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Causes And Treatments Of Hollow Cheeks

Barring unexpected death we will all grow old, that is a fact which cannot contend with. As we grow older our bodies start to undergo certain changes; our hearing starts to fail, our sights begin to dim and our joints may start to ache. Basically, the body begins to fail at things it easily carried out when we were younger.

One of the changes that do happen to people as they age is the development of hollow or sunken cheeks. For many, this is an inevitable aspect of aging. Sunken cheeks and the resulting volume loss come as a result of the body’s reduction in the production of subcutaneous fat and collagen. Collagen is the ingredient in charge of maintaining good looking skin; this covers skin elasticity and plumpness of the face. The subcutaneous fat refers to the fat below the dermal layer of the skin responsible for making the cheek and face chubby.

Aside from aging, there are a few other elements that can bring about sunken cheeks, they are; sudden weight depreciation, bad lifestyle behavior, smoking, and some diseases.


A few years back, having sunken cheeks and bony figure were some of the hallmarks of models and the credential of high fashion. But that time seems to have passed as beauty now is about the plump and full. As we grow older the skin thins, lose its elasticity and its luster. Our cheeks recede into the cheekbone, making our jawline and cheekbone more obvious and the need for cheek enhancement or augmentation becomes more prevalent .

In spite of the fact that some people see no problem with possessing a slimmer look or having hollow cheeks, for others this may make them self-conscious, especially if there is volume loss in other parts of the face such as under eye hollows.  Collagen loss in multiple places can definitely give the appearance of looking less youthful.  If you do not like the depressions on areas of the face, then you may choose to try out a cheek augmentation operation or injecting cheek fillers.

There are several tried and true options that can help restore a plump face in the cheek area, this could be fillers or surgery. On the other hand, there are facial exercises and home solutions which can be employed for those who are not comfortable with needles or going for surgery or can’t spend money on a professional procedure. The problem, however, with the natural remedy and facial exercise option is that there is no evidence that they actually work.  Depending on the severity of the volume loss in the sunken cheek area, cheek enhancement with fillers, fat injections or possibly cheek implants could be the best course of action/

Sunken cheeks and sunken face causes

-As people age, collagen generation in the body reduces. Collagen is responsible for skin elasticity, plumpness and the general health of the skin. The lack of collagen in the skin causes it to sag, lose its shine and get wrinkled.

-Also, the body generates subcutaneous fat which is a subdermal fat in charge of making the face and cheek chubby. As we grow older, the production of subcutaneous fat in the body begins to reduce.

-As we grow older the fats pads in the cheek start to drop due to the pull of gravity, leading to a dropping skin and bone.


-There are some other factors or conditions that can lead to sunken cheeks, beside ageing. Starvation or poor diet can lead to significant loss of fat in cheek which can give it a hollow look.

Bad behaviour such as smoking can also cause the skin to lose its elasticity and luster. This is by preventing blood vessels from being able to deliver important nutrients needed by the cells of the face. Some diseases and conditions can also cause sunken cheeks, particularly those responsible for a significant loss or body wasting, for instance, body wasting conditions like anorexia. This can burn the fat of the cheek and result to a depressed look.

How to treat sunken cheeks

If you are not comfortable with your look because of a sunken cheek, there are a couple of options available to you. There is a wide range of treatment for sunken cheeks, whichever one you choose would be determined by your budget, your condition or personal preference. However, many experts would suggest a blend of different treatment to get the most preferred results. Below are some of the treatments available for sunken cheeks;

1. Soft Tissue Filler:

This is about the most popular treatment option for sunken cheeks. It is a non-surgical option for people who want a simple and quick treatment. For this treatment, soft tissue fillers or hyaluronic acid fillers, example; Radiesse and Juvederm are injected into the hollowed portion of the cheek to add volume to the area.

Although it is the primary choice for most people, soft tissue fillers come with a few cons. It is a temporary treatment option. Each treatment is expected to last for between 6 months to 1 year, after which you are to return for another injection. This can be very expensive if considered as the solution for a long term basis. The cost range for each treatment is between $500 to $1500, this is actually dependant on the injection choice used.  Some of the best facial fillers for cheek enhancement are Juvederm Voluma, Restlyane Lyft and Scultra Aesthetics.  Sculptra lasts longer than Voluma, however, since it is not an HA filler, it is not reversible.


2. Fat Grafting:

Fat grafting, which is also called microlipoinjection or fat transfer, is a more permanent solution to sunken cheek compared to soft tissue fillers. This procedure is similar to that done for patients with burn injury. While under anesthesia, fats from the person’s abs or thigh are extracted using needles or through surgery, and will be injected into the cheeks.

In fat grafting or fat transfer, the depleted fat in the cheek is replaced by fat extracted from other side of the body. The financial requirement for this procedure varies.

3. Cheek implant:

This is another permanent treatment option for sunken cheek. Cheek implant involves the implantation of body safe implants made from flexible silicone so as to increase the size of the recessed area of the cheek. This will add volume to the cheek and increase the projection of the cheekbones.

One of the major pros of cheek implant is that it can be easily removed if the patient is not pleased with the work. The procedure is straightforward and less risky. The con, however, is that like any other surgical procedure cheek implant requires a recovery period and a few people complain of slight discomfort for about a week following the surgery.

4. Collagen Stimulators:

Since it is the body’s inability to produce enough collagen that leads majorly to sunken cheeks, it is only rational that re-stimulating the process of production can reverse the condition. Collagen stimulator is another treatment option and a veritable alternative to soft tissue filler. Made from synthesized lactic acid, these stimulators can help the body regenerate collagen tissue, giving a sleek and plump appearance.

One of the major pros of collagen stimulators is that it last longer. It is costly than soft tissue fillers.


Home solutions and facial exercise

For those who may be uncomfortable with going for surgery, facial exercises and home remedies may be your next option to help with hollow cheeks or sunken cheeks. Some people prescribe that filling your mouth with air and holding it closed can help to fix loosed skin of the face. But the question is; do they really work? There is little scientific proof to back up facial exercise potency. What is known, however, is these exercises can burn calories and burn the few fats cells that is left in your cheek.

For home or natural remedies, ingredients such as vitamin C, antioxidant and hyaluronic acid are claimed to have the ability to boost collagen production, which would lead to a more plump face. Fatty acid rich moisturizers, such as shea butter, are also believed to help skin elasticity.


Perhaps you have concluded on getting a cheek modification surgery, the thing to do is to have a conversation with a reputed plastic surgeon, who can suggest to you the most appropriate treatment bearing in mind your needs and budget.


Interested to know more about sunken cheeks in Santa Barbara? Wondering if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure? Schedule your plastic surgery consultation today!  Call Dr. Sheffield at our Santa Barbara office (805) 318-3280.

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