5 Effective Jowl Treatment Options

By Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, MD September 19, 2018 No Comments

jowls treatments

Not many areas of the body show a person’s age more than the lower face. Natural aging causes the sleek contours of the chin and jawline to sag from loosening skin around the mouth and cheeks. This excess droopy skin that collects along the lower part of the face (specifically along the jawline and below the cheeks) is commonly referred to as the jowls.

There are several effective treatments to eliminate jowls. People who exhibit early stages of jowl formation can benefit from non-surgical procedures like laser skin tightening or dermal fillers, while others with more severe jowls may require surgical intervention.


Dermal fillers can be injected into the soft tissue of the skin to restore lost volume or fill in lines and wrinkles. Fillers can provide dramatic results without the pain and necessary recovery inherent in surgical procedures. To counteract the formation of jowls, fillers can be injected to lift both the cheeks and the skin around the jawline and mouth. One of the best fillers for treating jowls is Sculptra, since it instantly plumps the area where it is injected while simultaneously stimulating new collagen growth to provide a longer-term youthful appearing result. While the results are not permanent, many patients will enjoy a noticeable improvement for 1-2 years or longer.


Thermage is a non-invasive laser tightening treatment with the ability to re-contour the skin. Thermage transfers radiofrequency energy to the deep layers of the skin which firms up existing saggy collagen and elastin fibers while concurrently forcing the production of new collagen. Thermage is a great solution for younger patients who are in the early stages of jowl formation.


Similar to Thermage, Ultherapy is a non-surgical laser-based procedure with the ability to tighten and firm the skin through the stimulation of collagen production. However, Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to lift and tighten the skin. Many patients receive good clinical results with a single treatment, though some people who have a fair amount of laxity may benefit from more than one treatment. In one study, 70% of Ultherapy patients realized a significant improvement in the neck and jawline that continued to last months after their treatment.

Fraxel (CO2 Laser)

Fraxel Re:Pair is an ablative CO2 laser system that can actually reduce the amount of skin surface through two methods. First, the Fraxel Re:Pair laser ablates targeted tissue (vaporizing tiny columns of the skin). Secondly, the heat transferred during vaporization works to shrink the remaining skin while stimulating new collagen. While more invasive than fillers, Thermage, and Ultherapy, Fraxel Re:Pair and other CO2 systems offer quick and dramatic results as they have the power to reduce the volume of jowl-causing sagging skin within a single treatment.

Neck Lift

Neck lift surgery (platysmaplasty) is the most effective, but also most invasive, treatment for jowls. It may be the only option available to patients with severe jowls or substantial laxity. During a neck lift procedure, 1-inch incisions are made under the chin or behind the ears to the surgically remove excess skin and tighten loose muscles. Compared to other options, neck lifts provide the most dramatic and long-lasting result. However, they are also more expensive and require a longer recovery time.

Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, MD

Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, MD is a board certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon specializing in the practice of both cosmetic and medical dermatology. Dr. Geddes-Bruce is fellowship-trained in cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery. She served as Chief Resident at one of the nation’s top dermatology programs – The University of Texas at Houston and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

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