Are you spending endless hours a day locked in a staring competition with your computer screen and phone? If yes, you may be in danger of getting a ‘jeck’. (If no, what is your secret?) The jeck (the term used to denote that fleshy, indeterminate area where the jawline meets the neck) is the latest cause for concern in the slippery pursuit of beauty. Jecks are an inevitable fact of life; the more we age, the more elastin, fat and bone we lose, and the less defined our jawline becomes. However, all that looking down at a screen isn’t helping either.
Why are we suddenly talking about the ‘jeck’?
Blame the lockdown and working from home; blame gravity and the process of ageing; blame selfies, Zoom, and even the phone companies if you want to. Thanks to the world we live in, we are spending more and more time chin-down, glued to various devices, with our faces constantly being beamed back at us. As a result, we’re honing in on physical details we never knew were there and, as Jenni Middleton, head of beauty at WGSN, points out: “dermatologists and aesthetic surgeons are reporting growing demand for jaw and neck ‘tweakments’, targeting sagging jawlines and crepey necks.”
It’s a trend that Dr Maya Shahsavari, who specialises in head and neck cosmetic surgery, has also been tracking. “In the age of technology, the pursuit of perfection, selfies, good lighting and lockdown, it is no surprise that we are instinctively and environmentally drawn to pay attention to details—details by which we judge others and ourselves, both on a conscious and subconscious level,” she says. “Treatments and services once only available to the wealthy are now easily accessible to all and it is human nature to present ourselves in the best light—literally and figuratively—to a sometimes harsh and judgemental world.”
Dr Shahsavari first noticed a rise in ‘jeck’ interest among clients back in 2017. “Initially, the jeck was an afterthought or an addition to other facial augmentation requests,” she says. “But since 2019, the ‘jeck lift’ as I call it has become one of the most requested treatments by female and male clients of all ages.”
What treatments are available?
It goes without saying: a well-defined jawline does not necessarily a happier person make. However, there are ways of treating your jeck if it is a cause for concern—ways that don’t involve going under the knife.
PDO threads, Botox and dermal fillers
PDO thread lifts, Botox and dermal fillers are three routes you can go down. A PDO thread lift involves the insertion of absorbable threads in the subcutaneous layer of the skin under local anaesthetic. This causes an immediate lifting effect and long-term collagen production as the body’s natural healing response is kicked into gear.
In other cases, Botox injections—a muscle relaxant—can be used along the vertical muscle bands that run from the bottom of the face to the collarbones on each side as a way of tightening the jawline and neck.
However, the most popular of these three are dermal fillers. Using a small needle, hyaluronic acid is injected into the skin and sometimes straight to the bone, causing sculpting and plumping. Effects can last up to three years for PDO lifts, four months for Botox and 18 months for filler. Minimal recovery is required, although there may be some tenderness after threads.
Laser and ultrasound
Another option is ultrasound, where ultrasound energy is delivered deep into the layers of the jeck area, causing the muscle to contract. At the same time, it encourages your body to produce new collagen and thus increases skin strength and quality.
Equally effective is laser therapy, where the heat of laser energy causes fat to melt and skin to contract. It also encourages collagen and elastin fibre regeneration, which is key to contouring the area. Both treatments require little downtime (although laser might take up to 48 hours in some cases) and can be carried out over the course of several months.
Masks, chin slings and facial yoga
If none of those procedures take your fancy, there are less invasive treatments from hydrating sheet masks, which extend beyond the face to treat the neck and décolletage, to chin-sling masks that aim to firm and lift double chins. You can also practise a form of facial yoga. Rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and ancient Indian practices, facial yoga involves stretching and massaging facial muscles with the aim of toning and tightening them. There is no downtime to this and no cost, but it will take longer to see results.
How will the trend evolve?
Middleton predicts that we will all start treating ourselves from home. “While there has been a growing demand for jaw and neck ‘tweakments’, this will spill over into DIY alternatives, with consumers seeking products and devices that deliver salon-grade results. As people cannot visit salons or spas, at-home beauty tech use is increasing and this category will expand as a result.”
With working from home becoming our new reality, and our dependence on screens only getting stronger, it looks like jecks might be here to stay—as will an entire industry devoted to treating them.