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

The Science Behind Weight Gain in Face

Face fat is a result of extra fat deposits building up around the sides of one’s face, causing it to become gradually rounder, fuller, and puffier. “Facial bloating will tend to fluctuate day to day depending on the underlying issue causing it,” Dr. 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.”

There are other factors that can contribute to a puffy face or chubby jowls. A person’s facial muscles and overall bone structure, for instance, plays a small part. Faces can appear fuller when the masseter muscles between the jaw and cheeks are overdeveloped, plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Cruise notes. But generally speaking, weight gain in the face is caused by weight gain overall, Dr. Cruise says. 

There are some important exceptions. 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 syndrome 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.

How to Lose Face Fat

In the absence of underlying conditions, getting slimmer cheeks comes 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.

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

A Cheat Sheet to Help you Lose Face Fat

  • Weight gain in the face is usually a symptom of weight gain overall.
  •  It could also be a side-effect of steroid treatment or a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome.
  • The best approach to getting rid of the moon face is dietary: This means limiting sugar, alcohol and salt intake, drinking plenty of water, eating more vegetables and fewer carbs.
  • Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Include cardio or aerobic exercise into your routine.
  • Facial bloating will tend to fluctuate day to day, so give it a few hours if you’re looking more bloated than usual.