercises, and exercise in general, can help reduce the appearance and severity of jowls by making the facial, jaw, and neck muscles better able to hold their shape.

What is the most effective treatment for jowls? ›

Neck Lift. Neck lift surgery (platysmaplasty) is the most effective, but also most invasive, treatment for jowls. It may be the only option available to patients with severe jowls or substantial laxity.

How can I prevent jowls on my face? ›

Jowls may be less pronounced in people who have thicker skin, more fat, or more collagen in the area below the cheeks and chin.
To prevent jowls
  1. Avoid smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco can damage your skin.
  2. Limit your exposure to the sun. ...
  3. Limit your screen time.

What exercises can I do to tighten my neck and jowls? ›

Now take a deep breath in through the nose. And then go. I really let go of any tension that you may

Can massage improve jowls? ›

Using a patented device, researchers have shown that jowl massage by mechanical stimulation of the face can trigger biochemical mechanisms that lead to skin remodeling in the aging face. To be reminded that time is indeed undefeated, one just needs to look in the mirror.

What is the best non invasive treatment for jowls? ›

Ultherapy (Ultrasound Therapy) for Collagen Stimulation on the Jowls. Ultherapy is an outpatient, non surgical cosmetic procedure for lifting, tightening, and firming jowls. Much like filler injections, one of the primary benefits of ultherapy is how fast and easy treatments can be.

How can I prevent sagging jowls without surgery? ›

For a more efficient and proven way to tighten jowls and neck without surgery, there are several noninvasive cosmetic treatments available. Some of these treatments include injectable fillers, botox, Kybella, and radiotherapy.

Why do I suddenly have jowls? ›

Jowls develop as the skin becomes less elastic with age because of elastin and collagen loss. Jowl development is also affected by various other factors including certain lifestyle choices and facial movement habits, genetic predisposition, exposure to sunlight, and chronic stress.

Does smiling prevent jowls? ›

Although many people have heard that smiling uses fewer facial muscles than frowning, it is only fairly recently that research has actually proven this to be true. Those who spend more time smiling have been shown to develop fewer facial wrinkles than those who are stressed and frown a lot.

How can I lift my jowls naturally? ›

Try these facial exercises to help improve jowls:

Hold a smile shape with the lips wrapping your teeth. Place your index finger on the chin for resistance. Now scoop the jaw backwards. Take 2 fingers and a thumb and pinch all the way up the jaw area to release tension.

How can I tighten my neck and jowls without surgery? ›

Types of nonsurgical neck lifts
  1. Botox. Injectable therapies like Botox (botulinum toxin type A injection) can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. ...
  2. Fractionated ablative laser treatment. ...
  3. Injectable dermal fillers. ...
  4. Kybella. ...
  5. Radiofrequency-based devices. ...
  6. Ultherapy.
5 Nov 2020

How do you reverse sagging jowls? ›

Quick Fix For Sagging Jowls
  1. Chin exercise. Close your mouth and then jut your lower jaw out and, simultaneously, raise your lower lip (maybe do this when nobody is looking). ...
  2. Neck exercise. With your head level, keep everything still apart from your neck and move the neck fully back and then forward. ...
  3. Other Quick Fixes.

Do face rollers help jowls? ›

Yes, a jade roller, a very cool little object that is rolled around the face to help improve circulation, lymphatic drainage, skin tone, puffiness and firmness.

Do face exercises work? ›

Does it work? Maybe! A 2018 study conducted at Northwestern University showed that 20 weeks of daily facial exercise did indeed yield measurably firmer skin, and fuller upper and lower cheeks. The protocol involved 30 minutes a day for the first 8 weeks of the study, then every other day thereafter.

At what age do jowls start? ›

While a loss of elasticity can start happening in your late 20s depending on your genetics, Shafer says that it's especially common in late 30s to early 40s patients. “This is most often when patients start looking in the mirror and noticing that their skin is not as 'tight,'” he explains.

What will tighten jowls? ›

Ultherapy, a one-time, long-lasting correction, uses ultrasound to tighten loose, sagging facial skin. Once the skin is taut, the filler tends to go further. Then, as we add the filler, the face lifts and those jowls disappear.

Can Botox lift jowls? ›

As we age gravity pulls on our lower face, leading to sagging jowls, decreased elasticity and hanging skin of the chin, neck and lower face. Injecting Botox® in this area can provide a subtle lift, helping you look younger and refreshed.

How many units of Botox do you need for jowls? ›

How many units of Botox do you need for jowls? Injecting 20 to 30 units of Botox per side, right where the muscle meets the jawline and contracts, can recontour the face as the jaw gradually narrows.

How long does Botox for jowls last? ›

How long does a botox jowl treatment last? Initially, your Botox treatment for jaw reduction will last up to 6 months. This will last longer over time, however. Patients who have repeated Botox over a long time may not require as many treatments.

How long does Botox take to work on jowls? ›

It takes about 2 or 3 days to start working, and 2 to 3 weeks to see the full effect. Do not massage or rub your face for 3 days.


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