What are the main causes of sunken cheeks?

What are the main causes of sunken cheeks? Is this something that is hereditary or can it happen as a result of things throughout life? My cheeks have recently become pretty sunken and they never were in the past. Should I be concerned that I have some type medical problem?

Annette1962

F, 56, California

Tags:woman age 45-54 cheeks hollow cheeks

Consensus

  • Loss of volume in cheeks is usually the result of aging. As we age, our skin begins to lose some of its elasticity and we lose some of the fat in our cheeks.
  • Other factors, such as major weight loss, can contribute to sunken cheeks. It is also possible to be genetically predisposed to hollow cheeks.
  • In some cases, sunken cheeks may be a sign of serious medical conditions, including cancer and tuberculosis. It is highly recommended to consult with a doctor to rule out other medical issues.
  • Fat transfers, as well as dermal fillers like Juvederm, Radiesse, and Restylane can be used to add volume to cheeks and create a more youthful appearance.

The consensus is based on 7 doctor replies to this question. For more details, scroll down to read them.


Loss of volume in the cheeks is usually the result of the aging process. As we age, our skin begins to lose some of its elasticity and we lose some of the fat in our cheeks. This can give cheeks a hollow or sunken appearance.

Sunken cheeks can also be the result of major weight loss or may be associated with certain medical conditions. If you have not yet done so, I highly recommend booking a consultation with a physician to rule out the possibility of a medical issue.

In terms of treatment, there are a few different options for restoring volume to your cheeks. Fat transfers, as well as dermal fillers like Juvederm, Radiesse, and Restylane can be used to add volume and create a more youthful appearance.

There are also a variety of more invasive surgical options that can help rejuvenate the cheeks. The exact modality will depend on your cosmetic goals and specific facial anatomy. Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options.

Sunken cheeks are a common complaint. They’re something that occurs naturally with healthy skin as part of the aging process, or resulting from major weight loss.

As we age, gravity takes its toll on the facial skin and the natural fat pads between the cheekbones and jawline. As our facial skin shifts downwards and loses volume, the cheekbones and jawline begin to look more prominent -- and the cheeks can sink inwards.

To answer your question about potential medical issues related to sunken cheeks: yes, it's possible. There are many medical conditions from anorexia to cancer associated with weight loss. If you feel like your weight loss is not attributable to diet, exercise or natural aging -- please consult with a physician as soon as possible.

I can't give you any specific medical advice without a direct examination, but in most of the cases I see, sagging skin, volume loss and a small degree of muscle wasting are attributable to aging or diet.

There are some claims that diligent skin care can restore some level of collagen production -- or that facial exercise programs can help to slow volume loss in the face by building up facial muscles -- but in my experience even good exercise won't do much to reverse hollow cheeks.

The good news is there are many effective cosmetic treatment options which can restore a youthful appearance to the face. These include hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers and fat transfers, as well as other, more invasive, surgical procedures.

Sunken cheeks have a few possible causes. In most cases the loss of volume in the mid-face and cheeks is either a natural part of aging or results from weight loss.

Aging is the most common cause. The production of collagen tissue slows naturally as we get older, leading to a decrease in skin elasticity. Our muscle structure also tends to degrade with age.

For some of us, these effects are more noticeable than with others. The extent to which we experience age-related volume loss and loss of elasticity in our facial skin differs from person to person, based on our unique facial features and overall metabolism.

A similar dynamic can also occur when we lose weight. When the pounds come off, some subcutaneous fat loss invariably occurs in the cheeks and jawline as well.

To answer your question about other potential medical conditions that cause depressions on the face: yes, there are many medical conditions (some very serious) that lead to weight loss.

If you are experiencing a large amount of unexplained weight-loss, you should consult with a physician. In the vast majority of cases, however, hollow cheeks can be explained by aging and natural changes in weight due to diet and exercise.

If your loss of cheek volume is bothering you, I advise you to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to discuss the full range of cosmetic procedures available to rejuvenate the mid-face. These can include a face lift, fat grafting, injectable dermal fillers, or facial implants.

Well, there are several potential reasons for sunken cheeks. Most are usually due to aging or weight loss, but other reasons should not be ruled out.

As we get older we begin to lose skin elasticity in our face, causing some areas to droop. This drooping can give the appearance of hollow cheeks. Each person's facial features, jaw line, and metabolism are different and so are the causes.

Sometimes sunken cheeks are the result of weight loss. Unfortunately, as you lose weight and shed those extra pounds, your face will also show signs of weight loss.

There are, of course, other medical conditions that can lead to a drooping or hollowing of your cheeks.  I suggest you consult a physician to rule out any medical conditions first. If you want to bring back the look of fuller cheeks, there are some cosmetic procedures that you can investigate to rejuvenate the area. They range from dermal fillers to cheek and facial implants all the way to full facelift surgery.

The main causes of sunken cheeks are aging and weight loss. It's entirely natural for cheeks to thin and appear sunken as we age. Some women prefer the look and have their buccal fat removed in order to have a sculptured look to their cheeks, but when they age, it can have a very exaggerated effect of looking gaunt. Most women prefer to have their cheeks plumped for a more healthy look. This can be achieved with use of modern facial fillers or fat transfer. You might consider consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has experience with facial surgeries to get his/her opinion on your best options.

As we age, we tend to lose fat and skin elasticity in our face, plus weight loss can lead to hollow-looking cheeks. While weight loss has a positive impact on your body, it tends to have a less than positive impact on your face later in life.

Before considering a visit to a board-certified plastic surgeon to see if you are a candidate for a surgical procedure, or before trying home remedies, online wonder cures, or facial exercises, you should check with a physician to rule out that your sunken cheeks are not caused by a medical condition.  This includes physical ailments like cancer, diabetes, allergies, poor diet, and smoking, but also certain mental health issues like depression.

There are a number of treatment options available to help with your issue.  Some are non-surgical, others are surgical. Talk to your doctor. Rule out medical conditions first and, once it’s (hopefully) been established you aren’t indeed suffering a serious ailment, do some research into procedures that could provide you with the look you desire.

Thank you for sharing your question.  The look you are describing could be caused by weight loss, or age.  As we age, the fat pads in our face start to droop, and uncover areas of the face that would make it seem as if a hollowed area is forming.  Face Fillers and/or Facelift Surgery would be options for you to consider if you are looking to correct this.  Please see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area for a Consultation.  I hope this was helpful to you.

Best Wishes, Dr. B.


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