6 Ways to Make Your Face Look Slimmer Without Losing Weight
Zoom has done so many things for us, good and not always so good. On the not-so-good side of the equation: Making us think we have more—as the internet puts it—”face fat” than we used to have. If it’s concerning you, we encourage you to look farther than the camera on your phone or computer, which may not be reflecting reality.
A group of researchers surveyed dermatologists and, in a paper published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, described the phenomenon of device-adjusted self-image as “Zoom dysmorphia.”
In other words, Zoom—and other tech that you use with front-facing cameras—can make you look different than you actually do. What’s kind of wild about all this, the paper goes on to say, is that Zoom dysmorphia might be driving people to get cosmetic procedures to change how they look.
There’s no need to get that drastic. Even if weight gain really is showing up in your face, there are certain things that you can do help that don’t require a going under the knife or the needle.
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as targeted facial weight loss. “As much as it would be great to be able to pick and choose where we lose weight, it isn’t possible,” explains Nicole Avena, Ph.D., a nutrition and dieting expert and neuroscience professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “We really don’t have control over where our body loses fat from first when we start to lose weight.” In other words, there’s no workout or device (and there are a few out there) that’ll help you lose weight in your face specifically. We will admit that losing weight in general usually helps you lose it in your face—that’s clear from people experiencing the gaunt look that’s been dubbed “Ozempic face.” But that’s not the only way.
So even though you can’t really lose weight in your face specifically, there are a few things you can do to expose your facial structure. Here are those strategies.
Cut back on salt to reduce facial puffiness
“Water is attracted to sodium like a magnet,” says Melissa Majumdar, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Any time we eat foods that are high in sodium, we’ll retain more water, which can cause bloating and the feeling of puffiness.”
To lower your sodium intake, Majumdar recommends cutting down on processed foods (yes, that does include bacon), and boosting your potassium intake to balance out your electrolytes.
“Adding in more fresh foods like produce can accomplish both the short-term goal of less puffiness and the long-term goal of weight loss,” Majumdar says. She notes that “most fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium.” So are legumes, so fill up on foods such as lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans.
Befriend the non-alcoholic drink, at least some of the night
If you notice your face looks swollen the morning after a few drinks, that’s because alcohol dehydrates the body—so your skin tries to retain as much water as possible.
Cutting down on booze can help, as can making sure you drink enough water. Keep in mind that cutting down on alcohol these days doesn’t mean giving up on taste.
These kind of amazing non-alcoholic beers prove that point well.
Check with a doctor
If changing your diet and cutting out alcohol don’t make a difference, you might want to get a check-up. Allergies, a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis, or a sinus problem won’t cause weight gain in your face, but can all cause facial swelling, and they’re all treatable.
Grow out your facial hair
Giving the scruffy look a try can be an effortless way to hide unwanted facial fat, according to Jaimie DeRosa, M.D., a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and founder and lead facial plastic surgeon of DeRosa Center Plastic Surgery & Med Spa in Boston and Palm Beach. Growing your facial hair, “can help better define the jawline from the neck,” she says. “It also helps to make the chin look stronger, too.”
Choose a haircut with your face in mind
The simple change of a haircut can have an impact on your facial shape and appearance. “In general, haircuts that keep the sides of the hair short with more height and/or fullness on top will help ‘pull’ the face up and make it look less full,” Dr. De Rosa says.
Make your eyewear work for you
The right eyeglasses can highlight or conceal certain aspects of your facial appearance.
“If your face is more square-shaped, then wearing a frame that is round will help soften your angular features and a more oval frame will help to soften the squareness of the face,” Dr. DeRosa says. “For a more rounded face, choose a frame that is bold and more angular, which will help to better define the face and draw attention away from fullness.”
Nina is a health and culture reporter who has written for SELF, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, the New York Times, and more. She loves vegetable gardening, crossword puzzles, and her beloved mystery mutt.
Paul is the Food & Nutrition Editor of Men’s Health. He’s also the author of two cookbooks: Guy Gourmet and A Man, A Pan, A Plan.
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