How To Lose Weight In Your Face And The Common Causes Behind It

There is a range of different circumstances, health conditions, and lifestyle factors that can cause you to gain weight in your face. Perhaps you have noticed a more puffy appearance when you look in the mirror or excess fat underneath your eyes or chin.

Luckily, there are lots of steps you can take to lose weight in your face, live a healthier lifestyle, and achieve the aesthetic results you want. Read on to find out how to lose weight in your face and the common causes behind facial weight gain.

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What causes weight gain in the face?

The best first step to losing weight in your face is learning about the potential causes behind it. Being aware of these causes will help you achieve better results when approaching your weight loss journey and deciding on ways to tackle the problem.

Poor diet

A poor-quality diet has an impact on the amount of fat stored on your face and body. If your diet lacks essential nutrients and you are consuming more energy than you require, you are more susceptible to gaining weight. This is because you are creating a calorie surplus in your body. You may have a calorie surplus if your diet mainly consists of highly processed foods and drinks, as these are high in calories and low in nutrients.

A 2017 study¹ revealed that a high intake of salt over a long period of time can also lead to a puffy or bloated-looking face. This is because too much salt can result in water retention.


Genetics can also dictate your face shape and play a role in fat storage. For this reason, it is impossible to spot-reduce facial fat — in other words, to reduce fat in your face specifically. However, overall weight loss may help you to lose unwanted fat from your face.

Not only is your facial bone structure linked to your ancestry, but the chances of being overweight or obese are also influenced by genetics. According to a 2017 study², genetic factors combined with environmental factors (for example, access to healthy foods, lifestyle, and fast food consumption) impact the development of obesity. Being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese affects the amount of fat that builds up in your face.


Many changes to your body happen as you age. Body composition changes with age, and even those individuals who are healthy and considered “weight-stable” may experience a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in body fat, resulting in more fat being stored in the face.


It isn't uncommon for a woman’s face to swell just before or during menstruation and even as a result of perimenopause (the period of transition that leads to menopause). Since you experience a spike in a hormone called progesterone which is responsible for many PMS symptoms that arise, you may also experience swelling in your face that can be mistaken for weight gain.

According to Dr. Lauren Jane from Happy Healthy You³, perimenopausal women often experience, on average, a 10% increase in total fat mass in their bodies. The redistribution of fat stores varies from person to person, suggesting that weight gain in the face can be a potential symptom.

Lack of exercise

A lack of exercise can lead to higher body fat percentages, especially when combined with a poor quality diet that provides more energy than your body requires. Exercising burns fat and tones muscles, so it’s a crucial part of maintaining healthy body weight and shape.

Alcohol consumption

Consuming too much alcohol may cause you to gain weight in your face. A 2010 study⁴ found a connection between the amount of alcohol participants consumed over a decade and the amount of weight they gained over that same time period. Drinkers who were of average weight at the beginning of the study were more at risk of gaining weight and becoming overweight/obese than non-drinkers.

What are the dangers of weight gain in the face?

It is important to consider the link between the amount of fat on your face and the associated health risks. Having excess fat on your face suggests you may be overweight or obese, increasing your risk of developing many chronic health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

According to a 2018 study⁵, there is a specific association between added weight on an individual's face and the development of health conditions. These include high blood pressure, low immunity, mental health issues, and unbalanced hormone levels.

How to lose weight in your face

Since weight gain in your face is heavily linked to weight gain in other areas of your body, you can take steps to reduce your overall body fat mass and maintain a healthy level. However, there are some specific actions that have been shown to help individuals address weight gain in their faces.

Address your hormone levels

If you notice that you seem to gain weight on your face around the time of your period or suspect that you’re perimenopausal, it may be beneficial to discuss your hormone balance with your doctor. They may be able to assist in balancing your hormones to combat the appearance of weight gain in your face.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep has been linked to many health benefits, including weight stabilization and fat loss. A lack of quality sleep makes individuals more likely to over-consume foods and raises hunger and stress hormones in the body, sometimes resulting in weight gain.

A 2016 study⁶ evaluated the connection between weight loss and the quantity and quality of sleep in 245 female participants, both pre and post-menopausal. The study found that women with poor sleep found losing weight more challenging than women who had good quality sleep. In a continued study that extended for 24 months, the report found a link between maintaining weight loss and the participants’ quantity and quality of sleep.

Ultimately, getting plenty of high-quality rest may help you to lose weight from your face.

Eat a nutritious diet

It should come as no surprise that a healthy, nutritious diet can assist with weight loss in your face since a poor diet that is high in calories and low in nutritional value is closely associated with weight gain.

Here are the areas of your diet that should be given special attention:

  • Salt

  • Refined carbs

  • Fiber

Salt from processed and fast food items has been shown in studies to cause facial swelling due to increased water retention. Reducing your consumption of high-salt foods such as fast food and processed food may help you achieve a less bloated and puffy facial appearance.

Refined carbohydrates are another food item that can cause your face to store water and excess fat. These include pasta, white bread, white rice, crackers, breakfast cereals, and cookies. In fact, a 2019 study⁷ with female participants showed a direct link between an increased intake of refined carbs and the risk for obesity. Swapping refined carbs for healthy carbs like vegetables, whole fruits, and whole grains can aid in overall and facial fat loss and reduce the associated health risks.

Fiber is highly recommended for weight loss because it curbs your appetite and makes you feel fuller for longer. According to a 2019 study⁸ that evaluated 345 participants, dietary fiber intake alone can promote weight loss among overweight and obese adults participating in a calorie-restricted diet. A 2020 review⁹ adds that soluble fiber can reduce body weight even without restricting calories.

Take care of what you drink

Being mindful of what you drink is another effective way to lose weight from your face.

Water is an important component of your diet. Not only is water beneficial for your body’s overall health, but it can even improve weight loss results. Studies have reported that drinking a glass of water before consuming your next meal can help you to consume fewer calories (2018)¹⁰, which could ultimately lead to a leaner face shape.

Alcohol consumption is something else to be aware of. Beer, wine, and spirits contain a lot of calories with practically no nutritional value. If you regularly drink high quantities of alcohol, it could lead to energy overconsumption and weight gain in your face. By reducing and limiting your alcohol intake, you may notice a difference in your overall body weight and the weight you see on your face.

Exercise regularly

By upping your exercise regime, getting your heart pumping, and using your muscles, you can reduce your overall body weight. However, there are at least two exercises that have been shown to reduce weight in the face specifically. These are:

A 2014 study¹¹ and a 2013 study¹² reported that facial exercises may be beneficial for aiding weight loss in your face, muscle strength, and maintaining a youthful appearance. However, such studies are quite limited, and substantial research is yet to be carried out to find a consistent connection between facial exercises and losing weight from the face.

Some of the most popular exercise trends for facial weight loss include the “brow raiser”, the “cheekbone lift”, the “chipmunk cheek squeeze”, the “jaw flex”, and the “pufferfish press”³.

Various studies have shown cardio to be an effective tool to use against excess fat. Popular cardio exercises include swimming, running, brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and water aerobics.

The lowdown

When facial fat is related to an individual being overweight or obese, there is an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mental illnesses. However, your face can gain weight for a number of additional reasons that you may not have control over, including genetics and the effects of aging.

Discussing the changes in your face, what results you would like to see, and potential causes of facial weight gain with your doctor can help you to discover the best way to lose weight in your face and live a healthier lifestyle.

In summary, there are several steps you can take to lose weight in your face:

  • Limit your intake of salt

  • Add more fiber to your diet

  • Drink more water

  • Avoid refined carbs

  • Keep active and exercise often

  • Try facial exercises

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Speak with your doctor about any potential hormone imbalances

  • Avoid drinking alcohol in excess

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