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How Losing Weight Affects Your Face

author image James Roland
James Roland started writing professionally in 1987. A former reporter and editor with the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune," he currently oversees such publications as the "Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor" and UCLA's "Healthy Years." Roland earned his Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Oregon.
How Losing Weight Affects Your Face
A woman looks at her face in the mirror. Photo Credit Brankica Tekic/iStock/Getty Images

Where on your body you tend to gain the most weight, whether it's around the middle or more on the hips and thighs, is the result of your genes and particular physiology. However, the more weight you gain, the more you're going to see it in your face, regardless of whether the rest of you is an apple or pear shape. As you lose weight, you may not see it in your face right away, but over time, the fullness of your face will decline and you may look more recognizable to yourself and those close to you.


Because you tend to know your own face and the faces of our friends, family and even favorite celebrities pretty well, even the slightest changes are noticeable. This includes weight gain, weight loss, new wrinkles and even minor plastic surgery or treatments such as Botox injections. The human face tends to resemble a heart or valentine when we're young, but through weight gain and age, that shape can get inverted as skin begins to sag a little and you put on weight around the jowls. Losing weight can remove some of that extra roundness from the cheeks and jawline, but age will still tend to change the shape of the face, unless plastic surgeons intervene.

Forgiving Face

Extra weight stretches the skin no matter where it is on the body. As Harvard-trained integrated medicine specialist Dr. Richard Tew notes, someone who undergoes profound weight loss, of say, 100 pounds may have excess or sagging skin as a result of that stretching. This is why people who have bariatric surgery often have plastic surgery to tighten up the skin around their middle and elsewhere on the body. But Tew also points out that the skin of the face is different and usually doesn't end up looking saggy and stretched after major weight loss. Facial skin, partly because it doesn't fill in with as much extra weight as other parts of the body, is more resilient and can return to a more normal appearance as you lose weight.


To help lose weight in the face naturally, adjust your diet to include nine 8 oz. glasses of water a day. Without plenty of water, your body tends to hold onto whatever moisture it can get, which leads to bloating. Likewise, alcohol in any form can add to the bloated look in the face, as can too much sodium. Processed foods, such as canned soups, are often packed with sodium, so look for low-sodium products and avoid adding salt to foods you prepare. Cutting back 250 calories per day and burning an additional 250 calories per day can help you lose a pound a week.

Wrinkle Return

One "advantage" of weight gain in the face is that it tends to fill out wrinkles and creases that come with age. So if you lose a lot of weight, you may find yourself with a few lines in your face you didn't know you had. If you lose a lot of weight over a fairly short time and are thinner than you have been in a long time, people may think you look gaunt and unhealthy. Much of that perception is based on the comparison of your current look to that of your heavier appearance to which your friends and family had grown accustomed. In addition, skin damaged by excessive sun exposure may not be as resilient after weight loss.

Steroid Concerns

Tew points out that when weight gain is the result of steroid medications, not anabolic steroids, the face may not assume its former shape. Facial skin that was stretched due to steroid medications may sag once the medications stop.

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