How to Lose Weight in Your Face

Written by
The Manual Team
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
23rd February 2022

In 30 seconds

The question of how to lose weight in your face doesn’t have a simple answer. For some, the same lifestyle interventions that help with general weight loss — diet, sleep, and exercise — may help here too. But if extra weight on your face is related to your genes, health conditions, or any medications you are taking, you may need a different approach.

What is the Best Way to Lose Weight in Your Face?

When extra fat deposits build up around your face, it takes on a rounder appearance. You may notice puffiness and sagging in your cheeks, jowls, under the chin, and in the neck area. 

Weight stigma is real and can affect your wellbeing, leading many people to seek solutions for weight loss and management for reasons beyond their physical health. 

There is some evidence to suggest that facial adiposity — the perception of weight on the face — not only has a bearing on how attractive someone may seem to others, but also on how people perceive other parts of their character, such as their leadership abilities. 

But beyond the effect that facial adiposity may have on our interactions with the world, it may also hold important information about what’s going on inside us.

This study, dating back to 2009, proposed that facial adiposity may give us clues about our health. From immune function to diabetes to cardiovascular disease, the markings may be on our mugs. 

Here’s what we know.

What Causes Facial Fat?

Here are the most common possibilities:

  • Poor diet. Weight gain in the face is often a result of more general weight gain. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of say about where our weight is distributed on our bodies. Because fat around the face can signal a higher prevalence of body fat in general, diet can play a crucial role as a solution.
  • Lack of physical activity. We typically put on weight when there’s an imbalance between the energy going in and the energy being spent. Including physical activity in your life can help you reach a healthy weight.
  • Alcohol consumption. Alcohol causes you to consume an increased amount of unnecessary calories while slowing the process in which you burn fat. As a result, it is a powerful cause of weight gain.  
  • Ageing. As we get older, some of our faces get rounder and are more at the mercy of gravity. Interestingly, it’s also a loss of fat in your face that makes you appear older. (That’s why some cosmetic treatments focus on redistributing fat through the face for a more youthful appearance.)
  • Genetics. Obesity has a genetic component, as does where fat sits on your body. This does not rule out the environmental factors of weight gain, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle. 
  • Cushing’s syndrome. This condition occurs when your body makes too much of a hormone called cortisol over a long period. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because it’s responsible for our flight and fight responses. But its job doesn’t end there. It also helps to maintain our blood pressure and sugar levels. 

Amongst other symptoms such as weak muscles and easy bruising, Cushing’s syndrome can make your face appear round — sometimes known as “moon face” — and cause weight gain at the base of your neck. 

  • Some medications. “Moon face” is also one of the side effects of taking steroid treatments such as prednisone for an extended period. This swelling can also occur in other parts of your body, such as around your middle and in your legs.

What are Some of the Most Common Ways to Lose Weight in Your Face?

  • Eat a healthy diet. Opt for a balanced diet that includes healthy fats (think fish, nuts, avocado, olive oil), plenty of leafy green vegetables, and whole grains. 

There’s a wealth of evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet can go a long way to aid fat loss, reduce bloating, and improve overall well being. This study shows how it might work well when combined with intermittent fasting, where you limit your intake of food to specific windows of the day. 

Find out more: Foods to Lose Weight: What Helps?

  • Avoid processed foods. Excess carb and sodium intake can lead to a higher calorie intake and ultimately weight gain. 
  • Develop a routine of regular exercise. Getting more physical exercise is one of the lifestyle changes that has never-ending benefits, from reducing your risk of heart attacks, to lowering your blood cholesterol, to helping with weight management. 

The amount you push yourself during one session is less important than how regularly you move. Including cardio exercise in your plan can also be highly beneficial. Adding some strength training exercises can help burn fat. If you don’t know where to start, a personal trainer can help.

  • Cut back on the booze. If the pub’s a part of your ritual, this one can be tough. But just a few booze-free days a week can affect your overall health.
  • Up your hydration game by getting enough water. If you haven’t done so already, integrate a water bottle or glass into your daily life. Make drinking water a habit. 
  • Get enough sleep. Often easier said than done, but sufficient sleep is an important part of weight loss because of its links to our metabolism. Not getting enough, as this study shows, can impede all your other weight loss efforts.
  • Get a medical check-up — particularly if you are experiencing other symptoms. It’s important to rule out medical conditions. 
  • Surgical options and facial contouring. If you want to opt for a stronger jawline or get rid of a double chin, cosmetic procedures can help to make your face look slimmer. With options such as liposuction and chin augmentation, many people can achieve their desired results. (In this study of 40 people undergoing aesthetic facial treatment, 39 of their expectations were met. The odds are good.)

The Facts about Facial Exercise Programmes 

You may have noticed an increasingly popular trend of facial exercise programmes. 

As we age, several changes occur in our faces, one of which is a loss of fat and muscle. The goal of facial exercise programmes — often referred to as facial yoga — is to strengthen our facial muscles. The desired result? A natural facelift that works against the effects of gravity.

This may sound like a promising option — particularly if you’ve found yoga a great way to build up the muscle in your body. 

The studies on this are young — and at this point inconclusive. This study of middle-aged women on a facial exercise program showed it led to some modest improvements in face fullness. 

Harvard Medical School provides a more global picture, suggesting that these exercises show some promise but that the effects may be subtle.

The good news, either way, is that facial exercises can’t do harm. So if you have some time to spare on your facial routine, why not give it a go?

Here are three simple exercises to try that may do something to support a strong jawline:

  1. Neck curl up. This is like a situp, but for your neck. Lie down on your back, curl your neck up so that your chin heads for your chest, and then uncurl. Let your neck (rather than your abdominals) do the work. Do about three sets of ten curls.
  2. Lower lip lifts. Sitting up straight, push your neck and jaw out and lift your lower lip away from your teeth. Hold this position for about ten seconds and release. Repeat. Try three sets of fifteen.
  3. Tongue tense up. Bring your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and press it against your hard palate. Keep it there and hum while you’re doing this. Then release. Repeat. Three sets of ten should do the trick.

Key Takeaways

There’s no one cause of weight gain in the face. That means there’s no one way to lose face fat. Weight gain in the face is often a sign of weight gain in the rest of the body. For this, lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise, and getting sufficient sleep can help.

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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