I recently took a poll in my Facebook group asking about people’s biggest “gripes” when it comes to their skin/appearance. The number one concern, BY FAR, was sagging, specifically laxity in the lower face and losing definition along the jawline. Interestingly, Google searches for people wanting to learn more about their 'jawline' have increased markedly in the past five years, nearly tripling globally!!
It's important to remember that jawline trends, like so many aesthetic attributes these days, shift fairly quickly. Yes, we should make the most of what we have, and we should all feel free to make more significant adjustments in our appearance if that keeps us happy and healthy. But I don't subscribe to the 'one jaw fits all' mentality that's trending at the moment. Happily, most of the women I talk to aren't hunting for the perfect 'chiseled jawline' that's all the rage in Hollywood. Rather, women in the 40-60+ range are looking for a bit of lift and definition, perhaps to restore the jawline that they had five or ten years ago. In my mind, natural-looking is always preferable, and loving the face we have is the underlying goal!
Like with the rest of our face, a major contributor to loss of definition on the jawline is a breakdown of the elastin and collagen fibers - skin laxity, which cause the skin to become less resilient. Gravity can cause fat pads from cheeks to migrate downward, putting additional pressure on the skin in the jaw area. Muscles that make up our cheeks begin to get a bit lazy, providing less contour for skin. Poor posture (think ‘tech neck’) can put strain on the muscles of the lower face and neck and contribute to the downward spiral. To add insult to injury, having our muscles become lax and dealing with the impact of postural shifts, we also resorb bone as we age, so the whole scaffolding of the face is actually shrinking overtime.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT JAWLINE LAXITY?
There are a number of things you can do in clinic with the support of a certified health professional to address laxity in the neck and help carve out more structure in your jawline. For the neck, these interventions include Ultherapy, Sculptra injections, radiofrequency (fractionated and traditional) and Thermage. For the jawline, many specialists advocate hyaluronic acid dermal fillers which, when well selected and well placed, can improve facial harmony by strengthening the jawline and chin and even soften jowls. As ever, I’ll leave it you to discuss these procedures with your doctor.
Happily, there are several things we can do at home (without any pricy treatments or injectables) to create a more defined jawline. First of all, we can do all of the things we do to support the skin on the rest of our face. My video on Skin Sagging goes into a number of things we can do at home to boost collagen and elastin production.
Then we have the tools - the key is to address the sagging that’s interrupting the natural contours of our jawbone or ‘mandible’.
Sagging skin on the lower face has 4 at-home device nemesis:
How do we incorporate those modalities to effectively treat sagging skin and still have time to do our at-home IPL, peels, high frequency and laser? I’ll be completely honest with you: we don’t.
With pinpoint accuracy we’re going to address our biggest concern with the biggest at-home guns - setting all other weapons aside until we reach our goals. It’s imperative that we approach our skincare from the vantage point of “what’s my issue?” and then “what will address THAT issue?” rather than “OOOOOH ALL these devices look so cool! I’ll buy them all!” Because if we focus on tool acquisition rather than setting goals with accompanying plans, we risk taking our eye off the prize.
Every day I get asked about various devices, which is better, which to buy, and the answer always circles back to “what issue are you trying to address?
Tip: Before embarking on a device hunt I suggest you FIRST assess your biggest concern and THEN pick your anti-aging weapon(s). Have a look at my blog At-home skincare devices: Which is right for you? to see a handy graphic to help you decide.
So, let's say you’ve determined that sagging skin is your primary concern, consider setting aside all other devices and focus on that concern. Give yourself time (12 weeks minimum) to assess results, and then decide if that's STILL your #1 concern.
FIRST TAKE PICTURES (crucial to our ongoing assessment!)
Month ONE 4-5 days a week
Radiofrequency on the specific area only (to keep time reasonable)
Microcurrent the same area immediately post RF
LED entire face and neck immediately post microcurrent
Optional (if you needle): every 6 weeks microneedle+LED* (and then take at least a 7-10 day break from microcurrent and RF)
*I am purposely stretching the microneedling protocol to 6 weeks so that we don't miss too much RF and microcurrent in this plan. You can skip needling all together if it makes your life easier-or if you just aren't interested in needling. :)
Same exact protocol but now we can reduce frequency to 3-4 days a week
Same exact protocol except reducing to 2-3 days a week
Each month you may choose to continue doing as many days a week as you like. You’re not obliged to reduce frequency but I find that many people are able to comply for longer with a less rigorous schedule. Remember, building collagen takes commitment so think of carving a more defined jawline as a marathon, not a sprint!!
After week 12, assess the situation and either go into maintenance of 2 days a week or continue at 3-5 days-whatever works with your schedule and your goals. Continue to assess monthly.
WHY THIS PLAN? THE COLLAGEN CONNECTION
You might notice that the protocol above heavily emphasizes collagen induction whether directly (microneedling and radiofrequency) or as a by-product (microcurrent and LED). If sagging skin is your MAIN concern, supporting healthy collagen generation is your most direct plan of attack.
When thinking of collagen envision a framework holding us together - this framework degrades over time perpetuating…you guessed it…sagging.
Radio frequency is a non invasive way to create collagen and tighten the skin. Energy is applied to the skin and converted to heat in the dermis. This energy penetrates the epidermis and “bulk heats” the dermis stimulating the contraction of collagen (instant tightening) and the production of new collagen (more tightening over time). Radio frequency devices should be designed to send the heat to the dermis while preserving the surrounding cells and epidermis along the way.
I have selected NEWA as my radio frequency device of choice. The NEWA device is multi-source RF. That means that multiple sources send and receive the radio frequency energy in to the dermis to bulk heat it and stimulate the production of collagen. I am using this 4-5 nights a week on clean skin that I prep with a water based serum and NEWA's delicate skin gel (it is their fragrance free option and my favorite that they carry). I am choosing to only treat 4 areas (above and below the jaw) in order to keep the time commitment reasonable. The treatment is comfortable and easy to do. If you would like to see a demo of the treatment be sure to watch my latest video on YouTube!
Microcurrent is another non-invasive way to lift the face and neck. Low-level electrical current affects the muscles, effectively re-training them to position themselves back where they were before age and gravity began taking her toll. Microcurrent doesn’t stop there - it also stimulates the production of ATP (life source of our cells), collagen and elastin as well as works to penetrate products in to the skin and increase circulation (remember: blood flow to the skin feeds it! This alone encourages healthier skin!).
I have been using the Myolift Mini and the Myolift 600 for quite some time and I LOVE these devices. Both boast a conductivity bar (great to let you know that you are actually getting a treatment) and also the ability to use conductive gloves instead of the probes. The gloves are so easy that even a beginner can easily get the hang of doing a microcurrent treatment. I am also trialing another microcurrent device that is impressing me quite a bit-the Pico Toner from Neurotris. I will be doing a dedicated video showing this device too-so stay tuned for that!
When used in conjunction with radiofrequency we’re essentially working on the structures below the skin (the muscle) AND the skin itself (the dermis). This one-two punch is a knockout strategy for sagging. The final blow? LED.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. These lights come in different colors that correspond to different wavelengths. Each wavelength is able to penetrate to a different depth in our skin. At different depths we have different processes occurring; melanin production, collagen production and sebum production to name a few. Choosing the right LED color/wavelength can effectively treat specific conditions. For the purpose of treating laxity, red and near-infrared LED work by stimulating the production of ATP while simultaneously encouraging collagen and elastin production. What’s more, red and near infra-red led serve to protect and repair the existing elastin that hardens as we age. LED is another non-invasive comfortable treatment that does so much more than skincare; these red wavelengths offer a true multi-tasking modality (check out my post on hair and scalp health!). What’s even better is that LED is perfectly matched with the other 3 chosen ‘anti-laxity’ modalities - and fits into this routine directly after microcurrent.
Currently I'm using my Mito LED
(I also reach for Illuminate LED green disc and panel...more on that soon!).
By now you may know my love of microneedling is BIG. Microneedling is the most invasive of the four modalities that we are using to address sagging skin. Microneedling, as the name suggests, uses tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin setting off a wound healing response that culminates in the production of collagen. Microneedling also increases blood flow to the skin (yay for more circulation and nutrients!). One collagen induction session can stimulate the production of new collagen for SIX months!
During this protocol I will needle every 5-6 weeks. Because it is crucial to allow the skin to heal post-needling I suggest allowing 7-10 days to pass before resuming RF and microcurrent after a needling session. LED, on the other hand, is perfect post needling and in the days following!
WHAT ABOUT SKINCARE?
And remember, skincare is a vital component of this fight against sagging. Please visit my videos on sagging skin where I give skincare tips and protocols that address sagging skin. It is never too late to have great skin.
NEWA US (at-home RF for skin tightening) https://go.shopmy.us/p-3666431
CODE PennyS10 get 10% off
NEWA UK NEWA UK https://www.newabeauty.co.uk/products/clinic-exclusive-package
The code you need to enter is : NEWA076 This code gives you £50 off the device and a free Heliocare fluid Cream (offer value £81)
Myolift Mini https://amzn.to/3JCsAD3
My go-to device is my Dr Pen A7
on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q9d5uO
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Disclaimer: This post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or skin related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this website should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare/skin professional. The statements made about specific products throughout this website are not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. It is important that you check labels to determine if a product is right for you. Before starting any treatment at home consult a health care or skin care professional to determine if it’s right for you.