Updated: May 7, 2020
The rise of facial aesthetics has led us to this moment: an undying obsession for facial contouring. Injectables, social media filters and general envy has got a hold of many of us, and instead of wondering when our next fluffy spa facial will be, we are dreaming of stronger jawlines, high cheekbones, fuller lips. Most of my clients have replaced the question of pores and blackheads, with “how can I get rid of my double chin?” and “can I make my face look smaller?”
The answer is you can. Facial slimming still seems to me like a fairly new and controversial topic in the UK, which is why I thought a post like this would be a beneficial one, about the treatments and lifestyle changes that can help contour and slim the face.
This is a great question to ask, especially if you are finding yourself reading this article. The desired female aesthetic is a trivial and complex one amongst different ages, locations and altering trends, however there is always one consistent feature that we can all agree on – and that is a symmetrical, oval face. An oval “V” face shape reflects youth, and tends to present distinct contours such as higher cheekbones, a chiselled but delicate jawline and a petite chin.
There is a fine line when determining the “perfect” facial contour. For example, strong jawlines are strongly favoured in the industry right now but too much of this heavy feature can be considered masculine.
In case you hadn’t noticed, no face is ever perfect and rarely (unless your Margot Robbie of course) has all of these features in a perfect, symmetrical order. By seeking treatments that ‘slim’ the face or create the subtlest of tweaks, you are one step closer to creating a look that is more aesthetically pleasing. Hence why facial lifting and tightening and contouring and tweaking will always remain common terms in the aesthetics and beauty industry.
For more on this subject, find out why we find high cheekbones and full lips attractive and why we are so obsessed with beauty. Now lets dive into the non-surgical options that available RIGHT NOW that help to lift and slim the face, including the risks, downtime and treatment information.
Also known as RF, this heat-based treatment is one of my favourite go-to’s in the clinic to help lift, tighten and slim the face of my clients. The radiofrequency waves product heat in the dermis, which effectively stimulates collagen and elastin production helping skin appear firmer, tighter and brighter.
Selective radiofrequency helps to focus on lifting specific areas of the face, such as the jawline, marionette lines or cheeks. Results are gradual, however if the treatment is carried out correctly, you can see subtle facial lifting take place straight after treatment.
The beauty about this non-invasive treatment is that it doesn’t interfere with the epidermis, minimising risk and downtime. The treatment is painless, expect only a gradual heated sensation. Some redness can appear after treatment which will dissipate within a few hours.
The heat can be aggravating to anyone who has rosacea or cystic, aggressive acne. Despite the increasing amount of homecare devices on the market, I would always advise to see a skincare professional treatment for this one. Treatments can be costly, but the results make it worth the money.
In addition to radiofrequency facials, laser rejuvenation treatments help produce a tightening effect for the face. Laser works by causing injury to the top layers of the skin which stimulates a wound healing response that effectively boosts collagen and elastin production.
Laser procedures are commonly used to treat hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, scarring and stretch marks so expect to see an overall improvement in your skin as well as a tightened, slimmer facial profile.
This is a trauma-based treatment which means higher risk. Darker skin types, acne and rosacea skins should be specially considered thoroughly before proceeding into a treatment. I always advise my clients to use a tyrosinaise inhibitor in their skincare regime for 3-4 weeks prior to their first treatment to minimise the risk of hyperpigmentation following treatment. An SPF should always be worn during and after any course of laser treatment. Burns can happen – tanned skin and photosensitive medication is a big no-no.
Laser resurfacing treatments can differ in depth and downtime depending on the machine and setting used. You can typically expect an average of 4-7 days of recovery – symptoms can include dryness, flaking, redness and hyperpigmentation can look darker. Following this period of time, the skin will look noticeably smoother, brighter and tighter.
Before & After laser resurfacing. Result via mafficlinics
Risks are plentiful but rare if the treatment is carried out properly by a professional and aftercare is followed correctly. This in-clinic treatment can also be quite costly, but results are AMAZING and longer-lasting compared to some of the other treatments listed in this post.
One contributing factor to the amount of fat in the face is excess weight. Cardio exercise including running, walking, biking and swimming can help you to lose excess body fat the quickest. Drinking enough water can also help aid weight loss, so always make sure you are hydrated as possible.
Note that rapid weight loss can also age the face too, read this article to understand why.
Chin Fat Removal
A heavy lower face is often associated with ageing as the natural process always leads to a gathered pouch of fat underneath the chin. Removing this fat can help contribute to a slimmer and more youthful-looking facial profile.
Fat freezing treatments with brands like Coolsculpting and Lipocontrast can help break down fat cells with a course of treatments. The treatment usually involves a vacuum device which is placed on the chin, and then a ice cold temperature is set for about one hour. It can feel slightly uncomfortable in the first few minutes as your body adjusts to the cold, pinching sensation. Results are gradual but downtime is minimal- mild bruising may occur which lasts a few days.
Kybella is another safe and effective method to reduce chin fat. This treatment involves injecting deoxycholic acid into the chin and this breaks down the membrane of the fat cells. Clients report mild discomfort during the procedure and downtime includes bruising and swelling for a few days after. It can take up to two weeks to show a noticeable effect and 2 sessions are advised 2-4 weeks apart.
Both fat freezing and chin injections offer permanent results but on a reasonable scale. The inevitable process of ageing and weight gain can both cause the fat to return in the chin area.
Daily facial massage
Insta-worthy skin tools like the jade roller and Gua Sha stones are excellent at-home accessories for promoting more pronounced facial contours. Facial massage in general, creates a temporary slimming effect as it boosts circulation, relieves facial muscle tension and aids lymphatic drainage.
Gua Sha tools are my favourite for this, only because it offers a deeper massage than a jade roller. It is an ancient Chinese medicine with thousands of years of history, thought to help boost the blow flow in the body and encourages better skin healing. They are usually made of jade or quartz stone and come in all shapes and sizes. Gua Sha facial stones usually have different curve either end of the stone, so that you can find one that fits the contour of your face better.
Rose Quartz Gua Sha tool £35.00 via whitelotusbeauty
I like to use my Gua Sha tool in the evening, after applying my serums and moisturiser, as the stone glides more easily. It is best to start from the centre of the face and move outward towards the ear, and drain down the neck. You can find more Gua Sha facial massage routines here.
It’s an in expensive, low-risk and low-cost treatment and can help to boost your mood as well as your cheekbones.
Dermal filler and Botox
Anti-Wrinkle Injections like Botox and Bocouture can be injected into the masseter muscle to reduce the width of the jaw and create a facial slimming effect. As well as raising the jaw, this treatment also provides alleviation to jaw-grinding conditions like Bruxism. It is a quick treatment with two injection points either side of the muscle – it can take up to two weeks to take effect and usually lasts 3-6 months.
Before & After jaw reduction using botox. Courtesy of michelegreenmd
It is important to know that like all other injectable treatments, the masseter lift can look really good but also has the potential to go wrong too. Facial asymmetry can occur and can be difficult to correct. A 2017 study highlighted the association between injections in the jaw and increased bone loss. There is a low risk of headaches and dizziness following treatment but they can happen. Over treating the masseter muscle has led to several reports of patients unable to chew food properly until the injections wears off, months after treatment.
Strategic placement of dermal filler can also create an instant slimming effect of the face. Usually the chin and/or cheeks are injected to create a subtle volume which gives a lifting effect of the face.
Every face has a different set of measurements, so areas of the face that are injected may differ from person to person. It’s all about balance. Carrying out facial injections is a true art and it requires an experienced injector to get it right.
Results can last anywhere between 6-18 months depending on the area and product injected. Risks are minimal but can happen, the most common side effect post treatment is swelling and bruising. This usually dissipates within a few days after treatment.
Facial bloating is a common occurrence and a typical cause for this is the foods we consume. Foods that are high in sodium is said to cause facial bloating, this includes dairy products like milk and cheese, smoked and cured meats like bacon, ham, anchovies and sausages, salted nuts, tinned foods using salt as a preservative…the list goes on.
It’s simple: cut down on salty foods to reduce the chances of facial oedema.
We all want better contours. Higher cheekbones, a softer chin, a more pronounced jawline, flawlessly, high-arched brows. Whatever your budget is or how open you are to having aesthetic treatments, there are so many options out there that can help lift, firm and therefore slim your face.
Alongside these options, skincare is another habit to adopt if you wish to improve your facial appearance. Stay hydrated, make exercise a twice weekly habit, try an RF or laser treatment, reduce your salt intake and practice the art of facial massage to slim your face without the surgery.