Over time, factors such as loss of fat below the skin (the subcutaneous layer), the breakdown of elastin fibers in the skin, and decreased collagen production visibly change the appearance of our skin.
This loss of structural support leads to wrinkling, loss of elasticity and skin laxity. As one becomes older, they may notice these visible signs of aging: a poorly defined jawline, jowls, sagging cheeks and heaviness under the chin.
While we can influence some changes in our skin, intrinsic aging is governed by our genes and is largely out of our control. However, new treatments and nonsurgical procedures can help rejuvenate the aging face for a more youthful appearance.
What is facial contouring?
Facial contouring can involve one of many facial reconfiguration techniques that enhance the overall appearance of your face.
There are a variety of noninvasive procedures available to restore or improve the contours of your face. Below, we will outline several of the top treatments currently on the market. If you desire to improve the look of your facial contours, your first step is to contact your board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Using Botox for facial contouring
Botox can help slim the lower face and jaw by relaxing the masseter muscle, one of the muscles of mastication (chewing). This muscle can become enlarged in people who often clench their teeth or grind their jaw, and can eventually give their face a more square appearance.
Botox uses a botulism toxin to temporarily cause muscle paralysis. When injected into the jaw muscle, it blocks the chemical signals that cause the muscles to contract and acts to weaken the masseter muscle. The muscle eventually shrinks in size, leading to a slimmer and more narrow jawline.
Using Kybella for facial contouring
If you are looking for a more sculpted jawline and tighter facial profile, Kybella is likely your best option. It is the only FDA-approved injectable treatment used to improve the appearance of a “double chin”, also known as submental fat. Submental fullness can be due to genetics, aging, or weight gain. Some patients find that submental fullness is not improved by diet or exercise, leading them to consider other options.
The active ingredient in Kybella is synthetic deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring molecule found in the body, which breaks down and absorbs dietary fats. When injected into the fat under the skin, the cells are destroyed and can no longer accumulate fat. The tissue that is broken down during this process is naturally removed by the body over a period of a few weeks.
With less fat underneath the chin, patients are left with a slimmer profile and the jawline may look more defined. Patients will need three to six treatments (spaced a month apart) for optimal results and further treatment is not necessary.
Using Morpheus8 for facial contouring
Morpheus8 combines microneedling and radiofrequency (RF) energy to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin using the skin’s natural healing process. Micropins penetrate the surface of the skin, creating controlled microinjuries. As the skin heals, the body produces new collagen and elastin. These proteins make skin cells strong and resilient, and help sagging skin regain its shape.
At the same time, Morpheus8 delivers high frequency energy into the deep layers of the skin to remodel and tighten tissue. As new collagen and elastin develop, patients will see an improvement in facial contours, jawline and profile.
Optimal results are usually seen with two to three treatments spaced up to six weeks apart. Results can last anywhere from two to four years, depending on the patient’s age and lifestyle.
Using Evoke for facial contouring
Like Morpheus8, Evoke is another product by InMode that uses RF energy to help define the cheeks, neck and jawline. The RF energy penetrates deep into the subdermal layer and delivers heat at a constant temperature. This triggers the production of collagen and elastin, which leads to tighter skin and a rejuvenated appearance. The same thermal response also loosens and repositions fat.
Evoke has two hands-free designs: one is specifically designed for the face and jowls, the other treats the neck and submental areas. These facial remodeling platforms are ideal for addressing facial contour concerns such as a poorly defined jawline, jowls, and excess submental fat.
Typically three sessions with one week intervals are needed for optimal results, and results last between two and three years.
Using PDO threads for facial contouring
A PDO thread lift uses absorbable sutures made of polydioxanone (PDO) to lift and tighten the face. It produces three effects in the skin, the first being a mechanical lift where the barbed sutures are placed. Secondly, the PDO threads induce a selective inflammatory response, which stimulates the production of collagen. Finally, it causes the fat tissue to contract, which produces a slimming effect.
The combination of repositioned skin, new collagen and decreased fat production lead to a more contoured look. Patients who have a thread lift will experience progressive improvement, as the new collagen thickens, strengthens, and hydrates the skin. A thread lift can last one to three years, and additional treatments can extend the results even further.