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What Causes Jowls?

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Jowls can be a concern for many people, male or female, as they are one of the areas that largely contribute to how aged the face looks. There isn’t just one cause of jowls, but rather a few factors that come together to create or worsen the sagging that happens as we mature.

Ageing causes jowls

The main cause of jowls, ageing, is something that affects everyone, whether we like it or not. As we get older, collagen and elastin, proteins that keep skin firm and taut, break down. This can make skin seem lax, and leads to fine lines and wrinkles as well as allowing skin to give in to gravitational pull and sag downwards. This laxity can also allow the fat in cheeks to sink down and contribute to the look of jowls.

Smoking certainly can be a factor

We all know the obvious dangers of cigarettes, but they are really harmful to your skin; the nicotine in smoke causes blood vessels to narrow, reducing the blood flow to skin, which minimises the amount of oxygen that reaches the skin, as well as important vitamins like Vitamin A, that help to protect it from damage. Smoking also creates enzymes that destroy collagen and elastin in the skin, which adds to how lax or taut it is, and how much it sags.

Sun damage

Spending too much time in the sun, although it can be fun, can cause lasting damage to your skin. UV rays (both UVA and UVB) cause the breakdown of elastin in the skin, which reduces how skin’s ability to ‘bounce back’ from facial expressions and leads to sagging. We always recommend good sun protection that protects against UVA and UVB rays in order to minimise damage to the skin.

Weight loss

Weight is put on when the amount of calories consumed is regularly more than calories burned, as the energy is stored as fat. As you put weight on, your skin adjusts to it by stretching, and if weight is lost quickly or without exercise, your skin doesn’t have a chance to shrink back down. This leaves you with excess skin, which can be anywhere on the body, including the face and neck, contributing to jowls.


Perhaps the simplest of factors, genetics plays a role; if your parents have jowls, you are more likely to develop them at some point in your life, whether you stay away from cigarettes or excessive sun exposure or not.

To find out what we can do at PHI Clinic to help you, phone us on 02070 345999 or log an enquiry on our website.

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