One of the most prominent signs of aging is sunken cheeks. And even more so when the whole cheek area starts to droop and sagging cheeks are starting to arise.
This post will explain why this happens, how to prevent it, and even (to a certain degree) reverse it if it has started to happen to you. So that you can get back more of your youthful chubby cheeks and look your best.
And as you may know, I only advocate natural beauty, without knives, cosmetic injections, and other artificial methods that try to disguise aging. I prefer to work authentically to make my face and skin younger. And want to help you do the same.
So to set the expectations straight. This post is not about trying to make you look like you’re 15 again. Nor is it about trying to achieve cheeks that are disproportionate to the rest of your face (and against the nature of your beauty). Rather it’s about making the best of what you have.
I will give you all my tips and knowledge about how to naturally get fuller and more youthful cheeks. And everything I teach in this blog are methods that have worked for me and that is backed up by science. So let’s get started!
This is what I’ll cover:
- Sunken cheeks meaning
- Hollow cheeks
- Sunken cheekbone
- Sagging cheeks
- Causes of sunken cheeks
- How to treat sunken cheeks
- How to get chubby cheeks naturally
- What about chubby cheeks with fillers/fat transfer?
*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission if you purchase through any of those links. It doesn’t cost you any extra and I only recommend products I truly love and use myself. You can read my full disclosure here.
Sunken cheeks meaning
The meaning of sunken cheeks differs slightly among people. But overall, the definition of it is cheeks that have fallen inwards. Quite the opposite of the plump chubby cheeks that are associated with youth.
To be more clear about what sunken cheeks really mean, it is usually a combination of these three distinctive descriptions:
Hollow cheeks is an expression for when there is a lack of tissue between the cheekbone and the lower jawbone. This volume loss will cause an indent in that area.
Fatloss is a common cause of this indent. And it is common even among younger people if they diet a lot. Or have certain illnesses (see below).
Sunken cheekbones mean that either the actual bone has lost some of its volume, or the surrounding fat and muscle tissue have atrophied. Which gives a more overall flat appearance of your cheeks.
When the cheekbones become flatter, the skin will also start to doop. Which will contribute to the appearance of sagging cheeks (explained below).
Sagging cheeks is referring to the skin itself. And a sagging appearance of the skin in the cheek area.
As explained above, a big cause of these drooping cheeks is sunken cheekbones. In other words, loss of volume around the cheekbone area. The skin becomes looser as a result, but loss of collagen and elastin plays a role too (which I’ll also come back to)
As said, when we talk about sunken cheeks, it is usually a combination of these three attributes.
Causes of sunken cheeks
There are several reasons why we lose the chubby cheeks we once had. And get a more sunken and flattened appearance. This section will explain these reasons in more detail.
The most obvious reason for getting sunken cheeks is aging. As we get older we lose subcutaneous fat from certain areas of the face, making us lose volume in our face. This volume loss is aggravated by loss of muscle mass and bone mass.
Tip: My post about facial bone loss will go into detail about how to preserve strong bones in your face.
On top of this, we also lose the powerful production of collagen and elastin we once had as young. Which leads to less firmness of the skin.
Illness and lifestyle habits
Sunken cheeks, especially the so-called hollow cheeks, can in some cases be an expression of a serious illness. Such as HIV or tuberculosis.
Malnutrition from a lifestyle with strict dieting can be another cause. As well as anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders.
If you’re a heavy smoker, that can put you at risk of developing sunken cheeks too.
How to treat sunken cheeks
First of all, if you’re experiencing sunken cheeks due to any illness, this needs to be treated. Seek medical help if you have any concerns about your health.
Possible malnutrition and eating disorders need to be treated too. And I recommend you see both a medical professional as well as a dietician (or well-renowned nutritionist). If you are underweight you will need to gain weight again to regain youthful and fuller cheeks.
Tip: For more advice on what foods you need for optimal skin health, see my post about foods that can help tighten skin.
With that said. When sunken cheeks are a result of aging, then start with some important measurements as soon as possible. The actions listed below will not just help prevent the condition from getting worse. They will also reverse the process (to a certain degree).
1 – Eat enough fat, protein, and carbohydrates. All these macronutrients will help you get healthy cheeks and cheek muscles. You do not want to go on a strict diet and limit the intake of any of these.
2 – Make sure to prevent any bone atrophy. Eat plenty of leafy greens and vegetables, take your vitamin D supplement as well as vitamin K2. And incorporate muscle training of your face (see below).
3 – Eat as many carotenoid-rich foods as possible. These micronutrients are proven to increase elasticity (by increasing collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid) and make your skin more plump. See this post to learn more.
4 – Start with rebuilding your facial muscles with the help of microcurrent or facial exercises. Which I’ll get back to under the section about how to get chubby cheeks.
5 – Make sure you get your beauty sleep every night. A deficiency of sleep will hinder your production of collagen and elastin (promoting sagging cheeks). As well as the production of hyaluronic acid, which can leave your skin dehydrated and more flaccid.
See my post on how to sleep better for your skin. And my post about how to increase your natural hyaluronic acid production for more plump skin. Those will help you get a more healthy complexion in general.
Tip: For more advice on how to treat sagging cheeks in particular, I recommend you read my post about nasolabial folds and saggy skin.
How to get chubby cheeks naturally
Plump, rounded cheeks give most faces a youthful and healthy look. While sagging cheeks often indicate aging and or illness. Here is the list of what you need to do to achieve fuller cheeks.
As mentioned above, you need to avoid any kind of strict dieting (unless you’re overweight) if you want to achieve natural chubby cheeks.
Dieting will put you at risk of malnutrition. And a lack of calories (energy) will also put you at risk of depleting your facial tissues of the energy they need. Leading to atrophy and sagging cheeks.
Start with microcurrent
Microcurrent is an amazing technology that helps strengthen your facial muscles, increase firmness, and a lot more.
If you haven’t read my post about microcurrent yet, I warmly recommend you to do so.
To specifically work on the cheeks to get them fuller and more youthful. Simply use your microcurrent device consistently around the cheek area. Microcurrent will stimulate your muscles to grow stronger and larger over time. And it will also have positive effects on your bones. Helping them to preserve their strength and volume for longer.
I am in love with microcurrent. It has definitely been a game-changer for me when it comes to turning back the clock of my face. It has not just helped with plumper fuller cheeks (and less nasolabial folds and marionette lines as a result). But it has also been incredible for my hooded eyes (which you can read about in this post).
For training and plumping my cheeks, I personally love to use my ZIIP (use my code ziipwithann for 20 % off)). But other devices that I have and find good as well are my Nuface Trinity, and my Myolift mini (use my code ayoungerskin for 5 % off).
I have recently started to use my ZIIP more often though because I feel it gives more results, in a shorter time. And it has some other advantages too. You can read my full comparison of ZIIP vs Nuface if you want to learn more.
You can also see my in-depth post about microcurrent to learn more about this technology and my devices.
Finally, I also want to mention that there is a new device on the market called Foreo Bear, that I am not very fond of. It simply does not give the result that the other devices do. And I have a separate post about it here.
If you do not want to try microcurrent, or cannot afford it. Then definitely start with a facial exercise regimen.
One small study has shown that participants who did 30 minutes of facial exercises every day for 8 weeks, all achieved fuller cheek volume. As well as firmer and younger-looking faces.
I personally prefer microcurrent over doing facial exercises (or facial yoga). Since I want to be sure I am targeting my muscles as efficiently as possible. And get the maximum results. Microcurrent also has other advantages for the skin, all explained in this post.
Don’t waste time on treatments that won’t do anything for fuller cheeks
There are a lot of misleading information out there. Since anyone can write just about anything.
So you might see advice about using different creams and serums, aloe vera, shea butter, etc. to get chubby cheeks. But everything that you put on topically will help only slightly (at its best) with the texture of your skin. But do absolutely nothing to the fullness and volume of your cheeks.
Using creams and serums, and different kind of home remedy mixtures cannot help treat sunken cheeks either.
You may also see the suggestion of doing a facial massage. But that treatment will not increase the fullness of your cheeks either. Even though it is a great treatment for other purposes, such as increased blood circulation and improved lymphatic flow. That can help you get healthier skin overall.
What about chubby cheeks with fillers/fat transfer?
Since I know there is a lot of marketing for fillers (cosmetic injections) and fat transfer (cosmetic surgery) as methods to achieve chubby cheeks. I wanted to say a few words about these methods.
Using dermal fillers, such as the so-called temporary fillers with hyaluronic acid, does not come risk-free. And you can read all about the risks and side effects in this blog post.
But also, injecting fillers into your face, especially in the cheek area, has been shown to cause something called filler fatigue. And this phenomenon means the skin will be stretched out and become looser. Which will increase aging.
On top of that, fillers will make your skin heavier with time, leading to more sagging, drooping, and nasolabial folds.
When it comes to fat transfer (meaning a plastic surgeon does a fat grafting from a certain part of your body and injects it into your cheeks). Some of the risks are discoloration at the treatment site, scars, embolism, as well as a distorted look.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I personally advocate natural methods to keep the face and skin as young as possible. Methods that make me feel authentic and real. And that truly slow down aging, instead of disguising it.
If you choose to take another path, just make sure you know all the risks and side effects of the procedure you chose. Do your research carefully and include research about the doctor.
Let’s give a brief summary on how to get chubby cheeks naturally. And consequently treat and prevent sunken cheeks.
- Never go on a diet (unless you’re are overweight). Make sure to get enough protein and fats, but also carbohydrates every day.
- If you have any illnesses make sure you treat them accordingly.
- If you think you might have any malnutrition, see a dietician or well-renowned nutritionist.
- Avoid sagging skin by using sunscreen every day and eat a diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables. The carotenoids in these foods are proven to increase elasticity in the skin. Which counteracts sagging cheeks.
- Make sure to get enough calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D for strong healthy bones.
- Use microcurrent regularly. This will plump up your muscles, making them larger and stronger, and more vital. Which will also have a tightening effect on your skin
- Microcurrent will also boost your production of collagen and elastin, for long term tighter and thicker skin. And will also help preserve bone mass and for fuller cheekbones for longer.
- Any serums, face masks, olive oil, rose water, aloe vera, shea butter, facial massage, or other skin care products or home remedies will not help you get fuller cheeks.
That’s it! Hope you found this post useful for learning how to get chubby cheeks and prevent the sunken cheeks that are associated with aging. If you have any questions or own experiences, please let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, love your skin!
This Post Has 28 Comments
I appreciate this post. Thank you for sharing each of these tips.
You’re very welcome 🙂
very helpful! really enjoying your tips to get naturally younger skin!
Thank you Jeannie!
I always learn so much from your posts. I had no idea about the distinction between hollow, sunken and sagging cheeks. Thanks for this great post on fixing sunken cheeks!
Thank you so much, and you’re very welcome 🙂
I will try to avoid dieting if I can, but I do like to watch my calorie intake. Other than that, I think I’ll try using my cheek muscles by smiling a lot and getting more sleep. Thanks for the tips about how to get fuller cheeks.
You’re very welcome Lisa 🙂
Interesting post. Looking older than you are is definitely not something I want. I have to say you are glowing in your photos!
Thank you so much, Julia! 🙂
Thank you for this post! How would you suggest using nuface to get plumper cheeks, what face lines is better to massage ? As I saw on youtube some people use microcurrent to get the the opposite result-make sunken cheeks.
Hi Tanya! I work with the advanced techniques on the cheekbones. Where I place the probes more vertically over the cheekbone, like hugging the cheekbones. I hold for 1-2 beeps and then move a little bit, and do that over the whole cheekbone. I also like to go horizontally from the jawline (or below) slowly and up to the cheeks where I hold for a while. And you can do this several times 🙂 Another movement is to lift and hold the device vertically above the jawline. Just as with the cheekbones but further down.
Not sure what you mean about the massage? And no, microcurrent cannot give sunken cheeks. It will add volume (by plumping the muscles short term and training them long term). But, maybe they mean that by getting larger cheekbone muscles they get larger contrast towards the lower cheeks. In other words a more sculptured look. Which is positive and not the same as sunken cheeks even if they call it that :).
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome 🙂
Thank you so much for the tips Ann. Can you please share a video of nuface microcurrent facial for sunken cheeks?
You’re very welcome Smeca! For nuface videos I suggest the ones that you find on the nuface website. Look for the advanced techniques since those give the best result 🙂 Also, I have just updated this post since I now found ZIIP to be even better for plumping the cheeks. The company has released new programs that I find superior. But if you have Nuface already, make sure to try their advanced techniques.
I love how you included a tidbit about diet! Diet is so important for everything in our lives including how our facial features look!
Thank you Julianne! Yes it sure it 🙂
These are great tips! Thank you for sharing. I used to dislike my chubby cheeks but reading this is encouraging that they will help prevent my looking old too soon.
Thank you Shea! Yes they sure will 🙂
very useful info,thanks for sharing. i have an illness,known as thyroiditis which made me lose quite some weight and my cheeks are really sunken. i hope these tips are gonna help me look just a bit healthier.
Thank you Astrid! And sorry to hear about your illness. I hope you recover well! <3
I noticed my cheeks are sagging. I never thought there was anything that could be done. Thanks for these tips and ideas!
You’re very welcome Lisa ❤️
This is such a helpful post, thank you! I love how you went into so much detail. Also loving the graphics, girl, you are glowing!!
Thank you so much Karen! 🙂