Do Faces Get Wider with Age?


We usually associate wide and round faces with children, but you might notice that your face is getting wider as you age.

Your face can get wider with age. Our bones are continually growing and changing as we age. Cheekbones usually lose mass with age, but the jaw can become wider with age. Weight gain, constant chewing, and hyperthyroidism can also cause the face to widen.

To get a better idea of how your face gets wider with age, what other ways your face gets wider, and how to enhance your face shape, here is what you need to know.

Your Bones Are Constantly Changing

We never truly stop growing, even after we’re done with puberty. Our skeleton grows around 10% larger the older we get (Garn et al., 1967). So, your entire facial skeleton will also grow as you age.

One part of our face that grows and makes our face look wider as we age is the lower jaw. Here is a quick look as to why that is.

The Lower Jaw

As people get older, their jaws grow, widen, then “drop.” The mandible’s angle significantly increases as people age for both men and women (Shaw et al., 2010).

However, that does not mean that the face grows evenly and in proportion. The jaw remodels faster than other parts of the facial skeleton.

The jaw gets larger as we get older, “drops,” and protrudes forward, making you have a wider face. So, instead of your face merely getting bigger, your face will seem wider because of your lower jaw.

For more info on how the facial skeleton changes with age, check out our video on the topic:

Other Reasons Your Face Gets Wider

However, age is not the only reason people’s faces get wider.

There are other reasons or additional factors as to why your face is getting wider, which includes:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Constantly Chewing
  • Square Jaw Shape
  • Wide and Low Cheekbones
  • Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a kind of condition where your thyroid does not create enough crucial hormones. Puffy face and weight gain are common symptoms of hypothyroidism.

The mixture of both weight gain and puffiness in the face could make your face look much wider than it used to.

Treatment for hypothyroidism will depend on your doctor. However, standard treatment involves taking synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine daily. The medication can potentially reverse weight gain, which can help you get a slimmer face.

Constantly Chewing

Think about any muscle in your body – the more it works, the larger and stronger it gets. Your jaw has muscles, so the more that you work your jaw, the larger the muscles will become. If you see a chronic gum chewer, they often have a broader jawline. Chew too much, and it will be aesthetically unpleasing. But you can also use this in your favor to get a wider jaw if you think you’d look better with one.

In some cases, a person may have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), making you grind or clench your teeth, which strengthens your jaw muscles.

As the muscles grow and get stronger, they make the jawline look bigger and squarer. If your face looks wider because of your jaw muscles, your doctor may offer you Botox injections. Botox injections help reduce the size of the muscles. You can use it to decrease the enlarged jaw muscle size to get a slimmer face. Botox works because it blocks signals from your muscle’s nerves to prevent contraction.

When you avoid contractions of the muscle, it will stop growing and start to atrophy. This will reduce the prominence of your jaw. However, despite the decrease in jaw muscles, most patients do not experience a big difference when they chew or bite food.

Remember that you cannot get Botox injections if your jaw bone is naturally square. Botox only affects muscle, not bone.

Square Jaw

If you have a wide face because you have a square jaw, you can consider getting jaw reduction surgery, also known as jaw shaving. This surgery helps you get a smaller and more symmetrical jawline, which will make your face look smaller.

Your surgeon will create an incision in your mouth near your gums to perform the procedure. Your surgeon will then use a laser saw or micro-saw to carve out your desired jaw shape. The surgeon will use dissolvable stitches to suture the stitches closed.

Most patients get discharged from the hospital 1-2 days after the procedure. You need to go to follow-ups with your surgeon to make sure you are healing properly.

However, it is not always the jaw that can make your face look wide – it can be your cheekbones.

Wide and Low Cheekbones

Some people’s cheekbones protrude to the sides, making a face appear wider, especially if you have a wide jaw or large cheeks. You can get cheek reduction surgery to decrease your cheekbones’ size to get a slimmer face shape.

Your surgeon may use the malar rotation technique for wide cheeks. It will make your cheekbones protrude to the front rather than the sides. This surgery will improve bone contact, which will help you get a smaller, more defined appearance.

You may have to stay in the hospital for two days. Most people can get their stitches removed after 7-10 days. However, people with sensitive skin may have to wait longer.

If you want to enhance cheekbones and get cheek hollows, see our guide.

Weight Gain

Some people don’t have enough fat in their face and can look gaunt. However, if you have a lot of excess fat, it can make your face look fuller. When you gain weight, you get excess fat, which can get distributed to your face. Common reasons for excess facial fat are genetic conditions, aging, lack of exercise, a poor diet, etc.

In some cases, though, people may experience fluctuating facial bloating. The consistency of facial bloating can depend on the underlying cause. For instance, the high consumption of sugar and salt can cause your face to bloat.

To naturally decrease the width and fullness of your face, you need to try losing weight. Most models that you see have cheekbones and strong jaws that make their faces look slimmer, and that is because they have low body fat.

If you have a wider face because of excess facial fat, then the straightforward solution is to lose weight. However, you should not use a BMI calculator. It’s too simple of a calculation, and the height divides the weight by too much if you are short, and too little if you are tall. Plus, the BMI calculator does not consider how much muscle you have. So if you are a bodybuilder, it could say that you are overweight. Measuring body fat percentage has a similar pitfall; you could be skinny and no muscles at 10% body fat, or you could be very muscular and still have a bunch of fat.

Instead, I would suggest that you drop weight until you have clear cut abs, then lose a few more pounds. If your face still looks wide from excess facial fat despite the weight loss, you can try buccal fat removal.

Buccal Fat Removal Before/After

Your surgeon simply removes small amounts of the buccal fat pad. It helps you achieve a slimmer, more defined face. The amount that the surgeon removes will depend on your case and the results you want.

Some people are reluctant to get this because the face naturally loses fat as you age. People assume that it will speed up the aging process. Of course, surgeons are aware of this, which is why they leave some fat in your cheeks. Plus, this means you will not have to wait 10-20 more years to have a slimmer face. You can get the results immediately with buccal fat removal. It’s important to look good in your 20s and 30s.

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