Eliminate jowls with these 3 face moves

woman with curly hair smiling
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You don’t have to feel down just because gravity wants you to. Sagging skin is a natural part of aging, but with some time and effort, you can fight back against jowls.

According to Vincent C. Hung, MD, board-certified dermatologist and plastic surgeon, jowls are the long-term result of a combination of external factors including age, genetics, smoking, and more. These conditions are largely responsible for the breakdown of collagen in your skin, which eventually results in sagging. Over time, as the skin becomes less elastic, gravity pulls your face downward. The tissue will eventually settle around the jawline, causing what we know as jowls.

While some, like Dr. Hung, approach jowls with a combination of surgery and treatment, there are countless ways to prevent and reverse the appearance of a sagging jawline that don’t require costly procedures or recovery time. You can start the process to get rid of jowls in just a few minutes with three simple facial exercises you can do at home–or anywhere!

Facial exercises for jowl prevention are effective. A study at Northwestern University in 2018 reported that 20 weeks of facial exercise resulted in younger-looking skin. Although it was the first study of its kind, Northwestern Medicine Dermatologist Dr. Murad Alam is hopeful: “Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” Alam said. “The exercises enlarge and strengthen the facial muscles, so the face becomes firmer and more toned and shaped like a younger face.”

So how does this happen? As you age, the lack of elasticity combined with a natural loss of fat causes your face to lose its shape which can lead to jowls. By exercising your face regularly, you build muscle in the places where you’re also losing fat, combat the aesthetic effects of fat thinning, and give your face a rounder, fuller appearance.

Gary Sikorski, the founder of Happy Face Yoga and “the world’s foremost authority on facial exercise,” coauthored the 2018 study with Northwestern Medicine and is the mastermind behind the exercises. While not all of the facial exercises performed in this study are helpful for reducing the appearance of jowls, many of them can do exactly that.


a smiling woman with natural hair with her hands on her face
Audrey Fretz/ Unsplash

One movement is called Scooping, which eliminates jowls by tightening the muscles around the chin and neck. To try this, make an “ahh” shape with your mouth and “fold your lower lips and the corners of your lips into your mouth and hold them tightly. Extend your jaw forward.”

To perform the scooping motion, imagine you’re using your lower jaw to scoop up the air in front of you. With each repetition of opening and closing your jaw, “pull your chin up about an inch…tilting your head backward.” Repeat this move ten times, with your chin pointing up by the last repetition. Hold this position for ten seconds before repeating the entire set three times.

The Temple Developer

A second facial exercise for jowls is the Temple Developer, which focuses on the muscles on each side of the face in order to tone and strengthen from your forehead to your cheeks. Sikorski notes that these muscles are some of the most difficult to control (try wiggling your ears–hard, right?), but the most influential when it comes to maintaining facial structure.

To try the Temple Developer, you’ll start with a smile. Move your fingers to your temples, pressing gently. Now you’ll “close your jaw, clenching your teeth together and moving your chin up.” Next, clench and unclench your teeth while focusing on the temples. The idea is to activate the muscles on the side of your face, pulling the ears back to create tension around the temples. Unless you can control your temporalis muscles and wiggle your ears, you will have to visualize this movement in order to help your brain and body make the connection.

The Cheek Lifter

Sikorski also developed The Cheek Lifter. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a facial exercise that helps maintain the full and youthful appearance of your cheeks. Begin by making an “O” shape with your mouth, stretching your upper lip over your front teeth to cover them, and smiling to lift up the muscles. You’ll perform cheek push-ups by placing one finger on top of your cheeks, right below the eye. By smiling and relaxing, you’ll be giving the muscle the exercise it needs to strengthen.

Repeat this ten times. On the tenth repetition, lift up your cheeks as high as you can. Visualizing your cheeks stretching up toward the ceiling may help, according to Sikorski. Another trick that may help give your facial muscles an extra workout is tightening your glutes while you try this exercise. Yup, you read that correctly, so get to squeezing!

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring. 

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