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Why Is My Face Getting So Fat?

It might be time to make a few healthy changes before you lose your chin.

If the face that greets you in the mirror every morning is getting fatter, it’s likely a symptom of weight gain everywhere else. While genetics and hormonal factors can contribute to chubby cheeks and jowls, there are plenty of lifestyle adjustments that can help men to lose weight, reduce face fat, and keep the moon face from coming out. For better or worse, the secret to how to lose face fat is as simple as losing body fat anywhere: improved diet and exercise.

“Facial bloating will tend to fluctuate day to day depending on the underlying issue causing it,” plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Cruise explains. “Excess facial fat typically occurs from weight gain resulting from a poor diet, lack of exercise, aging or genetic conditions. Fat is usually more visible in the cheeks, jowls, under the chin and neck.”

Weight gain in the face happens when extra fat deposits build up around the sides, causing it to become gradually rounder, fuller, and puffier. A person’s facial muscles and overall bone structure play a small part. For instance, faces can appear fuller when the masseter muscles between the jaw and cheeks are overdeveloped, Cruise notes. The term “moon face” may be used in a doctor’s assessment of a fat face, but it refers to specific conditions: usually a side-effect of steroid treatment or a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome, which occurs when the body is exposed to excess cortisol for long periods of time. Cushing’s is typically caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland, or other adrenal gland diseases that affect hormone production, and can be treated with medication, radiation, and surgery. Other symptoms of Cushing’s include a fatty hump between your shoulders, erectile dysfunction, decreased fertility, pink and purple stretch marks, and depression.

Still, absent other symptoms, weight gain in the face is caused by weight gain overall, Cruise says. That’s not to say that getting rid of face fat is easy, but it does come down to meeting broader weight-loss and wellness goals. Facial exercises can help, but they’ll mostly just make you feel awkward in front of the mirror if you’re still housing burgers regularly without working out. Instead, try limiting sugar and salt intake, drinking plenty of water, getting more sleep, and managing your stress.

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“Weight loss can change the shape of your face,” Cruise says. “Integrate lifestyle changes to get your body healthier as a whole and incorporate exercise and a healthy well-balanced diet.”

How to Lose Face Fat: A Cheat Sheet

  • Weight gain in the face is usually a symptom of weight gain overall.
  • The best approach to getting rid of moon face, then, is dietary: This means limiting sugar and salt intake, drinking plenty of water, eating more vegetables and less carbs.
  • Yes, this means that exercise is another effective way of getting rid of face fat.
  • Facial bloating will tend to fluctuate day to day, so give it a few hours if you’re looking more bloated than usual. 
  • It’s not always about weight: Moon face can be a side effect of steroid treatment or a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome, which occurs when the body is exposed to excess cortisol for long periods of time.