I get a lot of questions about how to get rid of sagging jowls and marionette lines. So here is a post that many of you have been waiting for. How to reduce them naturally, without any risky and artificial cosmetic procedures.
You’ll learn all about why jowls form and why marionette lines can become more prominent with age. And most importantly, how to prevent that and how to treat jowls and marionette lines (naturally) if they are already present.
This is what I’ll cover in today’s post. You can jump to any part by clicking on the headlines below.
- What do Jowls mean?
- Why do Jowls form?
- What are Marionette Lines?
- What causes Marionette Lines?
- Basic steps for anti aging
- Best Sagging Jowls treatment
- Best Marionette Lines treatment
- The treatments to be careful with
What do Jowls mean?
A jowl or jowls are terms that refer to sagging skin on your lower part of the face. Most often it describes loose skin that forms along your jawline, below your chin and at either side of the chin. But it also includes the bottom of your cheeks.
Jowls develop gradually with age. But both genetics and lifestyle factors determine how fast this will happen and to what degree. More about that in the next section.
Why do Jowls form?
Jowls are caused by many factors. And the overall three causes are loss of facial volume, loss of the skin building proteins collagen and elastin, and laxity of ligaments in the face. Together these factors will contribute to a drooping of the skin from the mid-face and down.
This downward development of the skin is a slow progress. And how pronounced it will become varies a lot from one person to another.
Genetics plays a role but so does your lifestyle. And several factors can cause jowls to appear much faster, even among young people. Smoking, too much sun exposure, and rapid weight loss are examples that can all contribute to getting jowls even at a young age.
For a more detailed overview of why jowls form, this section will explain them all.
Loss of facial volume
Just as with the formation of nasolabial folds, sagging jowls are also caused by loss of facial volume. And this is in turn caused by bone loss (yes we lose bone mass in our face too), fat loss (as well as redistribution of fat pads), and muscle loss.
As this atrophy slowly happens, the skin will fall downwards and start to sag. And how fast or slow this will happen depends on your genes and even more so on your lifestyle choices.
In my previous blog post about nasolabial folds, I go into much more details about how we lose facial volume. So I advise you to read that post too if you want to understand more of this part of aging.
I’ll get back to how we can prevent and slow down the loss of facial volume. And even rebuild volume by training our muscles.
Loss of the skin building proteins (Collagen and Elastin)
This is the part that you will hear most of when it comes to skin aging. And loss of collagen and elastin is indeed causing wrinkles and loss of elasticity. When it comes to the formation of sagging jowls it plays a role, even though volume loss is even more of a key factor.
Lifestyle factors play a huge role when it comes to how fast we will break down collagen and elastin. I will get back to this under treatments. But in short. UV-rays, not getting enough sleep, smoke, and nutrient deficiency will all make your skin lose these important proteins fast.
Tip: See my article about the 3 fundamental rules to delay aging and prevent wrinkles to learn more about this matter.
Laxity of facial ligaments
This is an issue that you also need to be aware of. Since laxity of facial ligaments are one of the big causes of sagging jowls for many people.
The ligaments in our face are fibrous connective tissue that either connect skin to bone, or soft tissue layers to each other. In other words, they play a crucial role in keeping everything in place and preventing gravity fall.
The ligaments are tight as we are young which keeps the skin firmly in place. But as the ligaments become elongated and lax, which happens with age. This will, in combination with the other causes above, result in a drop of the overlying skin. Or in other words, cause sagging skin and formation of jowls.
What are Marionette lines?
Marionette lines (also called puppet lines or oral commissure lines) are the specific lines that run from the outer corners of your mouth and down towards your chin.
They can be shallow or deepen as you age, and will contribute to an angry or sad-looking appearance. The reason they are called marionette lines is that they resemble the lines seen on marionette puppets.
Marionette lines progress with age but can start to appear in individuals as early as in their 20s or 30s. Depending on genetics and lifestyle. More of that below.
What causes marionette lines?
Marionette lines (puppet lines) are a result of not just the loss of collagen and elastin. But even more so the loss of facial volume. Meaning loss of fat, muscles and bone mass.
As this happens with age (and lifestyle factors), the skin starts to fall downwards and inwards. And the skin that collects at the chin is usually what causes the formation of marionette lines.
Another factor that can contribute to marionette lines is an overactive Depressor Anguli Oris muscle (DAO). What this means is that constant frowning of your mouth can cause lines from the corners of your mouth and down. And with time, as elasticity decreases, these marionette lines can also become permanent.
Something else to be aware of is that sleeping in certain positions can, over time, worsen the puppet lines. Just as the case with nasolabial folds.
Make sure you get your beauty sleep. But train how to sleep on your back if you’re a side or stomach sleeper. It will save your face in the long run.
So now that we’ve covered the causes of sagging jowls and puppet lines. Let’s discuss how to prevent and reduce them.
The following sections will give you a plan for jowls- and marionette lines treatment that is safe, natural, and effective.
Basic steps for anti aging
I have made a more detailed overview of these basic anti aging steps in my previous article about nasolabial folds. So check that out if you haven’t already. But I will give you a short summary here as well.
These are the basic steps that you need to incorporate into your life, regardless if you are young and want to be preventative. Or if you are struggling with sagging jowls and marionette lines already.
They will not make any huge improvements if you are having problems already. But they will make sure to slow down the process of getting worse jowls and marionette lines. So let’s briefly mention them before we move on.
Firstly, wear sunscreen every single day of the year. Since UV-rays are the single factor that ages your skin the most.
Secondly, never ever smoke (of course) and get your beauty sleep as often as you possibly can. Because cigarette smoke destroys your collagen and elastin and speeds up skin aging. While getting enough sleep will enhance the production of these proteins and make your skin younger and firmer.
Thirdly, eat more fruits and vegetables and stay far away from refined sugar and other junk food. This article will advise on what foods and nutrition you need every single day to preserve your skin and increase elasticity.
Lastly, use mild but effective skincare products. They will make a subtle difference when it comes to already apparent jowls and puppet lines. But combined with the other measurements above they do have an effect especially when it comes to prevention.
I recommend you read my previous post for a summary of all the products I use myself. Or search for the individual posts under categories in the menu.
So now that we’ve talked about the basic anti aging measurements, let’s go over how to tackle sagging jowls and marionette lines specifically.
Best Sagging Jowls treatment
As mentioned earlier, sagging jowls are mostly caused by a decline of facial volume. Now loss of collagen and elastin does matter too (and in the section above you can learn how to avoid that). And so does ligaments that become lax (and I’ll get back to this).
But this major cause is what I will focus on here. How to prevent and treat a decrease of facial volume. Which happens due to bone atrophy, muscle atrophy, and fat atrophy.
These measurements are exactly the same as my guide in my previous post about nasolabial folds. And I suggest you read that post too since it all hangs together.
First of all. Make sure to avoid rapid weight loss and weight fluctuations in general. Because that can cause a breakdown of your facial fat and contribute quite a lot to drooping skin and sagging jowls.
To prevent bone loss in your face as much as possible, I suggest you make sure to get enough calcium, vitamin K2, vitamin D, and magnesium in your diet. And also (again) avoid too much dieting since that can contribute to accelerated degradation of your bones.
Tip: My post about facial bone loss will go into much more detail about how to prevent osteoporosis in your face.
With that said, let’s move over to the exciting treatment method that will help even more with not just preventing sagging jowls. But also to some degree reverse it. A treatment that will build more volume naturally and tighten your skin long term.
Keep reading and learn about microcurrent. My favorite treatment option!
Microcurrent is an amazing kind of treatment that strengthens your muscles and restores volume in your face. As well as tighten your skin since in the face, the skin is directly attached to your muscles. It also increases blood circulation and gives you a fantastic glow.
I’ve been doing this treatment myself for about a year. And I cannot say enough how much I love it! Of all the facials I have tried, this is the only one I now lay my effort on.
If you remember from the sections above, loss of muscle mass is one main factor when it comes to aging and sagging skin (along with fat loss and bone loss). And also one reason why I would never do Botox myself (this post explains more).
By using microcurrent you can instead restore loss of volume and counteract sagginess.
Let’s go a bit deeper into this technology.
What is microcurrent?
Microcurrent is a very low-level current that mimics our natural current within our bodies. When used as facial treatments it stimulates and trains our facial muscles. Which means that over time they will get stronger and restore volume.
Also, as mentioned above, the skin in your face is directly connected to the facial muscles. So as the muscles are trained, the tightness of your skin will improve. And you will get almost like a natural face lift.
For these reasons, microcurrent is a super exciting technology when it comes to anti aging! It gives both direct and long term results with toning, lifting, and contouring.
For treating sagging jowls, microcurrent should be used especially on your cheek area and along your jawline, as well as your neck. This will lift and tighten the skin as the muscles grow stronger.
Now, that’s not all. Microcurrent does something more. It also increases production of something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). And this in turn will increase the production of both collagen and elastin.
In other words, microcurrents don’t just increase muscle volume and skin tightness. But it also makes the skin smoother and more elastic, thanks to the extra boost of these skin structural proteins.
In other words. Using microcurrent will improve your skin even more over time.
Lastly, let’s go back to the issue about laxicity of ligaments in the face. Well guess what? Microcurrent does help to strengthen those ligaments. And since stronger ligaments will keep our tissues in place, that will help even more with jowls and sagging skin in general.
Just be aware that this is a natural treatment and it does take time give best result (just like going to the gym). You have to do microcurrent treatments consistently.
Where do I find microcurrent?
*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.
You’ll have two options here. Either you see if you have any good salons in your area that offer these treatments. Or else you buy your own microcurrent device and do treatments on yourself regularly.
Salon treatments will have the benefit of offering stronger treatments, and faster results. But the at-home devices have the benefits of being a lot less expensive. As well as giving you a better opportunity to be consistent with the treatment. And consistency is key here.
If you can, you can always combine salon treatments with home treatments.
Where I live, salons offering microcurrent are extremely rare. If you live in the US you have a lot more to choose from. With that said, I only go for the home treatment devices and have tried several of them.
I have a blog post exclusively about microcurrent, where I include a review of the devices I use myself. So definitely read that one.
But to start with, if you’re new. I would definitely recommend you try either the device called ZIIP, or the device called The Nuface.
They are both super simple to use, which is very important. Because you will need to be consistent in order to see good results.
You find Nuface on this site, where you’ll also see reviews from other people. I have the ELE attachment too, which is amazing for the eye area.
With the Nuface you also get a money-back guarantee so you can try it out risk-free for 60 days.
The ZIIP is found on this site. And you get a 20 % discount when using my code ‘annziip’ (almost 100$ off).
I personally think the ZIIP gives me the best results when it comes to jowls and marionette lines. The device has just a program exclusively called “Jowls” and that target that specific concern. It has made a huge difference in the tightness of that area and has changed the corners of my mouth to point upwards instead of downwards.
I suggest you see my post about ZIIP vs Nuface to learn more about these two devices. And to see which might be your best choice.
Best Marionette Lines treatment
So now that we’ve talked about the best treatment for sagging jowls in general. Can that be applied as the best marionette lines treatment as well?
Definitely yes. Since the biggest issue with marionette lines (puppet lines) is sagging skin, loss of volume, and gravity. You will see great results by applying all the tips regarding sagging jowls.
The main treatment I recommend for volume loss and sagging skin is microcurrent. Since it will indeed help with giving the face an overall lift and the skin an increased tightness.
But, for some people, there is also another cause that can need to be addressed when it comes to marionette lines. Because these puppet lines can also become apparent (even among young people) due to an overactive depressor anguli oris muscle.
That is the muscle that pulls the corner of your mouth downwards. It might be that you are frowning while working, or even while talking. And if that’s the case with you, then this needs some attention.
If you are getting marionette lines (puppet lines) due to a lot of frowning of your mouth. Then you simply need to retrain your muscles to relax more often.
Another option is using botox but I certainly do not recommend that since it only gives a temporary result. And at the same time, if used over time, it causes muscle atrophy. Which is something you want to work against if you want a younger-looking face. This post explains more if you are interested.
So how do you train your muscles to not give you that frowning of your mouth? Well, I have had this problem myself and I tell you it isn’t easy. But it is worth putting in the effort!
Start by being aware of when you are frowning your mouth. Is it when you look at your phone? When you are working on the computer? When you are watching TV? Or all of it? Ask a friend/colleague/spouse to help you out.
Then start reprogramming your brain and muscles to relax. And the best way to do that is to place a mirror in front of you in these situations. For example on your working desk.
Make sure you place the mirror so that you can watch yourself easily and then lay an eye on the mirror every 5 minutes, to begin with. When you see yourself frowning then simply relax your mouth. For as long as you can. And then keep checking yourself in the mirror as often as possible in the beginning. I promise this will help!
When it comes to scrolling on your phone, It may not be easy to have a mirror handy. But instead, try this. Instead of looking down, raise your phone as if you are taking a selfie, and keep it there. That position will make you more alert on your facial expressions. And will save your neck from injuries too.
And finally, if you are having a bad habit of pulling one of your corners downwards while talking on the phone. Either look at yourself in the mirror while talking. Or look at yourself in the camera app of your phone during the conversation.
These tips are also great if you are having problems with unconscious and excessive frowning of your eyebrows. Since that can contribute to the so-called eleven over time.
And something else to really pay attention to. Just as with nasolabial folds, marionette lines can worsen too if you sleep on your stomach or on your side. So try to learn back sleeping, it will save your face in the long run.
The treatments to be careful with
There are many procedures out there that are heavily marketed as effective jowls and marionette lines treatments. Some more risky and artificial than others.
As you may know I advocate natural beauty for several reasons. And in this section, I will explain a few things that you need to know if you are considering some of the most common treatment options that you can find out there.
Injecting fillers, especially the so-called temporary fillers, is a common procedure to disguise jowls and marionette lines (puppet lines).
The fillers are either injected to lift the cheeks and/or the skin around the jawline. Or injected to fill out the puppet lines directly. Most often a combination is used.
So why is this a bad idea?
Well, even though you can get a temporary lifting effect. Over time, filling your face with more and more fillers, especially in the lower part of the face, will only worsen the problem. The skin will become heavier and more sagging.
Another problem besides making the skin heavier is that fillers can stretch out the skin. And therefore speed up the aging process. They can also interfere with your natural fat pads.
In short, there is indeed a short-term disguising effect from fillers. But they will not be good for your skin in the long run and can actually age you faster.
I did mention that an overactive depressor anguli oris muscle, causing you to frown your mouth a lot and often, can contribute to the formation of marionette lines.
For this, you may be offered botox since the neurotoxin will paralyze that muscle. But even if that could give you a short term solution, I would suggest you stay away from it.
Botox does come with some side effects (you can read about all the risks and side effects in this post). And one of them is that if used over time it will cause your muscles to atrophy. Leading to volume loss and even more sagging of the skin. As well as thinning of the skin.
Botox around the mouth can also cause a so-called joker face. And make you look very unnatural. So be careful is you are considering botox as a marionette lines treatment.
Lasers, Micro-needling, and Microdermabrasion
These treatments are used for skin resurfacing on different degrees. They can help with skin texture, improve collagen production, and help improve wrinkles such as crows feet, forehead wrinkles, and smokers lines.
But, none of these methods will provide an effective jowls- and marionette lines treatment. Because they will do nothing for volume loss. And not much for the overall sagginess that causes jowls, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines (puppet lines).
Summary – how to naturally reduce Jowls and Marionette lines
I know this is a long post, with tons of information. So I suggest you read it more than once. But if you just want the quick version. Here is a summarize of the natural steps to prevent and treat sagging jowls and marionette lines.
This all-natural and safe method will increase volume in your face and tighten the skin. Both short term and long term. Microcurrent also helps strengthen ligaments which will furthermore prevent drooping of skin tissues.
2) Use sunscreen every single day of the year
UV-damage will cause a rapid breakdown of collagen and elastin. As well as facial fat. Which will all contribute to the formation of sagging jowls and puppet lines.
3) Eat smart
Eat loads of carotenoid-rich foods (colorful fruits and vegetables) that increase skin elasticity. As well as foods that promote strong bones (make sure you get enough vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K2, and magnesium). Also be generous with vitamin C rich foods (again, fruits and vegetables) for healthy collagen production. And eat enough food to avoid rapid weight loss. My post about diet plan for tighter skin explains more.
4) Sleep smart
Prioritize your beauty sleep to boost your collagen and elastin production. But also make sure to sleep on your back. Side sleeping and stomach sleeping can increase the risk of making your marionette lines deeper.
5) Use good skincare products – but know they will only help imperceptibly with jowls and marionette lines
They can still help with overall skin health though, especially when combined with the other methods. And should therefore always be part of an anti aging regimen. Use mild but effective products and always include an antioxidant serum daytime and retinol serum night time if you can tolerate it. See my previous posts about products for more tips.
6) Be aware if you are constantly frowning your mouth. And if so, train yourself to relax in those situations. See my tips under Best Marionette Lines treatment.
So there you have my best natural ways to reduce and prevent sagging jowls and marionette lines (puppet lines).
Just remember that improving your skin and muscles takes time. Just as your jowls and marionette lines didn’t emerge overnight.
You will need to be patient and consistent. And the reward is a natural result that will also prevent further aging of your face.
If you have any questions unanswered, let me know in the comments.
Until next time, love your skin!