No matter how much you sweat inside your mask this summer, you can’t slim down your face specifically. There’s really no such thing as targeted facial weight loss. But there are ways to better expose your jawline or cheekbones (without surgery).
That said, slow and steady full-body weight loss will help you slim down everywhere—face included. So don’t fall for any hype that promises face-specific results. “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.”
While you can’t really lose weight in your face, there are a few things you can do to expose your facial structure if you feel your face is puffier than usual:
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.
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.
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