Facial Sagging

Tips to Help Prevent Jiggly Jowls
an older woman and a bulldog with sagging jowls

In our 20s and 30s, a softening of the jawline is hardly a concern. We pay little, if any, attention to our necks and chins.

But once mid-life hits, the mirror doesn’t lie. We can hardly believe the face staring back at us.

Cheeks, once smooth and taut, have receded. Our neck skin is loose, and the jaw that once had definition is now a bit of a mess.

It can be distressing when the image reflected back to us doesn’t appear as it once did. Fortunately, jowls are harmless and don’t require medical intervention.

But: it helps to know how they happen, and what we can do about them—if we so choose.

Causes of Droopy Jowls

Here are some common issues that cause loose and sagging facial skin.

  • Age

    Due to a natural decline in collagen production, skin’s elasticity decreases. Fat in the face is distributed evenly when we’re young. But as we get older that fat loses volume and can drift down, causing cheeks to sag.

    Another unfortunate thing: our chins and necks actually accumulate more fat as we age, causing a jowly look. Skin becomes drier and thinner, which makes it hard for it to appear tight and defined.

  • Time

    Gravity is constantly pulling down on the cheeks, and this can give the appearance of sagging jowls.

  • Major Weight Changes

    Extreme or rapid weight loss can give a droopy and hanging appearance to the skin.

  • Cigarettes and Alcohol

    Smoking and drinking lead to premature aging, including dry and drooping skin.

  • Genetics

    Weak chins are often an inherited trait. If either of your parents had jowls, chances are good you will too. If you have thin skin, jowls may appear even earlier for you—as soon as the teens or 20s.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) Light

    UV light accelerates the breakdown of collagen and it affects elastin, causing the skin to stretch and lose its ability to snap back. Avoid extreme sun exposure, and use a facial sunscreen daily. Also consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors.

  • Repetitive Habits

    Talking on a phone with it pressed to the face overuses the mouth and jaw area.

    Repetitively looking down at a computer or smartphone for hours a day also causes a loss of elasticity in the neck. There’s even a name for this syndrome: tech neck.

    Chewing gum and frowning can be other reasons why skin loosens around the chin. Yet another reason to smile more.

Mitigating Saggy Skin

To help improve the appearance of an aging face, try the following. 

  • Facial Massage

    Massage techniques, as well as instruments like facial rollers and the gua sha, help create a more contoured appearance for the jawline. They also help improve circulation for a more lifted look.

  • Facial Exercises

    Often referred to as facial yoga, it helps improve the structure of the face and can help jaw and neck muscles better retain their shape.

    Hold each of the following exercises for 5 to 20 seconds each, and then release. Repeat 8 to 12 times a few times a day. 

    1. Close your mouth and blow the cheeks up and out as far as comfortable.
    2. Chew with the head slightly lifted up.
    3. Place the lower lip over the top lip, and tilt the head up.
    4. Press the tongue against the roof of the mouth and hum.
    5. Grin as widely as possible, and then slowly tilt the head up and down.
  • Mewing

    Mewing has helped some people by changing the construction of their jaws. Developed by orthodontists, this technique involves keeping the tongue pressed on the mouth’s upper palate while applying increased pressure over time.

  • Lymphatic Massage

    Lymphatic massage helps clear fluids that build up in the lymphatic system and lymph nodes. A lymph massage, particularly along the jaw and neck, can lessen puffiness and encourage toxins to drain from the body.

  • Topical Skin Care

    Moisturizers and creams can minimize the appearance of aging. Look for ingredients like vitamin A, C, or E; hyaluronic acid; CoQ10; and retinol.

    While no product can perform the magic of fully lifting saggy skin, high-quality and effective ingredients can help.

  • Facial Masks

    Facial masks can be used to tighten the skin. Look for ingredients like cucumber juice extract and aloe vera.

  • Makeup

    Makeup contouring along the chin and neck with the right shade of concealer or base can lessen the appearance of jowl lines.

  • Sleeping Posture

    Sleep on your back instead of your side or stomach. Years of sleeping on the side or stomach puts strain on the face and accelerates aging.

  • Limit Sugar Intake

    Too much of the sweet stuff causes the body to store unhealthy fat tissues. If you have sugar cravings, reach for fresh fruit.

Age Gracefully

Lastly, remember that sagging skin is a normal part of aging gracefully and nothing to take shame in. It happens to everyone as they get older.

Click to See Our Sources

“How to fix sagging cheeks naturally: 13 non-surgical ways” by Emma Erickson, https://Mewing.coach, 12/9/22

“How to get rid of jowls” by Jennifer Huizen, Medical News Today, www.MedicalNewsToday.com, 8/17/23

“Many ways to firm sagging skin,” American Academy of Dermatology Association, www.aad.org, 2023

“Why your face ages and what you can do,” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, www.health.Harvard.edu, 7/18/23


Lisa Fabian

Contributing Editor

Lisa Fabian is an award-winning freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience in the publishing industry. She's enjoyed covering topics as diverse as arts and crafts, boating, food, and health and wellness.