There’s no shame in lusting after a chiseled, defined jaw and contoured cheeks and chin, but beyond a really good bronzer and a nice face massage, there isn’t a permanent way to “slim down” your face outside of cosmetic surgery or Kybella. That’s why tools like Jawzrsize, a circular silicone device that claims to give you a stronger and more toned jawline, have emerged.
How Does Jawzrsize Work?
Jawzrsize is designed to work your jaw muscles in a full range of motion with different levels of resistance, according to the company’s website. Available from 20 to 50 pounds of resistance in five-pound increments, Jawzrsize claims to activate more than 57 muscles in the face and increase blood flow to the area, which not only helps chisel and sculpt your jawline but also gives you a more youthful glow, according to the brand. (Is anyone else getting flashbacks of the Crimson Chin from The Fairly Odd Parents? Just me?)
To use the device, you place it between your top and bottom front teeth and bite down and release. (Think: like a stress ball for your face.) The brand suggests doing so for five to 10 minutes daily, four to five days a week, starting with 20 pounds of resistance and working your way up to 40 pounds.
Does Jawzrsize Slim Your Face?
Experts say that using Jawzrsize might actually do the opposite of what it claims to do. “Jawzrsize claims to be able to work out your jaw muscles and, in turn, slim down your face. Using these devices certainly will work your jaw muscles, but the idea that it will make your face slimmer is totally unfounded,” says Samantha Rawdin, D.M.D., a prosthodontist who specializes in cosmetic dental work and restorative procedures. “These work by stimulating the masseter muscle — the big muscle in the side of your cheek that helps you chew. Although they may help you burn a few calories, they will actually cause hypertrophy, aka increase muscle size, causing it to get bigger than rather than slimming down the face,” she explains.
To put it bluntly, if you want a slimmer jaw, you should exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet — or see a plastic surgeon, says Rawdin. Just like other areas of the body, you can’t train your jaw to spot-reduce and get a slimmer look. In order to lose fat anywhere, you need to burn fat throughout your entire body through diet and exercise, which ultimately changes your body composition. (For example, you can’t do 100 sit-ups every day — and nothing else — and expect to get a six-pack.)
To be fair, the company acknowledges all this on their website: In their FAQs, they point to the masseter muscle as the main target for growth (as a result of “exercise” and “feed[ing] your body”) and they do concede that, “Jawzrsize will not allow you to spot reduce fat on your face. That is impossible. But with a combination of a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, you can reduce your overall body fat.” Instead, they say that the main driver of visual improvement is from building the muscle underneath the skin, and then “the skin that surrounds your face will get tighter and it will result in a healthier and aesthetic facial look.”
Of course, genetics play a large role in how “toned” your jawline might look as well — and strengthening that muscle isn’t necessarily going to change that. Jawlines come in different shapes and sizes, and there isn’t one jaw shape that’s considered to be universally beautiful, says Charles Sutera, D.D.S., a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD) and a nationally acclaimed dentist who specializes in complex TMJ treatment and cosmetic and sedation dentistry. In other words, don’t stress too much about how your jaw looks, just focus on improving your lifestyle, such as eating a balanced diet, following a regular workout routine, and reducing stress. All of these things contribute to your overall perception of yourself and just make you feel really good.
The Potential Risks of Using Jawzrsize
In addition to potentially making your jaw muscles bigger, there’s also a risk that using Jawzrsize and similar devices may cause teeth and jaw alignment issues, as well as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, says Sutera. Jawzrsize, on the other hand, claims that “when you strengthen your jaw muscles, it helps in relieving the pain associated with this disorder and keeps your jaws stronger and reduces the danger of misalignment.”
“The biggest risk with the concept of strengthening the jaw muscles is that it requires non-chewing force on the teeth,” says Sutera. “When force is applied at angles on the teeth, it can act as unintentional orthodontics. Over time, force applied to the mouth can lend itself to shifting of the teeth or changes in the bite position, which increases the risk of alignment issues or TMJ disorder.” (Related: How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth)
FYI, the TMJ connects your jawbone to your skull and you have one on each side of your jaw, according to the Mayo Clinic. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and the muscles responsible for moving the jaw (other symptoms can include soreness when chewing, headaches, and clicking and popping of the jaw, according to Sutera). There are many factors that contribute to TMJ disorders, such as arthritis, jaw injuries, bruxism (teeth grinding), and genetics. Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth can damage the shock-absorbing disk that separates the bones that interact with the TMJ, causing it to erode or move out of its usual alignment — and having super strong jaw muscles might actually make this worse.
Should You Strengthen Your Jaw Muscles?
It might make sense to train your jaw muscles if you want to make them stronger — and maybe it could even give you a smoother-looking jaw if you build the muscle enough, as Jawzrsize suggests — but the truth is that everyday movements, including talking, smiling, eating, clenching, and grinding already significantly use the jaw muscles, says Sutera.
“Just like you don’t consciously exercise your heart muscle, the same goes for your jaw muscle. You exercise your jaw throughout the day without even realizing it — in fact, arguably more than any other muscle,” he says.
Sutera says that most issues with the jaw are actually the result of having overly developed jaw muscles and not weak, or inadequate, muscles. In fact, having excessive jaw muscle power is what can lead to clenching and TMJ pain. “Think of the lower jaw as a hammock: If you swing a hammock gently with light force, it’s easy to control, but if you swing a hammock with excessive power, the hinges begin to click and pop with strain,” he says. “The hammock can only handle as much force as the weakest link. The same goes for the jaw.”
“In most circumstances, there shouldn’t be a need to strengthen the jaw,” agrees Rawdin. “Mother nature has done an excellent job of allowing your jaw and the muscles that support it to be able to withstand daily activities of chewing and speaking. If you’re having pain in the TMJ, it’s most likely not because it needs to be strengthened. Instead, you should see a dentist for an evaluation.” (See: 11 Things Your Mouth Can Tell You About Your Health)
How to Relax the Jaw and Reduce Swelling
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Still, there are some non-invasive and self-care techniques you can use to help reduce puffiness in the jawline and help ease tension. In fact, if you’re experiencing either of those, the culprit is usually muscular tension rather than sagging skin, says Madalaina Conti, certified esthetician and FaceGym U.S. national training manager. “Muscle tension creates blockages and the build-up of fascia (tissue) and fluid that can contribute to extra swelling and sagging,” she says. “Working out this tension and stagnation creates better flow, allows the skin and muscles to get proper nutrients, and builds muscle memory, which will result in a more sculpted, contoured, and de-puffed appearance.” (Related: Should You Be Exercising Your Face?)
The good news is, you can ease tension and reduce puffiness easily (and for free) at home with a simple facial massage. A research review in The Journal of Headache and Pain shows that conservative treatments such as massage therapy and exercises are preferred for treating TMJ pain because of their low-risk of side effects, and that massage can help reduce swelling and pain. You might have heard about jade rollers and gua sha, an Eastern Chinese medicine technique that involves rubbing and stimulating the skin with tools to promote blood circulation in the muscles and deep tissues, but your fingers can be just as powerful, says Conti. Use your favorite facial oil to massage your face and focus on areas of concern, she says. (FaceGym also offers online classes and free YouTube videos if you need more guidance, and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group also has instructions for a quick self-massage to ease pain and tension.)
While massage and other alternative treatments may help ease TMJ pain, it’s important to address other lifestyle issues (such as teeth grinding from stress) that might be contributing to it; it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor or physical therapist for the best treatment for you. (Related: I Got Botox In My Jaw for Stress Relief)