Why Are My Cheekbones Not Visible?

High and visible cheekbones are a highly desirable trait. People are naturally attracted to prominent cheekbones. Visible cheekbones also show that a person is trustworthy and sexually mature. However, there could be several reasons your cheekbones aren’t visible.

Your cheekbones could be less prominent because of cheekbone positioning, buccal fat, hypertrophied masseter muscles, hypertrophied buccinator muscles, body fat, and genetics.

In this article, I will explain what factors can affect cheekbone visibility. Additionally, I will discuss how you can make your cheekbones visible through mewing, cheek implants, dermal fillers, and buccal fat reduction.


Your genetics can play a huge factor in how visible your cheekbones are. For example, if both of your parents have very prominent cheekbones, there is a good chance that you will have visible cheekbones and vice versa.

Certain ethnic groups may have a higher likelihood of having visible cheekbones. For instance, Amerindians, Africans, and Asians often have high cheekbones.

High vs. Low Cheekbones

The zygoma, or cheekbone, connects your cranial and midfacial bones. Zygomatic positioning is important for facial appearance, as it determines whether you have high or low cheekbones. Cheekbone height, in turn, affects how visible your cheekbones are.

high cheekbones
High-set cheekbones. The cheekbone starts above the medial canthus of the eye and has a long ogee curve.
Low set cheekbones
Low-set cheekbones. The cheekbone starts halfway down the nose and has a short ogee curve.

If the zygoma bones are nearer your eyes, then you have high cheekbones. If the zygoma bones are nearer the bottom of your nose, then you have low cheekbones.

If you have high cheekbones, the area under your cheeks has more space for tissue than if you had low cheekbones. While this doesn’t guarantee that your cheekbones will be prominent, it certainly helps.

Masseter Hypertrophy

Masseter hypertrophy is an asymptomatic enlargement of either one or both of your masseter muscles. Your masseter muscles are primarily in charge of closing your jaw, and they are located under your cheekbone and near your ear.

Masseter hypertrophy causes a person to have larger-looking cheeks. Masseter hypertrophy fills up the space below the cheekbones, and it will further diminish your cheekbones’ appearance. While you usually do not need to get treatment for this and it should go away by itself, you can get botox injections if you want to treat it.

Masseter hypertrophy usually has an underlying cause, like excessive nighttime teeth grinding.

Body Fat

When you have a higher body fat percentage, your body fat can get distributed to your face, which leads to bigger cheeks and less prominent cheekbones. It is more commonly seen in women since women naturally carry more body fat than men.

Older people can also struggle with body fat since they have slower metabolism levels. Other factors that can increase body fat include family history, nutrition, hormonal changes like menopause, activity, etc.

If you want to lose weight to get more prominent cheekbones, you should forget about using a BMI calculator to calculate your body fat percentage. The BMI calculator does not consider how much muscle you have, and it is not an accurate measure of body fat (Romero-Corral et al., 2010).

However, losing a few pounds may not be enough to get prominent cheekbones, especially if you have a higher body fat percentage. Most people with extremely defined cheekbones often have visible abs and a pretty low body fat percentage.

My recommendation is to lose weight until you get an obvious six-pack and then lose a couple more pounds. Try to maintain this weight year-round. To learn how to lose body fat properly, visit our guide to shredding fat.

body fat and facial aesthetics
Effect of body fat on cheekbones


Mewing is a technique used to improve your facial structure, but it’s really nothing more than normal tongue posture. It can help you get more noticeable cheekbones, a stronger jawline, and get cheek hollows to achieve a model-like appearance.

To mew, just rest your tongue flat on your mouth’s upper palate, or the roof, while your teeth are touching. The idea is that the constant force this posture creates will help push your cheekbones up and help make your jawline look thinner and stronger.

To learn how to properly mew and learn more about it, see our ultimate guide. Click here to look at scientific studies related to mewing and its principles.

Mewing is not an overnight miracle – it can take at least six months up to a few years to see obvious results. You can see quicker and prominent results in children and teens because their bones are still developing.

However, there is still hope for adults. People who are 20-25 years old can see results from mewing after 1-2 years. However, it may be more difficult to see results for people who are 25-30 years old.

There is no definitive proof that mewing works for anyone who is 30 years old and above. As I mentioned earlier, mewing is still relatively new, so there are not enough available progress pictures to know whether it still works at an older age. But we do know that bones remodel through an entire lifetime.

Click here to see more information about how long mewing takes.

Ultimately, if it works for 18-year olds who are fully developed, it should still work for anyone at any age. If you want a quick fix to get higher cheekbones, though, you need more invasive options.

Cheek Implants

If you do not know what cheek implants are, they are solid implants usually made out of medical silicone to enhance your facial contours and give you more defined cheekbones. While these are permanent, you can also get implants removed.

The cheekbones can be custom made for your head by performing an initial CT scan. The software will also help you visualize how you’ll look after the surgery. It takes around 1-1.5 hours to complete a cheek implant surgery. To perform the procedure, you will be put under sedation and local anesthesia.

The surgeon will create an incision under your eyes or inside your mouth. Your surgeon will then exfoliate and scrape your cheekbones to get it ready for the implants. Your surgeon will carefully insert your implant while avoiding your nerves.

Once it is safely and properly inserted, your surgeon will use threads to suture closed the mucous membrane. Your after-care only lasts around 4-5 hours, and you can usually get your stitches removed in 7-10 days. However, you can take a look at the next step if you want a less invasive procedure.

Dermal Fillers

Fillers are a less invasive approach to getting more visible cheekbones. The process involves a doctor injecting gel made out of hyaluronic acid, which our body naturally produces into the desired area.

cheekbone filler male

A thin tube called a cannula is inserted into your face so the filler can enter the desired areas. You may experience a slight sting, but the pain will be minor compared to other more invasive surgeries. You can easily have your dermal fillers dissolved if you are not happy with the results.

However, you might not ever get your desired results with fillers if you want sharp cheekbones. The gel is soft and does not hold its shape, so it is not ideal for people who want hard edges or augmentation. The before/after pictures are taken right after injection. The shape that you see in the above photo does not always stick around.

Buccal Fat Reduction

This procedure will naturally make your cheekbones more visible and prominent by reducing fat from your cheeks. It’s perfect for faces that seem to have just a little too much baby fat.

A surgeon creates an incision in your mouth to avoid visible scarring. The surgeon then cuts until they reach the deep fat tissue layer. They then cut a section off the buccal fat pad. Once enough buccal fat is removed, the surgeon will stitch the incision closed.

Some people are hesitant about getting this surgery because the buccal fat pad naturally decreases as we age. However, doctors are aware of that fact, so they are careful about how much they take out. Plus, this means you will not have to wait until you are 60 to show off your cheekbones.

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