Your cheeks lift your face and give you a beautiful smile. That is why once they start sagging, the appearance of your entire face changes.
Sagging cheeks can make your face look tired, less healthy, and older. Fortunately, there are both invasive and non-invasive ways to improve sagging cheeks.
Read ahead to learn about what causes sagging cheeks and the different tips and treatments you can use to improve them.
What causes sagging cheeks?
Aging is inevitable — and it shows on your face. Over time, your face loses its youthful firmness and elasticity, making it look droopy.
This happens primarily because as you get older, you lose a lot of the fat under your skin. This fat normally helps hold up your skin, making it look firm. When you start to lose the fat, the skin doesn’t have as much cushioning, making it look looser.
In addition, the collagen under your skin also starts to break down as you age. Collagen is a structural protein that gives your skin strength and elasticity, and the loss of this protein makes your cheeks sag.
Luckily, there is much you can do to age gracefully and improve sagging cheeks.
How can I improve sagging cheeks?
- Practice face exercises
Face exercises and face yoga can help tighten up your skin, especially if the sagging is in its early stages. Performing face exercises promotes the circulation of blood to your face, replenishing the oxygen and nutrient supply in facial muscles and skin.
- Add a retinoid to your skincare routine
Retinoids are vitamin A-based drugs that are applied to the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoid-based topical treatments increase the production of collagen, maintaining your skin’s elasticity.
It takes around 3 to 6 months to begin seeing results with retinoids, and the best results can take up to 6 to 12 months.
Retinoids are a good option to consider if your skin needs minimal treatment.
- Opt for dermal fillers
Dermal fillers are injected beneath the skin to diminish wrinkles and add volume to the skin. By injecting a gel-like substance into your cheeks, dermatologists can help lift your cheeks for months at a time.
Examples of dermal fillers include Juvederm and Voluma, both of which are hyaluronic acid based fillers. Hyaluronic acid attracts and retains moisture, causing the skin to plump up and look less saggy.
However, as the Victorian Cosmetic Institute suggests, you can expect some cheek swelling after getting a filler. This can last up to 4 weeks, so it’s important to time your treatment appropriately.
- Get a collagen stimulator
Collagen stimulators increase collagen production by injecting a substance such as poly-L-lactic acid into your skin.
Unlike dermal fillers, however, collagen stimulators do not add an external filler such as hyaluronic acid to the skin. Instead, they replenish the volume in your cheeks by stimulating production of your own collagen.
- Go for an ultrasound treatment
In an ultrasound treatment, a dermatologist uses ultrasound to send heat deep into your skin. This heat is meant to stimulate collagen production in your face.
Because it takes time for new collagen to be produced, results in skin tightening are expected within 2 to 6 months.
- Try a radiofrequency treatment
Just like an ultrasound treatment, a radiofrequency treatment entails heating the tissue inside your skin to stimulate collagen production.
It can take about 6 months to see results, and with the right skin care, these results can last up to 2-3 years.
- Choose a laser treatment
Laser treatments use lasers to send heat into the skin without causing any harm to the top layer of your skin.
As opposed to ultrasound and radiofrequency, which normally show results after the first treatment, you may need 3 to 5 treatments to see results with a laser.
Results start to appear slowly, typically between 2 to 6 months after the last treatment.
- Think about getting a fat grafting procedure
Fat grafting is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon removes small amounts of fat from other places in your body and transfers them to your face to restore the lost subcutaneous fat.
Fat is usually removed from the abdomen or thighs (where it won’t be missed very much) and inserted into targeted areas of the face — like cheeks — to plump them up.
- Consider getting a facelift
Facelift surgery is a great option for folks with moderate to severe sagging in their cheeks. A facelift surgery focusing on the cheeks, or a cheek lift, elevates the malar fat pad (the fat pad in the cheek), making the cheeks look less droopy and more full.
Although a more invasive procedure, a cheek lift gives longer lasting results than injectables and fillers.
- Talk to your dermatologist about cheek implants
Cheek implants are inserted into your face to make your cheeks fuller or enhance your cheekbones so that they no longer look saggy. While some implants can be removed, others gradually become part of the cheek structure.
Cheek implants come in three general shapes. Malar implants are inserted directly on the cheekbones, making them higher. Submalar cheekbones give you fuller cheeks by rounding out a sunken face. Combined implants both make the cheekbones higher and give you fuller cheeks.