It is said that the appearance of the neck betrays our real age, and this statement is real because the aging process causes the skin to lose its elasticity and tone. This is very quickly visible in the neck and jawline by the appearance of wrinkles, deeper folds of skin, sagging jowls and sometimes a turkey neck.

The aging process of the face and neck begins after the age of 30, and many people begin to resort to easy, non-surgical methods to erase these first signs: Botox injections, hyaluronic acid, plasma or fat treatments, and non-invasive methods, ultrasound, laser, or radiofrequency treatments.

While these procedures work well for early aging, fine lines, mature skin corrections can be only obtained through surgical face lifting.

The results can be impressive if the facelift is combined with facial rejuvenation procedures as well as cosmetic skin correcting procedures: dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser skin rejuvenation, Platelet rich plasma injections, ultrasound therapy etc.

Read on to better understand the occurrence of sagging jowls and the different surgical ways you can correct the signs of aging through neck lift and facelift.

What are sagging jowls?

One of the early visible signs of aging is the loose skin below the chin and jawline, commonly known as sagging jowls. This is a common aspect of aging, but not all people will experience skin sagging the same way, the factors depending on genetics, skin elasticity, and lifestyle choices.

This skin has lost its elasticity and appears baggy or loose, creating that unpleasant "bulldog jaws" appearance. Sagging jowls will often cause a squarer appearance to the face, and thus can masculinise the female face.

While having sagging skin doesn't represent a medical concern, the overall appearance may come to impact self-esteem and confidence.

The main culprits for prominent sagging jowls are:

  • Smoking as it impacts collagen and elastin production.
  • Excess weight gain and weight loss as it makes the skin stretch and then letting it sag.
  • Extended sun exposure without face protection.
  • Genetics (family history)
What is a neck lift?

A neck lift is one of the most satisfying procedures that can be performed. Removing excess skin and fat from under the sagging chin and tensioning the underlying muscles can radically improve the appearance of the neck and face.

Here are some remarkable benefits achieved through neck lift surgery:

  • Stubborn deposits of fat from the neck is removed
  • Excess leftover skin fine lines and wrinkles are eliminated, resulting in a smoother, younger-looking skin
  • A redefined contour of the neck and jawline
  • Improved skin tone and restored firmness
  • A restored balance between the age of the face and that of the neck
  • The improved overall appearance of the face and neck
  • Contouring of the neck by altering some of the deeper structures within the neck (salivary glands, muscles and deep fat deposits)

Neck lift results become visible almost immediately and improve up to 6 months post-surgery.

Neck lift offers lasting results, which will diminish after 10-15 years due to the natural aging process. However, you can extend this time interval if you avoid excessive sun exposure and maintain a constant weight. A neck lift is almost always performed in conjunction with a facelift.

What is a face lift?

A face lift is the most effective way to treat wrinkles or imperfections that occur with an aging face. Through a facial lift, surgeons reposition muscles, skin, and fat so that the face looks younger, more volumised and more refreshed.

Age-related imperfections that can be reduced with a facelift include the following:

  • The sagging appearance of the cheeks
  • Deepening the fold of skin from the nose to the corner of the mouth
  • Excess skin on the lower jaw
  • Excess fat in the neck

The most suitable candidates for a facelift are people over 40 to 75 years. However, occasionally older and younger people will also benefit from facelifts.

Before resorting to a facelift, a person must have good health and realistic expectations. A facelift will not completely erase the signs of aging. The goal is to provide a fresher and less tired appearance.

Can I combine these procedures?

Yes, in most cases, a neck lift is incomplete without a facial correction. Addressing the jowls relies heavily on rejuvenating both the lower face and neck.

Another intervention that is often associated with a surgical facelift is blepharoplasty, the correction of excess skin and fat, above the eyes (hooding) and below the eyes (eye bags).

Here is what you need to consider in the first days after the surgery:

  • Rest with your head held high, in a tilted 30 degree position, to limit the swelling of the facial tissue.
  • Avoid bending your head down.
  • Follow the medication prescribed by your doctor to reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure and use creams with high protection factors and clothing to cover sensitive areas of the face (hat, sunglasses).
  • Facial treatments, creams, and makeup are applied only after consultation with the surgeon.
  • Avoid dyeing or bleaching your hair for at least six weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid other facial treatments until given the all clear by your surgeon (usually 2 months).
  • Do not resume smoking for at least a month following surgery.
What are other alternative therapies?
  • Intense Ultrasound Therapy

This procedure makes the molecules under the skin vibrate, producing heat, which stimulates collagen formation. Each treatment lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, requiring one or more sessions, case by case.

The results appear gradually, over two to three months, sometimes even up to six months. Side effects include mild discomfort during treatment, redness that usually goes away in a few hours, and inflammation that can last for a few days.

  • Radiofrequency Treatment

Unlike a surgical facelift, radiofrequency does not lift muscles, so it is not as effective for people with advanced wrinkles and very sagging skin.

It is much more useful for people around the age of 35-40, who have minor loose skin and few wrinkles.

  • Home cosmetic treatments

Weak peeling substances and microdermabrasion kits are available without a prescription for home use. The peeling and microdermabrasion chemicals kits have the same ingredients as the professional ones but come in lower concentrations.

They can remove dead skin and reduce scars and fine lines, but the results are not as impressive, and they work best for minor skin imperfections.

Final words

Sagging jowls is an unwelcomed aspect of the aging face. It is often associated with other aging signs in the lower face and neck. Although there are a number of treatments available to improve the appearance of jowls, the only definitive means is via expert surgery to the lower face and neck.