How to improve jowls and double chins, and achieve a more youthful, tighter jawline

Many people find they start to develop a sagging jawline as they get older. Discover the best solutions, from cosmetic surgery to dermal fillers.

Losing definition at the jaw and chin is natural as you age. Mr Anthony Fitton, a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon who works at Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital says, "This is caused by movement and loss of soft tissue in the face".

As we age, pockets of fat move downwards from the cheek area to the lower face. At the same time, you are also likely to lose fat and bone in certain areas at the jawline, such as either side of the chin. Skin also naturally loses elasticity with age.

As the cheeks become thinner and flatter, skin that was once plumped out by fat can appear to sag at the jawline and also under the chin. This all contributes to the look of jowliness. Fat may also accumulate at and under the chin, creating a double chin.

While many non-surgical treatments are available to improve skin quality, Mr Fitton says results may be disappointing. "It is very difficult to deal with jowling without surgery," he says.

"A facelift is probably the best answer as it can lift tissue and tighten up loose skin at the same time." A neck lift may be performed at the same time to sharpen the angle between the chin and the neck.

A double chin, especially in younger people who aren’t very overweight, can be treated with liposuction alone, provided the skin is still elastic enough to bounce back after surgery. This treatment sucks out excess fat via a small incision.

"Generally, if you are under fifty, your skin will have enough elasticity to tighten up after liposuction. However, after this age, you may be left with sagging skin after fat has been removed. A surgeon will be able to advise you on your suitability for this procedure."

After liposuction you can experience swelling for six weeks or more, and you may also suffer bruising. You will need to wear an elasticated chin strap 24 hours a day for ten days and then at night for a further two weeks.

Some doctors use injectable dermal fillers to smooth out an irregular jawline, where jowling is caused by loss of tissue in small areas either side of the chin. Mr Marc Pacifico, a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon who works at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital says, "In mild cases, dermal fillers can create a smoother jawline quickly with no downtime. But results are temporary, lasting up to 18 months."

Last updated Wednesday 6 June 2018

First published on Monday 24 August 2015