We know jawlines are trending big right now, but our obsession with facial reshaping is nothing new. Cosmetic enhancements to the lower face have been in vogue as far back as the 1950s, when as her medical records suggest, a Hollywood contract player named Marilyn Monroe secretly sought a plastic surgeon for fat grafting and a cartilage implant to correct “mild flatness” in her chin. Using the excuse that she had cut her face, the young starlet took time off to recover away from prying eyes before her next screen test. Today, jawline reshaping is no longer a hush-hush endeavor, with an increasing array of new treatment options that make it easier than ever to strengthen a weakened chin, tighten jowls and give the lower face a sleeker, more well-defined look.
A proportional jawline evokes a more youthful and harmonic face, says Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD. “It is the vital transition point between the face and the neck and the foundation for a beautiful neckline, which is an area that tends to show aging first and is often the most difficult area to make look naturally youthful. A nicely defined jawline is independent of gender or race, with a well-defined outline framing the very nature of a beautiful face.”
Celebrity aesthetician Joanna Czech typically starts a jawline treatment by opening up the spine because this is where all of the nerves responsible for opening up the front of the body are located. “To do this at home, you can manually massage the back of your neck, scalp, shoulders, and even your lower spine. Use a facial massage tool for the frontal area, to lift your cheeks, and along the jawline. Then use a microcurrent device, and finish by applying a lifting and firming mask.”
Going viral on social media in the last year, mewing is a technique that was invented by a British orthodontist and involves placing the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth to reshape your face and sharpen your jawline. “Mewing claims to influence the orthognathic shape of the mouth,” says New York facial plastic surgeon Edward S. Kwak, MD. “However, there isn’t a lot of concrete data that proves its long-term efficacy.”
So what does work? West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth R. Beer, MD participated in the clinical trials for the latest chin filler treatments and says combining injectables will give patients the best outcome. In addition to adding filler to the chin for projection, he also uses microdoses of neurotoxin and filler to give the jawline a more streamlined look. “Many of my patients come in because they have jowling in their lower face or fullness underneath their chin,” he says. Neurotoxin, used off-label, can slenderize the face when injected into the masseter muscles. “This prevents the nighttime teeth grinding that causes them to bulk up,” he adds. “For excess fat under the chin, CoolSculpting or Kybella can significantly reduce it.
”Arcadia, CA plastic surgeon Arthur Y. Yu, MD says that when using neurotoxin injections, the doctor must be careful not to over-slim. “It’s important that the masseteric muscle tissue along the jawline should not be slimmed down too thin, or you could end up with a total loss of jawline definition. It’s important to seek an experienced injector.”
Adding volume can help create a focal end point in the lower face. “A weaker chin shortens the horizontal length of the jawline,” says Dr. Kwak. “By projecting the chin forward, that length is increased, giving it added definition.” Hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvéderm Voluma and Restylane Defyne were recently FDA-approved for use in the chin. However, the longest-lasting and most cost- effective fix for a recessed chin is an implant, which has been used since the 1940s.
New in jawline treatments is the use of long-lasting sutures to give the area a subtle lift. “Thread lifts to the lower face, jawline and upper neck create an inversion of aging changes to the area,” Dr. Few explains. Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby adds that a new minimally invasive device called MyEllevate, which uses a light-guided cannula to thread sutures into the skin to lift the neck and jawline, is also showing promising results. “It uses a semipermanent suture to elevate the lower face without creating incisions. It’s not the same as the thread lifts we’ve seen over the last few years, as these are said to last longer.” MyEllevate says its sutures last up to five to seven years, but currently there is no published data to confirm their efficacy.
Nonsurgical radio frequency can help tighten lax skin for a sleeker appearance. “Evoke is a radio-frequency treatment placed on the head that remodels skin and tissue on the cheeks, neck and jawline,” Dr. Beer explains. “Microneedling with radio frequency can also help improve skin elasticity.”
“FaceTite and NeckTite use radio frequency to melt fat and tighten skin,” adds Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon Sachin S. Parikh, MD. “It’s minimally invasive and uses a probe inserted under the skin, which helps with tissue retraction, as well as fat reduction along the neck and jawline.”
A new device, Sofwave, delivers a gentler ultrasound treatment than what we’ve seen in the past, says San Diego dermatologist Arisa Ortiz, MD: “It uses ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen remodeling, which thickens skin and firms the jawline. It also has built-in cooling to provide for a more comfortable experience.”
The ultimate solution for a sharper jawline involves surgery, which gives more dramatic, longer-lasting results. “Neck liposuction alone is a great option for patients who have moderate excess neck fat,” notes Dr. Kwak.
“When we liposuction underneath the chin and neck, all of the entry points are hidden so no visible scars can be seen,” says Dr. Yu. “For the midface, I’ll often perform a cheek reduction to remove buccal fat and reduce fullness, which improves the contours of the jawline and helps emphasize the cheekbones.”
Dr. Parikh, who performs every surgery with his partner, facial plastic surgeon David Lieberman, MD, says a necklift combined with a mini- or lower facelift will address all of the lifting, tightening and excess fat concerns at once: “A lower facelift and a necklift together will tighten the neck and sculpt subcutaneous tissue under the chin. When performed together, they firm the platysma muscle, eliminate unwanted fat and tighten skin.”
Dr. Kwak agrees and says he recommends a lower facelift to patients who haven’t seen the results they wanted via nonsurgical means. “It directly addresses the muscles that are responsible for the jowls and loss of jawline as we age.”
Use these tools at home for a more defined and chiseled lower face.
Firmer, tighter skin is the goal and this daily treatment uses kangaroo paw flower extract to help boost collagen and elastin production. The honey locust seed extract in the formula contains polysaccharides, which help to smooth skin.
Working in an upward motion, use a facial tool to define the jawline with a daily facial massage that will help reinvigorate the area and stimulate a healthy glow.
111SKIN Contour Firming Mask ($150)
This overnight mask blends hyaluronic acid with a pro-collagen and lifting and firming complexes, while diamond peptides work to strengthen the skin’s barrier.
Made specifically for the face, neck and jawline, this lightweight multifunctional device targets the signs of aging using microcurrent technology and LED light, galvanic and thermal therapy.
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