Nowhere on the body ages faster or before the neck and jawline area, which is completely normal and natural. However, as nature takes its course, it can become difficult to tone and tighten — if that's your desire — without medical intervention. But there are several options available, whether you're looking for something you can use at home, a non-invasive procedure, or you're willing to go under the knife. And it seems like as the pandemic rages on, more and more people are flooding into doctor's offices for treatment.
"I've for sure been seeing more requests for jaw and upper neck procedures during COVID," says San Francisco-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Sieber. "Women tend to ask more for chin contour or shape, like an augmented point, and men want a really well-defined, masculine jawline."
Here, we asked estheticians and doctors what the best options are.
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Start By Optimizing Your Skincare Routine
Raquel Medina-Cleghorn, one of my favorite aestheticians, told me that most people apply serums and moisturizers incorrectly — tugging the skin downward, jaw to collarbone, when really, they should be applied in an upward sweeping motion, collarbone to jaw — which can accelerate creasing of the skin. Just something to be mindful of as you're applying your skincare products.
Now that your skincare technique is perfected, amp it up by giving yourself a lymphatic drainage massage — kneading and pinching the jawline upward toward your ear — as you apply your serum.
Are There Any At-Home Tools I Can Use to Sculpt My Jawline?
If a tool is more your style, celebrity facialist Joanna Czech, renowned for her crazy-effective and impossibly slimming massages, developed an at-home facial sculpting massager to do all the heavy lifting for you and it couldn't be easier to use. Simply roll it from the center of the chin to your earlobe. And real talk: a facial massage works wonders for a puffy-face hangover or salty late-night feast.
Another option, and one of the most popular at-home tech tools is the NuFACE Facial Toning Device. It works to stimulate your face, jaw and neck by using microcurrent technology to improve the jawline contour and tighten skin tone and fine lines.
At-Home Radio Frequency
Celebrity aesthetician Joshua Ross of SkinLab adds that the Trilogy Wand is a great choice as well.
'[It] mimics a radio frequency treatment in the office where the heat creates growth factors to help firm the skin — minimally invasive professional treatments in the office would be a radio frequency treatment," he explains. "This works to sculpt the jaw by heating the tissue, causing the skin to create growth factors to produce new collagen and elastin which will help support and tighten the skin around the jawline."
He adds that at-home tools are best to use at a younger age. When skin begins to mature, professional treatments tend to be more effective.
What Are Some In-Office Treatments for Sculpting My Jawline?
Within the past year, two popular dermal fillers, Restylane Defyne and Juvéderm Voluma XC, received FDA-approval to treat the chin. Los Angeles-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sameer Bashey credits our new digital lifestyle, and by extension, the unavoidable full screen views of our neck and faces, with a renewed focus on jaw treatments.
"Chin and jaw are my area of expertise and I would say that people are more conscious now of their facial anatomy because they are seeing themselves on camera, on Zoom, a lot more," he explains, adding that a majority of these patients all ask for the same thing: a sharper jawline.
Once potential patients are in-office, Dr. Bashey evaluates each patient's facial anatomy. "Most will have some sort of bony deficiency of the chin and jawline that can easily be corrected with filler," he shares. To sculpt and define — versus the traditional plumping fillers that temporarily fill in sunken areas — Dr. Bashey favors biostimulatory injectors, like Sculptura or hyperdiluted Radiesse, to stimulate the body's own collagen and build volume over time, adding projection to the chin and tightening the tissue along the anterior jawline.
Sculptura, in particular, is the most long-lasting injectable, with clinical trials showing a two-year lifespan. Although it can be used elsewhere on the body, it does its best, most effective work along the jawline to resolve moderate skin laxity.
For meatier jawlines that can have the appearance of a double chin, a popular non-invasive option is Kybella, an injectable specifically developed to dissolve fat cells underneath the chin and slim the jawline profile. "Kybella is an alternative to superficial liposuction and only addresses superficial fat," explains New York City-based board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Levine, who cautions that while a non-invasive procedure is appealing to many, there are cons to consider.
"You never know how much of a reaction or result you're going to get with it because you're relying on the union of a drug and a person," he says. "Some people react wonderfully from it and get a great result and others won't." He adds that multiple injections are required, each with around 10 days of downtime, and reactions from each injection could vary.
Radio Frequency Treatments
"These work by heating the tissue from 39 to 41 degrees Celsius," Ross explains. "This will activate all of the growth factors and send them to the area being heated, resulting in more collagen and elastin, which will firm and tighten the skin. In my office, we use Venus Legacy for this treatment."
Ross recommends a plan of once a week for six weeks, and then six times a year afterwards to maintain results. There's also generally no downtime.
"These tightening treatments are considered a lifestyle treatment, so they're not permanent and you will continue to age," he shares. "They can range from $300 to $500 per treatment, but it's always a good idea to ask your provider if they can offer a package discount for purchasing multiple sessions at once."
Are There Surgical Options for More Permanent Results?
There are actually more than you may think!
Not widely known as a solution for a lackluster jaw, yet for the right candidate, a chin implant can help to sculpt the jawline. "If someone doesn't have a significantly projected chin, a small chin implant has a very, very powerful effect on the upper neck skin because you're using an implant to tighten the skin of the neck up by pulling that neck skin forward, while at the same time addressing some of the excess fat underneath," explains Manhattan-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Kolker.
"By changing the architecture of the neck, you're also [changing] the appearance of the jawline, right below the jawline and the upper neck for a slimmer, more contoured look."
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The surgical sister to the non-invasive Kybella is liposuction — but it's not your mother's, or maybe even your babysitter's, liposuction. Leaps in recent technology have allowed for the formerly intensive surgery to evolve into a more precise procedure, with a shorter surgery time and recovery. According to Levine, the ideal candidate is usually 50 years old or younger.
"The limitation of liposuction is how elastic someone's skin is because the best result relies on skin contraction," explains Levine. "When you remove volume from the neck in a patient that has good elasticity, you actually get the jaw to look more contoured, and that can happen with superficial liposuction, which is the more traditional liposuction, or with deep neck contouring, where you're removing deep fat to improve the upper neck and chin. And both of these types of lipo are less invasive than a traditional neck lift."
Jawline, Neck, or Facelift
For a patient with a fair amount of skin or neck excess, jowling and settling at the jawline and beneath the chin, the only valuable option is limited to a surgical solution. "As we age, our youthful, heart-shaped face and neck from the hairline down to the collarbones, becomes a trapezoid where the upper face loses volume, the lower face gains volume and becomes wider, making the jawline wider, and things tend to settle in the jawline region," Dr. Kolker says of our facial evolution.
"Patients wanting to restore that heart shape of youth and to really see a significant improvement in the neck area, are likely to be a candidate for a jawline, neck, or facelift, which is to take that jawline, clean it up, bring the soft tissues that descended into the jawline and put them back where they came from."
Surgical procedures sit squarely at the top of the aesthetics hierarchy in terms of risks, cost and commitment to overall recovery. Yet they are the golden standard for serious, durable results compared to nonsurgical alternatives that carrier fewer risks, but offer less pronounced, short-term results. What's right for you is all a matter of your own personal aesthetic and your vision for the ideal results.
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