Cheeks are an important component of a person’s facial features and can be used to create balance in the face. When cheek volume is lost, or cheekbones become prominent, it may indicate underlying health issues such as malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, immune system problems, or more.
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If you want to avoid cheek sagging altogether, there are some things you should know about what causes them and how they can be treated naturally and professionally.
What are Sagging Cheeks?
When people age, cheek volume is lost. This contributes to a sagging appearance in the cheek area, including under the eye and along the jawline.
If your cheeks no longer have any fullness or definition, they may be drooping due to age or weight loss. They can also appear sunken on one side of the face when swelling caused by injury has subsided, but cheek volume hasn’t been restored yet. If you’re not sure about what’s happening with your cheeks, schedule an appointment for cheek fillers (or fat grafting).
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What Causes Cheeks to Sag?
The cheek area can lose volume due to the natural ageing process. However, cheek sagging is also common in people who have lost weight and women who are experiencing hormonal changes that cause their face’s supporting structures to weaken.
Factors that cause cheeks to sag include:
1. Hormonal Changes
Some people experience cheek sagging due to hormonal changes that affect the size and shape of their cheek muscles. Women who are experiencing menopause often have less muscle mass as they age, which contributes to cheek sagginess.
Cheeks can also shrink from hormone replacement therapy (or HRT) treatments such as corticosteroids or estrogen patches used by postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or breast cancer survivors undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Even birth control pills taken over long periods of time can cause thinning skin on the cheek area.
2. Smoking Cigarettes
If you smoke cigarettes on a regular basis for an extended amount of time, there’s a chance that it will cause cheek sagging due to damage done to facial tissue and muscle fibres. Heavy smokers may have trouble chewing or smiling because their cheek muscles are weakened from cigarette smoking.
Smoking also affects skin elasticity, making it more difficult for wrinkles around the mouth with deep lines and folds (such as smoker’s lines) to be smoothed out by fillers like Juviderm® XC or Restylane® or fat grafting.
3. Chronic Illness
If you have a medical condition or a chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS that causes cheek muscle degeneration (or wasting), cheek sagging can be the result of this condition. Poor nutrition from an unbalanced diet may also cause cheekbone prominence due to malnutrition.
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In some instances, cheekbones might protrude because of bone loss in the skeletal face which is common among people who have osteoporosis or other conditions where bones deteriorate quickly over time.
4. Nerve Damage
Sometimes cheek drooping occurs when a person had experienced facial paralysis, for instance, when they were born with congenital craniofacial anomalies, or their cheek muscles have been damaged by an injury such as a stroke.
As we get older, the fatty tissue in our cheek area decreases. When there’s not enough to fill this space, it creates a sunken appearance. Age is also why cheekbones become more prominent because they are no longer being held up by fat beneath them. This, coupled with any sagging skin, can result in an unattractive “turkey wattle” under one or both eyes.
How Can I Avoid this from happening?
If cheek sagging concerns you, there are a few things that can help prevent cheek sagging.
- Maintain your weight: avoid significant drops in what’s considered an ideal body mass index (BMI).
- Don’t smoke cigars or start quitting as soon as possible. Smoking increases the risk of cheek drooping and discolouration from nicotine stains on the skin, which will make any cheek fillers less effective because they won’t be able to brighten up those areas.
- Manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes by following doctor’s orders for medication and diet guidelines – even if it might not seem like this should affect cheek volume when we have poor nutrition, our cheeks can suffer too!
- Keep cheek muscle tone strong by doing exercises such as smiling, chewing and puckering our lips. Doing this can also help to prevent cheek sagging from happening in the first place!
Are there any Treatments for Sagging Cheeks?
If you have cheek sagginess that’s noticeable even without clothes on or it starts interfering with your appearance (for instance, if cheeks are drooping so much they’re causing lines around your mouth), there are treatments for cheek volume restoration available:
- Cheek fillers: This treatment will increase fullness underneath the skin of the cheek area to allow them to rise up again and restore youthful definition. Fillers like Juviderm® XC or Restylane® often work well for cheek augmentation to correct sagging.
- Facelift: One of the most drastic treatments for cheek sagginess is a facelift that can be an option if wrinkles are also present in other parts of your face that could use tightening or lift. This procedure will lift up and tighten skin on your cheeks as well as around your mouth with deep folds such as smoker’s lines, so you’ll look more refreshed!
- Fat grafting: If you have sufficient fat reserves (such as from liposuction), then a doctor may do a cheek enhancement by transferring them into this area. The fat is injected directly under the skin, where it will take root over time and fill out those sunken areas – like adding volume to a deflated balloon!
- Cheek implants: This is probably the most obvious solution for cheek volume restoration because it’s surgical.