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Saggy Cheeks: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Tagged: Facial Treatments

Date: 14th February 2024

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 14th February 2024

What Are Saggy Cheeks?

"Saggy cheeks" are a facial condition that develop when cheek skin elasticity weakens and the firmness and fullness typically associated with the cheek area begins to disappear. 

As cheek skin begins to droop, it collect in the formation of saggy cheeks, jowls, deep nasolabial folds and a weak jawline. 

This is a very common sign of ageing (not to be confused with Sunken Cheeks) and can occur naturally in anyone over the age of 30, with the condition typically continuing to develop as gravity takes its toll. Several lifestyle factors can contribute to a decrease of cheek collagen and elastin such as smoking, excessive sun exposure and poor diet. 

There are several cosmetic treatments that can target saggy cheeks and restore a youthful contour. These range from non invasive treatments for saggy cheeks such as dermal fillers to surgical interventions such as face and neck lifts.  

The most popular and best treatments for sagging cheeks at the Cadogan Clinic are Fat Transfer to Face and the Mini-Facelift.

What Causes Saggy Cheeks?

The primary cause of saggy cheeks is ageing.  

This is because the body’s production of collagen and elastin decreases over time, leading to weakened skin elasticity and reduced skin firmness. With less skin support, the facial skin begins to sag and form saggy cheeks. 

This process is catalysed by the fact that facial bone structures also gradually begin to resorb, or erode, with time, meaning the less elastic skin also hangs on a less contoured frame, contributing to the sagging cheek effect. 

Saggy cheeks typically develop as time passes and the constant pull of gravity downward encourages the ongoing drooping of facial tissue.  

Genetic disposition plays a large part in how much and how quickly this effect occurs, as it does in all areas of ageing. That said, some lifestyle factors such as prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, and can speed up the aging process. Smoking has also been linked to accelerated ageing, skin damage and a reduction in collagen production. Excessive or repetitive facial movements, such as smiling or squinting, can also have an impact.  

Finally, significant face sagging after weight loss is a common cause of saggy cheeks. Facial fat and volume is being lost naturally as we age, but this can be exacerbated by sudden weight loss that results in excess sagging skin on the lower face, including the cheeks. You can try to avoid sagging cheeks after weight loss by adopting gradual weight loss regimes.  

Addressing saggy cheeks often involves a combination of preventive measures, lifestyle changes, and cosmetic procedures. Non-surgical options like dermal fillers, Morpheus 8 treatments, or thread lifts can provide non-invasive solutions, while surgical procedures like facelifts offer more comprehensive and long-lasting results. 

Can You Get Rid of Saggy Cheeks with Exercise?

While exercise, in general, is recommended as part of any wellbeing programme, there is very little evidence that you can get rid of saggy cheeks with exercise.  

Facial exercises may help improve muscle tone and could contribute to a very subtle cheek lift, but are unlikely to address significant sagging cheeks as facial aging involves many factors beyond just muscle tone that exercise cannot address, such as loss of skin elasticity, collagen, and facial fat.  

If you are targeting improvements in muscle tone, then you can research several facial exercises such as Cheek Lifts, Fish Face or Puffy Cheeks.  We would strongly recommend that these are integrated into a wider programme to address saggy cheeks if you are seeking material results, and that you seek the advice of a healthcare professional for best results.  

Finally, face sagging can actually occur after rapid weight loss, so any weight loss regime involving exercise should be done gradually with steady weight loss targets. If facial fat deposits disappear too quickly, this can cause facial skin to sag.  

What is the Best Treatment to Get Rid of Saggy Cheeks Fast?

The best treatment to get rid of saggy cheeks fast and with long lasting results is via surgical intervention in the cheek area.  

The best treatment for sagging cheeks and other facial ageing conditions include the following cheek lift surgeries: 

  • Facelift: a comprehensive facial rejuvenation surgery that targets a range of conditions in the lower and mid face by lifting and repositioning facial tissues, removing any excess tissue and tightening the underlying muscles. Rejuvenates the entire face and creates a more youthful appearance, eliminating saggy cheeks in the process 
  • Mini Facelift: a similar technique to the above but more targeted to the cheek area and less invasive and lighter touch, relying on smaller incisions and delivering a subtler effect. Targets saggy cheeks specifically, with less associated downtime – often considered the best procedure for sagging cheeks for its long lasting results 
  • Cheek Implants: cheek augmentation procedure to place implants in the cheek area to increase volume and lift the cheek. Downtime is short, but swelling is a feature  
  • Fat Transfer to Face: a fat grafting technique that involves harvesting fat via Liposuction from one area of the body in very small volumes, and reinjecting it into the face to create natural volume and contour the face. Popular longer lasting alternative to dermal fillers
  • Micro Facelift: an even subtler technique that uses incisions behind the ear to tweak and tighten the underlying muscle and address muscle laxity. Suitable for younger patients in their 30s with saggy cheeks, it can be done in less than an hour    

The best treatment for saggy cheeks will vary between individuals, so it is important to speak to one of our expert plastic surgeons to help determine the best procedure for your sagging cheeks and the most suitable approach for achieving your desired results 

This is a very popular drooping cheek treatment for both men and women.

Where Can I See Sagging Cheeks Before and After Photos?

You can see sagging cheeks before and after photos as part of our fat transfer before and after gallery and mini facelift before and after gallery

Assessing sagging cheeks before and after photos is a crucial part of evaluating the potential success of your future cheek lift surgery, as these before and after images provide visual evidence of a surgeon's skill, as well as what you can expect before and after your cheek lift.  

You should always consult directly with a surgeon, however, before making a final decision on their potential suitability for your unique situation. 


What Non Invasive Treatments Can Treat Sagging Cheeks?

There are several non invasive treatments that are popularly used to address saggy cheeks.  

These non invasive treatments typically aim to rejuvenate by tightening the skin in the cheek area, prompting collagen production or adding volume to restore the prominence of the facial contours. 

Common non invasive saggy cheek treatments include:  

  • Dermal Fillers: hyaluronic acid injectable cheek filler treatment to add volume and structure to the midface to improve the prominence of facial contours and reduce sagging. Quick 20 minute procedure, and immediate results with no downtime  
  • Non Surgical Facelift: a non surgical facelift typically combines cheek filler treatment with botulinum toxin treatments to rejuvenate the face and cheek area  
  • Morpheus8: combines microneedling and RF to improve skin texture, tightness, and stimulate collagen production. Rejuvenates the entire face, including saggy cheeks; multiple treatments required 
  • Radiofrequency (RF) Skin Tightening: uses energy to heat the deep layers of skin and promote collagen production, skin tightening and skin texture. Produces a lifting rejuvenating effect over the course of multiple treatments 
  • Thread Lifts: biodegradable threads are inserted beneath the skin to lift and tighten sagging cheeks. Subtle effect without surgery, but associated with complications that can impact viability of future facial rejuvenating treatments  

Non invasive treatments are often preferred by younger patients in their 30s who are looking for a more subtle sagging cheeks treatment. Cheek filler is a particularly popular cost effective option for this demographic who are looking for a quick, effective sagging cheeks treatment with no downtime.  

What Are Typical Cheek Lift Costs?

Given the variety of invasive and non invasive options available to target saggy cheeks it is hard to give precise cheek lift costs. 

Non invasive cheek lifts typically cost less per treatment, but may require more over a lifetime to deliver results. 

Cheek lift surgeries are typically cost more but results are long lasting and you are unlikely to require a second treatment. 

Fat Transfer to Face costs from £4,000 and Micro Facelift costs from £6,000, however, so surgical cheek lifts start at restively affordable levels. 

We also offer 0% finance options for all our surgical patients.  


Treatments mentioned in this article



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