What to do to reduce facial fat
Making certain lifestyle changes can help a person lose weight and achieve a slimmer looking face.
This article outlines seven effective tips that may help prevent and reduce excess facial fat.
1. Practice cardio exercise
Regular cardiovascular exercise may help reduce face fat.
Weight loss in general tends to have a slimming effect on the face.
There are many different types of exercise, and some are more effective at promoting weight loss than others.
One 2012 study investigated the effects of different types of exercise on fat mass in people with overweight and obesity. In total, 119 adults took part in one of the following three 8-month exercise programs:
- aerobics training (AT), a type of cardiovascular exercise
- resistance training (RT), which primarily builds lean muscle
- a combination of AT and RT
Both the AT group and the combination group showed greater reductions in fat mass compared with the RT group. However, there was no significant difference in outcomes between these groups.
The study authors therefore conclude that people mainly looking to burn fat should opt for AT exercises over RT exercises.
People can perform cardio exercises at a low, moderate, or high intensity. According to some research, performing higher intensity cardio workouts several times per week helps burn more fat.
For example, a 2015 study investigated the effects of different amounts of exercise on body fat in postmenopausal women. All participants took part in moderate-to-high intensity workouts for 12 months. Those who worked out for 300 minutes each week burned more fat than those who performed workouts for 150 minutes per week.
Although these studies did not measure facial fat loss directly, they suggest that cardio exercise is particularly effective at burning fat.
Overall, weight loss in general is likely to have a slimming effect on the face.
2. Perform facial exercises
There is some evidence to suggest that exercising the facial muscles can help reduce facial fat.
For example, a 2014 article in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research suggests that performing facial exercises may help strengthen and tone the facial muscles. However, it is not clear whether these exercises also help reduce facial fat.
In fact, there are no studies that look at the relationship between facial exercises and loss of facial fat. Nonetheless, facial exercises may help the face appear firmer as a person loses weight.
3. Reduce alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol intake can cause dehydration, which can prompt the body to retain water. In some cases, this may lead to water retention in the face, which can make the face appear bloated and puffy.
Alcohol may also contribute to weight gain. It contains empty calories, which offer no nutritional benefit. Consuming empty calories increase a person's total daily calorie intake, and this promotes weight gain.
Also, some research suggests that alcohol can suppress hormones that help people feel full. This can stimulate a person to take in more calories from their diet.
A 2015 review of alcohol consumption and obesity suggests a link between weight gain and excessive alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking and binge drinking appear to pose the greatest risks for weight gain.
Some people experience the same effects in response to moderate alcohol intake. However, for most people, moderate alcohol consumption does not promote weight gain.
People struggling to lose facial fat or weight in general may wish to consider reducing their alcohol consumption.
4. Drink more water
Drinking water may promote lipolysis in the body.
Drinking a glass of water before a meal can help a person feel fuller.
This can help reduce the total number of calories a person consumes. For this reason, drinking water before a meal can lead to gradual weight loss.
According to a 2016 review of hydration and weight loss, water consumption also promotes lipolysis. Lipolysis occurs when the body breaks down fat stores into fatty acids that it can use as energy. Making use of these fat stores is key to losing weight.
5. Get more sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep has a range of health benefits. Conversely, not getting enough sleep may lead to weight gain.
For example, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), lack of sleep affects the levels of certain hormones that promote feelings of hunger and fullness. Specifically, lack of sleep seems to increase levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and lower levels of the hormone leptin, which tells the body that it is full.
As a result, a person who has sleep loss may eat more, and they may turn to foods higher in calories.
The NSF also suggest that people who do not get enough sleep also tend to have a slower metabolic rate.
Getting adequate sleep can help prevent weight gain. This, in turn, may help decrease the amount of fat stored in the face.
6. Improve overall diet
Diets high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates increase the risk of gaining excess fat.
Processed foods tend to contain more calories, salt, and sugar than whole foods. Refined carbohydrates are a group of highly processed, grain based foods. During processing, these foods lose their fiber and nutrients. As a result, they are high in empty calories.
Refined carbohydrates also cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, which may encourage a person to overeat.
Examples of refined carbohydrate foods include:
- white rice
- white bread
- syrups and frostings
- most breakfast cereals
- reduced fat products
In most cases, people can find reasonable replacements for overly processed foods and refined carbohydrates. A person can decrease their caloric intake and increase the amount of nutrients they consume by eating fresh whole foods.
When combined with exercise, a healthful diet may help people lose excess fat in the face and body.
7. Reduce salt intake
Diets high in salt cause the body to retain water. Water retention causes swelling and puffiness in various parts of the body, including the face. This may give the illusion of excess facial fat.
People who suspect they are sensitive to fluid retention should try to avoid foods with a high salt content. This includes most processed meals and snacks. Preparing meals and snacks at home gives people greater control over the amount of salt in their diet.
As the body stops holding onto fluid, the face should start to appear slimmer.
Preventing excess facial fat
A person can prevent excess facial fat by eating a healthful diet.
The best way to prevent facial fat is to maintain a healthy weight by making lifestyle changes. A person with overweight or obesity is more likely to have fat around their face than a person who maintains a healthy weight.
Some tips to maintain a healthy weight include:
- exercising regularly and incorporating plenty of cardio routines
- eating a balanced diet rich in lean protein and whole fruits and vegetables
- limiting the consumption of processed foods
- drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks, including energy drinks, juices, and sodas
Few studies have investigated ways to reduce facial fat directly.
The best way to prevent and reduce facial fat is to maintain a healthy weight generally. People can achieve this by altering their diet, exercising regularly, and getting the right amount of sleep.
Cardio exercises are particularly beneficial for burning excess body fat. Weight loss, in general, should make the face appear leaner.
If a person is struggling to lose weight, they may wish to see a dietitian, a doctor, or a personal trainer. People should always talk to a doctor before making any major changes to their diet or exercise routines.