Although we blame age for our beauty woes, gravity should share much more of the blame. Unfortunately, most of us can expect both to exact their toll. Wrinkles will start to form. Things will start to droop.
The biggest—or at least most noticeable—casualty is the jawline. Around middle-age, people start to notice their face begin to sag. Their jawline becomes less defined. Skin around the mouth and neck begin to droop. Cheeks flatten.
And that is gravity’s fault.
What are jowls?
As the skin begins to loosen and sag, it pools—amongst a few other places—around the mouth. Eventually, that skin develops into jowls. At first, they’re just a slight widening of the chin area, but they get larger with time.
Eventually, jowls fall below the chin. Jowling normally begins sometime during middle-age and along with other changes, will dramatically alter the shape and structure of a face.
But jowls don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re a consequence of age-related changes to the skin, changes to the composition of subdermal tissue, and gravity.
These changes are collectively described by “The Ageing Triangle.”
The Ageing Triangle
We notice age-related changes to the face because several of them begin at once. The changes are interlinked: the same skin and facial tissue changes contribute to the structural changes. The result dramatically alters the face’s overall shape.
The Ageing Triangle illustrates these changes:
Skin loses its elasticity with age and begins to sag. This dramatically alters the structure of the face, and sagging jowls play a big part.
When we’re young, the base of the triangle is around the eyes. It points down towards the chin. This configuration establishes the baseline for how we perceive faces. The cheeks are pronounced, the chin and jawline defined, and the skin is smooth and wrinkle free.
As we get older, the triangle flips. The base settles around the chin, thanks largely to the development of jowls. The triangle now points up, towards the nose, in part because jowls form the base of triangle.
What causes saggy jowls?
As we get older there are two key changes to our body that cause the cascade of symptoms that lead to sagging jowls. While our skin begins to break down and lose collagen and elastin, we also begin losing the fatty deposits in our face that fill our cheeks.
Collagen and Elastin
Collagen and elastin are cellular proteins that make up the body’s connective tissues. They keep skin pliable and healthy. As we age, they begin to break down. Our bodies also produce less of both. And if that weren’t enough, what we do produce isn’t as effective.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It is a kind of glue, responsible for keeping bodily systems together. It provides the skin’s structure and shape. As we age and lose collagen, skin becomes thinner, looser and less pliable.
Elastin works alongside collagen. It is a lot more flexible. It helps skin stretch and contract, which keeps skin taut, firm and elastic. As the skin loses elastin, it is unable to shrink back were there any changes in subdermal tissue.
And, of course, there are changes.
Loss of fat pads
We begin life with fatty pads in our cheeks. During adolescence and adulthood, the fat burns away. As the face slims, the skin—partly because its elastin and collagen content—contracts to keep the skin taut.
The fat continues to burn away into middle age, though. Because we begin losing elastin and collagen at the same time, the skin can’t contract as our features continue thinning. The stretched skin has nowhere to go.
Gravity pulls the skin as far down as it can. This results in jowls, deeper nasiolabial folds—or laugh lines—and flatter, less pronounced cheeks.
What can I do to get rid of jowls?
The good news is that there are a variety of treatments for sagging jowls. Alongside preventative skin care, surgical and non-surgical treatments can be remarkably successful at shrinking jowls and restoring your face’s youthful appearance.
This series aims to cover everything you need to know about sagging jowls, their causes, prevention and the therapies that will alleviate them. Stay tuned for part two of the series about what does—and doesn’t work—to help you minimize jowling.
Dreading the Droop?
Don’t book that one-way flight to the International Space Station just yet. Dr. Farmah and his team of aestheticians can transform your saggy jowls and restore your youthful looks. Book a consultation today and learn how they can help you defy the droop.