In humans, jowls are excess or saggy skin on the neck, just below the jawline and chin. Almost everyone develops at least minor jowls as they age and their skin becomes less elastic.
Several factors, including heredity, stress, repetitive facial habits, and lifestyle choices, can cause more pronounced jowls at almost any age.
In this article, learn about exercises and treatments to get rid of jowls, as well as how to help prevent them.
Though several factors are known to increase the likelihood and severity of jowls, their ultimate cause is aging.
As the skin ages, it starts to lose some of the compounds that help keep its shape, specifically fat and the connective tissue proteins elastin and collagen.
The skin also tends to become drier and thinner, making it more difficult to maintain its form. As the skin becomes less resilient and full, it becomes more vulnerable to gravity and slowly begins to sag.
Sagging skin around the cheeks and mouth falls to the area around the chin and jawline, creating jowls.
Risk factors for jowls include:
- history of sunburn
- excessive or chronic alcohol use
- chronic or severe dehydration
- chronic or severe stress
- diets low in antioxidants, healthful fats, and other essential nutrients
- habits or expressions that overuse the cheek, mouth, and jaw muscles, such as frowning, chewing gum, and talking on the cell phone for a long time
- skin allergens, ranging from air pollution to cosmetics
- poor skin hygiene
- lack of exercise
- cleansing the skin too aggressively
- physical trauma or injury to the facial and jaw muscles and skin
- a family history of jowls
- extreme or rapid weight loss
- severe or chronic illness