Though the eyes are often the first part of the face to show signs of aging, the most significant impact of the aging process may occur across the jawline. Here, tissue and skin that have fallen from the mid-face due to volume loss and laxity first soften the angles of the jawline, then cause the lower face to look wider than it used to, then actually droop downward. These cosmetic characteristics are what we know as jowls.
What Causes Jowls
There are a few reasons why most people develop jowls as they grow older. These include:
Degradation of Vital Skin Proteins
Two key proteins that are found in the skin are collagen and elastin. Collagen is the wound-healing, skin-firming protein. Elastin is the protein that helps the skin stay stretchy. Both are critical to the skin’s resilience and appearance. As strands of collagen and elastin degrade, the skin becomes increasingly looser.
Like many aspects of our being, genetics is involved in the severity of jowls and possibly even the age at which this problem is noticed. Those who naturally have more facial fat, more collagen, and thicker skin tend to have a greater chance of developing only mild jowls. Individuals with naturally think skin may be more affected by declining collagen and elastin and are more likely to have more pronounced jowls.
While a few factors may be difficult to control, there are several that can be. These include lifestyle factors such as:
- Weight changes. We all gain and lose a few pounds here and there. This is inconsequential. It is the significant gains and losses that can affect the skin more profoundly. Maintaining a steady weight is one way to decrease the severity of jowls.
- UV exposure. Spending time in the sun can be tempting, with the warmth it brings. However, too much time in the sun or tanning beds without adequate UV protection will degrade collagen and elastin more quickly. Stay protected. Wear sunscreen every day and just skip the tanning altogether.
- Cigarettes contain chemicals that deplete the skin (and body) of oxygen. The skin relies on adequate and consistent oxygenation to remain smooth, strong, and healthy. Quitting smoking does wonders for the body as a whole.
Jowls are Something We Can Eliminate
Lower face rejuvenation used to be achieved with facelift surgery. In some cases, this is still the ideal approach. However, in our Salem, OR office, we are seeing outstanding results in the treatment of jowls using Novathreads.
Novathreads are absorbable suture material that are inserted into the subcutaneous tissue to lift and secure fat, connective tissue, and skin slightly higher across the mid-face. This lift does not require anesthesia or much downtime at all. After initial, mild swelling subsides, patients see a whole new look; one that is younger and more vibrant.