Scrutinising our faces on endless video calls has caused a spike in searches for facial exercises for jowls as well as jowl treatments. Here’s what the pros recommend
After staring at our own reflections on Zoom for more than a year, it’s no surprise that clinics have seen an uptick in interest in treatments from hooded eyes and creased necks and now especially for sagging jowls. Video calls are particularly unflattering for the lower face as the wide-angle lenses on our laptops and smartphones create distortion, making the bits of us closer to the screen, such as our jaw, look bigger (our ears, on the other hand, look tiny!).
“Jowl treatment has peaked since the first lockdown," confirms Dr Munir Somji, medical director of Dr MediSpa in Knightsbridge. "Not only are patients looking down during Zoom calls, they’re perhaps also having greater fluctuations in weight due to a change in diet and exercise regimes [which can affect jowls].”
Aesthetic doctor Dr Tapan Patel, of London's Phi Clinic and a regular on Channel 5’s 10 Years Younger in 10 Days, said that 90 per cent of his clients ask for jowl treatments. It's a similar story for Prof Khanna, founder of Dr BK Clinic in Reading, who reports a more than 100 per cent increase in enquiries for jowl treatments. Our pros explain the options.
What causes sagging jowls?
Jowls happen as we lose elasticity in the skin with age and the skin below your chin or jawline drops, says Dr Rita Rakus of the Dr Rakus Clinic in Knightsbridge. “As we age, almost everyone will experience this sagging chin. Sagging jowls occur when your skin becomes thinner and the elasticity of the skin decreases.”
Age-related bone loss also comes into play, as Dr Patel explains. “As we age our bones get smaller; our jaw might start to shrink and the skin that used to be taut across the area begins to sag.”
Jowls start to appear in our forties and fifties, adds Dr Tracy Mountford of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic in London . The extent to which we have them can be genetic, though lifestyle factors such as extreme weight loss, chronic stress, or smoking can speed up the arrival of jowls.
Best non-surgical tweakments for jowls
Facelifts are considered the gold standard for ridding yourself of jowls according to Dr Patel, but there are plenty of non-surgical tweakments too. He recommends three treatments in particular to treat jowls, with varying degrees of results. Hifu (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound) as maintenance to press pause on ageing, radiofrequency microneedling as the middle ground for results over a time to tighten and improve skin texture (Dr Patel uses Secret RF machine) and lastly the Endolift which uses a laser to reduce fat and tighten skin and produces the most dramatic results with a noticeable lift.
Endolift. The ‘as seen on TV’ jowl treatment
Endolift involves a laser fibre just bigger than a human hair being inserted under the skin in the area you want to treat to tighten the skin and remove fat too. Dr Patel performed it on 10 Years Younger earlier this year and there’s been a spike in Google searches of the treatment since the show aired. After a local anaesthetic is applied (the same kind injected at the dentist) an incision is made in the skin with a needle and the fibre is put under the skin and transmits heat energy, which encourages new collagen production.
The Endolift tightens the skin and removes fat too. It takes an hour to do, and Dr Patel says it’s well tolerated by most but will produce swelling for two or three days. Generally, just one session is needed and results last between two and five years.
Morpheus8: The celebrities favourite jowl treatment:
Judy Murray's skin transformation made headlines when she announced that she had been treated with Morpheus8 to tighten her ‘turkey neck’. Amanda Holden and Kim Kardashian are fans too. Morpheus8 combines radiofrequency with microneedling.
Microneedling creates minuscule injuries to the skin, stimulating a natural healing response of new collagen and elastin fibres which tighten and smooth the skin, explains Dr Somji. “It also delivers fractional radiofrequency energy deep into the dermis, which further enhances skin tightening," he says.
Results are long-lasting and continue to improve months after treatment, as new collagen and elastin develop. You normally need one to three sessions.
HIFU: to press pause on sagging jowls
HIFU is an ultrasound treatment, (it stands for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound) that delivers ultrasound waves to a precise depth in the skin where thermal energy stimulates the growth of new collagen. Results are noticeable almost immediately in some cases, and continue to improve for up to a year after treatment, with no downtime.
Dr Patel recommends HIFU to clients who don’t want to look vastly different but instead want to press pause on their ageing. “It’s a maintenance treatment rather than something that will give you ‘before and after’ picture results,” he says. “Having one session of HIFU once or twice a year will sustain how you look.”
Ultherapy for jowls: The insider favourite
Ultherapy has been around for several years and like HIFU it uses ultrasound energy to lift and tighten the neck and jawline by remodelling collagen and elastin at a deep level in the skin to support the neck and jawline. In the early days, it was excruciatingly painful (it feels a little hot) but the technology has moved on a great deal and a numbing cream is applied pre-procedure. Because it doesn't disrupt the surface of the skin, it’s suitable for all skin tones and types.
It's one that experts use on themselves. Harley Street rejuvenation specialist Dr Sabrina Shah-Desai of the Perfect Eyes Clinic says she has it herself to address saggy jowls and thinning skin , while beauty director Rosie Green told us she has Ultherapy at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic every year to lift jowls and give her skin youthful plumpness.
Ultherapy shows impressive results with one session takes less than an hour and has zero downtime. Some patients see an initial lift after their first treatment but real results become more apparent over three to six months as new collagen builds which gradually lifts the skin, lasting a year or more. “I recommend maintenance treatments performed every year to eighteen months depending on your age and lifestyle,” says Dr Tracy Mountford.
The difference between ultherapy and HIFU lies in the ultrasound used. Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound (MFU) beams, while HIFU stands for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. Ultherapy uses a more focused ultrasound beam so targets a smaller, more precise area at a time.
Ultracel: for an immediate jowl lift
Ulracel is combination of high-frequency ultrasound, radiofrequency (RF) and fractional radiofrequency microneedling . The trio work on all levels of your skin, reducing sagging by tightening the skin with the RF and microneedling as well as stimulating collagen production thanks to the ultrasound.
It’s a pain-free procedure performed with a handheld gun that is moved across the treatment area. It delivers instant results as well as long term collagen stimulating effects and has no downtime, according to Dr Rita. The procedure takes between one and two hours and you leave the clinic feel rejuvenated.
Best at-home jowl treatments and beauty tools for jowls
Experts are divided as to whether at-home treatments make a difference to jowls. “With significant jowls, no home treatments will really be of huge value but it is always worth trying things that will help at home as a preventative measure,” says Dr Tracy Mountford. “Facial exercise can help to strengthen the lower face muscles and lower jaw and this will help."
She also suggests trying radiofrequency home tools to stimulate collagen but the results will be much less than in-clinic treatments.
Facial exercise for jowls
Dr Munir Somji sings the praises of facial exercises to help with jowls. "Place your hands either side of your face and put four fingers just above your jaw, then place your thumbs under the sides of the chin," he says. "Pinch your jowl with your fingers at the top and squeeze with your thumbs. Smile and touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Repeat daily for six weeks."
At-home tools for jowls
Dr Somji also recommends combining facial exercises with devices such as the NEWA , £239, an at-home radiofrequency device that rebuilds and remodels collagen to tighten and lift the skin. Dr Sophie Shotter of the Iluminate Skin Clinic in Kent recommends using at-home radiofrequency tools daily to see results.
Gua sha for jowls
Fans of gua sha will be pleased to learn it can help with jowls, as Katie Brindle and founder of the Hay'ou explains. "Gua sha can help with the jowls by releasing stored tension in your facial muscles and boosting the microcirculation and helping the production of collagen and elastin."
"Start by using the double-ended edge of your gua sha tool along the jawline at a 45 degree with a gentle to medium pressure, eight times each side making sure you hold the skin to support," she says. "Then with your Hayo'u Precision Tool , £35, use the curved edge upwards, outwards starting at the chin applying light to middle-pressure strokes going from the jawline to the cheekbone for 30 seconds."
DaVisage Visager facial exerciser for tightening jowls
Think of this slingshot-shaped tool, £220, as a resistance band for the face. By placing it on different areas, in this instance under the neck, it provides resistance to make the facial muscles work harder and tone up. The Visager comes in a high-tech box with a video screen showing the exercises for your to follow.
Place one of the Visager prongs under the chin, open your mouth and press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. The lower jaw pushes against the Visager, hold for three seconds.
This wishbone-shaped tool has many a five-star review on Cult Beauty with users saying it transformed their face and neck and lifted sagging jowls. The rotating noduled massagers reduce puffiness by draining toxins, which in turn delivers a post-facial glow. It mimics the tapping, pinching and knuckling movements Sarah Chapman performs in her facials, which are loved by Victoria Beckham.