Sunken Cheeks [The Magnum Guide]

Sunken cheeks can give a worn appearance that makes most people look old and malnourished. In most cases, when not handled properly, sunken cheeks emulate the lack of energy and a general look of disarray. Due to that, many people view it as a problem. The rest of this article will go through the different causes and possible treatments for sunken cheeks.

The most common causes of sunken cheeks are aging and malnutrition. However, it could also be due to lifestyle, vices, and serious health conditions like eating disorders. The easiest way to treat sunken cheeks is to get facial fillers. But getting more calories is a good first step.

Sunken cheeks result from the lack of facial fat in the middle of your cheekbones and jawline. This lack of fat generally translates into unattractiveness. Since sunken cheeks and aging go hand in hand, people view sunken cheeks as the opposite of youthful. Overall, that can result in an undesirable appearance.

However, sunken cheeks are not always a bad thing. Many models and celebrities rock the hollow cheek look. For some people, it works for their aesthetic, and they can play it to their advantage. You have probably noticed a trend towards more angular appearances lately. The sunken cheeks aesthetic is part of that brand, and many people covet that sharp edge to their faces. To find out how to get hollow model-like cheeks, visit our guide

But whether it looks pleasing or not depends on the overall aesthetic of a person. Sunken cheeks are a subjective feature that some may like, and some won’t.

The Area Around the Cheeks

The cheeks are generally in the area right in the middle of the cheekbones and the jaw. Ideally, this area should fill out. In a young person, this area will usually be full, which is why you will see a lot of kids with chubby cheeks. As people age further and start to grow into their faces during puberty, they will see a change in this area.

zygomatic bones
Zygomatic Region

Some people see a loss of baby fat, resulting in a more hollowed out cheek and better-looking jaw. For others, their baby fat does not go away and remains there for the most part. These are people who have the appearance of having rounded cheeks. None of these are necessarily bad. And there is no universally accepted appearance of how cheeks should look like. 

Causes of Sunken Cheeks

There are many different causes that we attribute to sunken cheeks. Sometimes, people are born with naturally sunken cheeks and could have them for the rest of their lives. For some, it directly affects their lifestyle choices and how they choose to take care of their bodies. If you just noticed brand new cheekbone puffiness or swelling, then it could be a sign of a medical problem. 


Aging is probably the top reason on this list. If you have people in your life who are already in their older years, you will notice the difference. Younger people tend to have a more robust appearance in the face than the gaunt appearance of an older person’s sunken cheeks.

The process of aging and the appearance of sunken cheeks does not begin in the senior years. It can start quite early and is noticeable even before that time. Generally speaking, aging can spark many facial changes in any person. It happens that one of the most prominent of these changes is the effect of sunken cheeks.

The cheekbone literally loses mass with aging. Check out the above video for an explanation of the other facial changes that occur with aging.

Take a look at this quick graphic of the normal changes to the face with age. The hollowing of the midface and losing fat in the cheeks is normal.

Source: Gross Pointe Dermatology

The effect of sunken cheeks due to aging is because of the reduction in fat and skin elasticity throughout the years (Kaur et al., 2015)


Remember that the reason that cheeks fill out is because of fat, specifically, subcutaneous fat. This fat sits right beneath your skin and is the main contributor to the cheeks’ full appearance. Without it, or with a limited supply of it, cheeks will not look full.

If you have ever tried going on a diet to lose weight, you will know that facial fat also goes away, like all other fat in the body. It follows that not eating the right amount of food and not getting enough nutrients will also result in a sunken cheek appearance.

For some, this result is the desired effect. However, malnutrition can be the product of circumstances as well. Some people do not get enough to eat and will descend slowly into sunken cheek territory. Sometimes, malnutrition is an effect of an eating disorder. It can be quite serious if not treated properly and is not something to be taken lightly. 

In the same line of thought, serious illnesses could also cause sunken cheeks. Any illness that makes someone lose weight also brings changes to the face—namely, the cheeks. People who are afflicted with chronic illnesses are victims of this.


Another contributor to sunken cheeks is how someone lives their life. These changes involve anything from vices to proper dietary habits. 

For instance, substance abuse eventually leads to a sped-up aging process. This appearance is why you see addiction presented in the media as people who have sunken eyes, cheeks, and generally unhealthy appearance. Substance abuse not only results in drastic changes to the body and how it works, but it also does a lot to the face. 

Another lifestyle choice that results in sunken cheeks is the lack of proper sleep. It is no secret that sleeping late and not getting enough rest will give someone eye bags. However, dark circles are not the only consequence. As a result of inadequate rest, the cheeks will also suffer. Without the help of proper rest in cell regeneration, aging will speed up and come before you know it.

While lifestyle choices are deeply personal and vary from person to person, everyone should take them seriously. When you exercise for health, please do not overdo it. When you try to diet your way to weight loss, please do not overdo it. Moderation can bring great results, but excessive actions result in negative consequences.

Treatments for Sunken Cheeks

Proper Nutrition

If the cause for sunken cheeks is malnutrition (which is the case in many situations), the best move is to live a healthier life. Eating the right amount of food and getting the appropriate amount of exercise are good steps to begin with.

Of course, it may not take effect immediately. Changing a lifestyle for the better takes a lot of time and work. Plus, there is no one size fits all solution for it. 

However, consider that proper nutrition depends a lot on what your body’s personal needs are. If your sunken cheeks result from an illness or deficiency, make sure to check with your doctor beforehand. That way, you can get a diet plan or suggestion that is suited to your needs.

Facial Fillers

Source: Dr. David Stoker

Facial fillers are an easy way to improve the hollow state of one’s cheeks. The procedure is relatively easy and low risk. It only involves injecting a certain compound to accentuate and fill the hollowed-out portion of the cheeks.

Facial fillers are popular nowadays because they provide a solution to facial aesthetics without the commitment of going under the knife. A common material used as a facial filler is hyaluronic acid. This compound is naturally occurring in the body, which makes it even better. 

However, facial fillers are not permanent. Maintenance fillers are required to keep up the appearance of full cheeks. As such, it can get pretty expensive to do it on a long-term basis.


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