Can Mewing Improve My Cheekbones?

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Mewing is the oral posture technique that’s supposed to fix poor breathing habits, build stronger jawlines, and improve cheekbones. I’ve discussed the accuracy of many of these claims on this blog, but today I want to focus in on one area: the cheekbones. In particular, can mewing improve cheekbones appearance?

According to Dr. Mike Mew himself, mewing can indeed “improve” the look of cheekbones. As the maxilla moves forward and up, the cheekbones should protrude more. Also, proper swallowing technique should cause the cheek muscles to atrophy (wear down), promoting a more hollow and defined facial appearance.

First Things First: Genetics

Let’s kick things off by tackling the most important variable: genetics. Ultimately, your genes will largely determine the appearance of your facial features. That includes your cheekbones.

In particular, your genes will determine the size and shape of your zygomatic bones (that’s a fancy word for cheekbones), and, to an extent, their relative position in the skull. You cannot expect to change the shape and size of your cheekbones with any physical appliances or techniques (barring, perhaps, surgery).

How Mewing Might Improve Cheekbones

If you can’t change the size or shape of your cheekbones, the only other option is to change their relative position in the skull. In the field of orthotropics, it’s generally accepted that various “environmental” factors (like your tongue posture or swallowing habits) can change the position of facial bones.

As such, orthotropists like Dr. Mew believe that you can change the position of your cheekbones by changing your habits. Most notably, by adopting proper tongue posture, you can gradually move your maxilla (the central facial bone) forward and up. As the maxilla moves, the cheekbones should follow.

As the cheekbones move forward and up with the maxilla, they should protrude more. This will make them more visible and more defined — which is what most people mean when they talk about “improving” their cheekbones.

Uncovering the Cheekbones

There’s another way you can make “improve” your cheekbones which I haven’t yet mentioned. That is: making them more visible by reducing the tissue which covers them.

Generally speaking, there are two types of tissue present on top of and around the cheeks: muscle tissue and adipose tissue (or simply, fat). The specific muscle which covers the cheek is the buccinator. There’s a buccinator muscle for each side of the face, and, according to Dr. Mew, its primary function is to help infants suck.

Per Dr. Mew, incorrect swallowing technique might engage the buccinator muscle. Like with any other muscle, this would cause the buccinator to grow in size. Since the buccinator lies under the cheek, this would give the impression of a larger, pudgier cheek.

This brings me to the second way that mewing can improve your cheekbones. Since mewing also involves correcting your swallowing habits, it should — according to Dr. Mew — reduce your usage of the buccinator muscle.

As you use the buccinator muscle less, it will begin to atrophy, or break down. This will result in less tissue covering the cheek and cheekbones, giving the impression of hollower, more defined cheeks.

While we’re still on the topic of tissue covering the cheeks, it’s worth touching on adipose tissue, or fat. If you have a high body fat percentage, you may have a large amount of adipose tissue covering the cheekbones. Mewing won’t help you lose fat around the cheeks (at least there’s no reason to think it would); instead, you’ll have to lose weight the good old fashioned way!

How Long It Takes

We’ve discussed at least two ways that mewing can make your cheekbones more prominent and more defined: by moving the maxilla (and zygomatic bones) forward and up, and by allowing the cheek muscles to atrophy. But how long can you expect this to take?

In adults, mewing can take a long time to produce visible results in the cheeks. Moving the maxilla and cheekbones forward and up, if even possible, likely takes years. Atrophy of the buccinator muscle may only take months.

Other Ways to Improve Cheekbones

It seems like mewing is one of just a few ways to improve your cheekbones. As discussed above, losing weight is an easy way to create slimmer, more defined cheeks in those with high body fat percentages. But are there any other options?

As far as I can see, your two best bets for improving cheekbones (other than those discussed above) are:

  • Chewing gum
  • Facial exercisers

Chewing Gum

I recently wrote an article all about this topic: Can Chewing Gum Improve Your Jawline? From my research, chewing gum works the masseter muscles of the jaw. Those are your chewing muscles.

This may sound a little counter-intuitive, and perhaps it is. Ultimately, this comes down to how you want to “improve” your cheek bones. If you’re simply looking for a more defined facial appearance, then chewing gum might help by growing the chewing muscles.

However, if you’re looking to really slim down your cheeks, chewing gum likely won’t help. So: it may work for you, but it depends on your goals.

Facial Exercisers

The only other alternative I can think of are facial exercisers (see my top 5 picks here). There’s a small variety of facial exercisers, and they all work in different ways.

The Jawzrsize, for example, is supposed to be munched down on just like chewing gum. As such, I expect it will deliver similar results: it might make your lower face look stronger and more defined, but it certainly won’t slim it down.

Other facial exercisers, like the Facial Flex, seem to train your facial muscles while also promoting a slimmer facial appearance. I’m not exactly sure what the science is here. Presumably, if you’re training facial muscles, they should grow in size. Maybe these facial exercisers just loosen up skin instead of training the muscles themselves.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, improving your cheekbones is a complicated subject. It seems like mewing can help, but it will take a while before you see noticeable results. Otherwise, losing weight, chewing gum, or trying out facial exercisers are your best bets.

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