You may have already heard about spot reduction – or reducing fat in specific areas of your body – being a myth. Well, adding fat only to certain areas isn’t naturally possible either. So, to answer your question:
“How can I gain weight on my face?”
It’s simple. Gain weight. Everywhere else included. No exceptions whatsoever.
That being said, there are a few things to consider.
For one, what you eat can have an impact on how puffy your face looks. There are also a few things you can do to keep your face looking plump and full while you’re losing weight. And, if you’ve already lost too much weight, how can you put a bit of volume back in?
These are things we’re going to talk about today. Let’s start with the ‘already slim but want to get chubbier cheeks’ side of things, shall we?
How to increase volume in face
From where I’m standing, it seems people are now realizing the role of fat in having a youthful face.
More specifically, losing weight can make men and women around and over the age of 40 look older. It’s because it’s around this age where collagen loss becomes apparent, so losing fat pads in the face may make wrinkles, lines, and saggy skin more obvious.
On the contrary, chubby cheeks give the appearance of youth regardless if you’re a teenager or a senior citizen because it caters to a fuller face – and that’s always attractive!
Having said that, there are a few natural things you can do if you made your face too thin after weight loss, or if you’re innately slimmer than the average person. These include facial yoga, makeup, and regaining some of your weight back. Here’s how and why they work:
First of all, you might be wondering about how to increase face fat by exercise. The truth, however, is that you can’t.
No exercise in the world is going to build fat in your face or any other part of your body, including facial yoga. That’s mostly the handiwork of your diet but we’ll get to that later on.
Having said that, facial yoga gives you the illusion of more volume because it can help smooth out lines and wrinkles. According to research from JAMA Dermatology, 30-minute facial yoga routines done daily or every other day (3-4 times per week) made the upper and lower cheeks of middle-aged women appear fuller. These same women were also satisfied with how the routine has helped them look less aged.
This works because the exercises teach you how to isolate muscle movement while relaxing other unnecessary muscles while you do certain facial expressions.
For example, opening your eyes wider. Most of us raise our eyebrows when we do this, leading to those wretched forehead lines. With facial yoga, you learn to separately open your eyelids without raising your brows.
However, facial exercises can also have the opposite effect – which is to increase wrinkles and lines – when they’re done wrong. Without properly isolating certain muscles while simultaneously relaxing others, you’d only be creating more folds.
I’d love to talk more about facial yoga but that’s not what this piece is about (or at least not entirely). So, if you want to know how to do this correctly, I suggest subscribing to the Face Yoga Method‘s Youtube channel.
Put on some makeup…
…but don’t forget to take them off!
I’m not even going to pretend I know a lot about makeup (I don’t) but from an outsider’s perspective, I’ve seen a lot of people look younger right after they put on even the most simple, natural-looking makeup.
According to research, this is particularly true for women aged 40-50 years old (20-year olds looked older with make-up while 30-year olds looked no different).
If you were wondering about how to increase face fat without gaining weight, makeup is one way to do it, even if it’s an illusion rather than actual fat gain.
With that said, it’s also mightily important to take your makeup off.
Every night during your sleep, your body rejuvenates itself, including your skin as it turns over old skin cells for newer ones. This is why sleep is so important to overall health but skin-wise, leaving your makeup on hinders old-to-new turnover which, over time, will make you appear older than you really are.
Plus, washing your makeup off also means ridding your face of dirt and impurities, as well as a gentle massage that may promote circulation. These, in turn, can lead to younger-looking skin.
Regain your weight (responsibly)
The key thing here is to do it responsibly. You shouldn’t just eat at a buffet every other day and expect to gain weight and be healthy at the same time. Though you’d be able to gain weight quickly this way, it puts you at risk of disease.
That being said, Sanford Health says to only aim for 1-2 lbs of weight gain per week.
More than that and you’d be shocking your system, leading to all sorts of imbalances that may be hard to reverse if left unchecked. For example, insulin resistance may lead to diabetes and excessive cholesterol that may lead to heart disease.
You could always manually figure out how many more calories you need to eat per day to gain weight but I think it’s so much easier to just rely on calorie calculators to do the math. Calculators(.org) is a good example but if you also want to have a food diary to help you keep track of what you eat, MyFitnessPal is what I personally recommend.
Another thing to take note of is your BMI.
Your BMI, or body mass index, is a scale showing your weight relative to your height. It’s admittedly imperfect but it’s a good indicator of what a person’s healthy weight should be. This generally means you have a good ratio between fat and muscle as well.
With that said a normal BMI would range from 18.5 to 24.9. When regaining some of your weight back, make sure not to go overboard and ultimately be overweight or obese.
To know where you stand on the BMI scale, use the National Institute of Health’s BMI calculator.
And, finally, quality reigns supreme when it comes to food.
What you eat plays a bigger role than how much you eat. This is true for both weight loss and weight gain but let me walk you through the latter.
What to eat to get chubby cheeks
Since you’ll be eating more calories, you’ll also have a bit more wiggle room but nevertheless, you want foods that pack as many nutrients as possible, especially those with properties that promote healthy skin.
These include fruits and vegetables, lean protein, fatty fish, and other sources of healthy (unsaturated) fat, and whole-grain carbohydrates. Here are a few more specific examples:
Apples are a good source of vitamin C, but it also has vitamins A and E. Specifically, a medium-sized apple should get you 8.4g of vitamin C, 98.3 IU if vitamin A, and 0.3 mg of vitamin E (according to The Self NutritionData).
These vitamins are specifically mentioned in a study from Dermato Endocrinology as nutrients that promote skin health and beauty. So, you want to have them when you’re trying to get fuller cheeks.
As small as they are, nuts are some of the most calorie-dense foods around, so they make it easier for a lot of people (including myself) to reach their calorie goals. Their high-calorie count is because of all the healthy fat they have, which is the most calorie-rich macronutrient.
Almonds, for example, carry about 14 g of fat per oz and a total of 162 calories (per The Self NutritionData). A good majority of that fat also comes in the form of mono- and polyunsaturated fat, so it’s a healthy choice, too.
Moreover, the same amount of almonds gives you 7.4 mg of vitamin E which is about 37% of your daily needs. That’s a lot for just a handful of nuts!
Other healthy nuts you can snack on are walnuts, macadamia, and pecans.
While we’re on the topic of healthy fat, avocados are perhaps the fattiest fruit. Again, this high-fat content leads to significantly higher calories – 240 kcal per 100 g to be exact. But, the good thing is that it’s mostly the unsaturated kind, making it one of the best foods that make your face fat.
It’s also an excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A, making it specifically good for your skin.
Fortified milk usually comes with vitamin D – a vitamin that research has found capable of protecting your skin from harmful UV exposure.
This is a particularly important nutrient to focus on as you get older as your body gets less efficient at making its own vitamin D over time. In turn, this reduces the natural protection your skin gets from the sun. Plus, milk is packed with calories as well,
Conversely, eggs are a pretty good source of vitamin D as well.
On a similar note, try and avoid junk food like soda, fast food, and chips.
They’re loaded with calories because of ungodly amounts of unhealthy fat and added sugar. So, while they can add volume back to your face, they’re generally unhealthy both for your skin and overall health.
Now that we have the ‘increasing volume on your face’ part covered, let’s move on to how you can stop losing weight in your face in the first place.
How to stop losing weight in your face
Say no to extreme dieting!
If you don’t know what extreme dieting is, it’s basically when you dramatically reduce the number of calories you consume. This is mostly done to rapidly lose weight but, I’m telling you, it’s unhealthy, it’s unsustainable, and it can make you look worse.
According to the CDC and many other reputable agencies, the safe rate to lose weight is 1-2 lbs per week (or 4-8 lbs per month) – and, yes, that’s the same rate you should be gaining weight as well.
Particularly if you don’t want to lose too much weight on your face, this gradual pace helps give you more control. It also gives your skin ample time to spring back into shape which is crucial if you’re over 40 years old as your skin may have already lost much of its youthful structure and elasticity.
The extreme calorie restriction in crash dieting also leans toward undernutrition since you won’t be eating enough food. Not only is that bad for you, but it’s also bad for your skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
The logic behind this is actually quite simple: moisturizers keep your skin moisturized.
That’s important whenever you’re trying to maintain the volume on your face because, as The University of Tennessee Medical Center puts it, your face is one of the most sensitive parts of your body. It sheds more skin than most any other part of your body, so keeping it moisturized helps new skin cells replace the old, dried out ones.
Drink your share of water
Speaking of keeping your skin moisturized, you can do that from the inside as well.
Research suggests that how much water you drink can have an effect on skin hydration and biomechanics. The same research also says that drinking more water positively influenced skin physiology.
Protect your skin from sun damage
More specifically though, you want broad-spectrum sunscreen because it helps shield your skin from the harmful, aging effects of both UVB and UVA.
Per the Skin Cancer Foundation, here’s what SPF levels you should choose:
- At least SPF 15 – For people who mostly stay indoors
- At least SPF 30 – For those of you spend more time outdoors than the average person
Say no to smoking
Have you ever noticed how chronic smokers look way older than their actual age?
The MayoClinic says that it’s because of the several thousand chemicals found in tobacco smoke. These chemicals literally kill your collagen and elastin which takes away from the springiness of your skin. Moreover, it impairs circulation. So, even if you did eat right, those nutrients will have a hard time reaching your skin.
Get enough sleep
In a similar way that smokers generally look older than their non-smoking counterparts, people who sleep less also look more aged than people who do.
According to an article from Science Daily, sleep-deprived people recovered less from environmental factors that may damage the skin, including the previously mentioned UV radiation and tobacco chemicals.
This led to more lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin.
All in all, learning how to how to gain face fat as well as preventing the loss of too much volume around your face all comes down to taking care of your skin, preventing and/or minimizing damage, and getting the proper nutrition.
This includes minimizing muscle movement through facial yoga, eating the right type of food in the right proportions, giving it ample time to recover (through sleep and gradual weight loss), and using products that promote skin health.
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