The Secret to Plump Cheeks: Understanding Hollow Cheeks and Finding the Right Solution

Hollow cheeks also known as sunken cheeks are when there is a noticeable dip between your cheekbones and jawbone, indicating that the area has limited fat. Sunken cheeks can cause an aged facial appearance, which can be caused naturally by ageing, genetics, face fat loss or specific medical conditions. A sunken face can affect anyone, as it depends on both one’s bone structure and their level of facial fat. To improve the appearance of hollow cheeks, there are several treatments you can try such as facial fat transfer.

What Causes Sunken Cheeks?

Let’s discuss some of the causes of hollow cheeks. Ageing is inevitable, and as we age our facial skin begins to lose collagen and elasticity, resulting in a sunken appearance. Additionally, genetics can play a factor. Other conditions that can cause the cheeks to look hollow include extreme weight loss, or medical conditions.

Natural Aging Process – as we age, collagen production decreases and skin becomes less elastic and cheeks begin to sag as the fat in the face can migrate lower. This can leave a hollow effect beneath the cheekbones.

Genetics – your natural bone structure can lead to the cheek appearing sunken, as the fat beneath your skin gets distributed differently based on the structure of your bones.

Weight Loss – excessive weight loss can cause face fat loss which can then become a hollow cheek. It’s important you determine the cause of the weight loss as it may be due to a medical condition.

Medical Conditions – Anaemia, Crohn’s Disease, Hyperthyroidism and many more conditions can cause weight loss which may result in cheeks drooping. These conditions can impact other areas of your health, so seek advice from a qualified professional.

Certain Medications – some medications may cause weight loss causing sunken cheekbones. Ensure you review all of the side effects of new medications.

Hollow Cheeks Symptoms

As you get older, cheeks fat can actually be beneficial since it adds volume to the face. When this fat starts to diminish, however, hollow cheekbones may become more visible – and you’ll notice a dip between your jawline and cheek area. But what are some other symptoms of hollow cheeks that you may experience?

  • Sunken in cheeks, or flat cheeks
  • A gaunt and aged appearance
  • Shadows or hollows under the eyes
  • A stretched or thin appearance of the skin
  • Loss of volume in the cheek area
  • Cheek wrinkles or creases

Solutions to Hollow Cheeks

Now that you know what causes sunken cheeks, let’s discuss how you can address this issue. There are a variety of solutions to deal with hollow cheeks in order to achieve a more plump appearance. You may opt for an injectable option which offers instant results, with little downtime and results lasting for about a year. There are also more permanent surgical options with short recovery times.

Facial Fat Transfer

Are you looking for a way to restore volume and contours in your face? If so, facial fat transfer may be the solution. This process involves extracting fat from other areas of the body using liposuction. The collected fat is then injected into hollow cheeks or another area on your face that requires more fullness. Facial fat grafting can improve appearance with natural-looking results and minimal scarring.

Facial fat transfer is an optimal way to restore volume, contour facial features, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It can be used in areas such as the cheeks, under eyes, and nasolabial folds for maximum results. To experience more comprehensive effects it should ideally be combined with other procedures like a face lift.

Facial Fat Transfer Recovery

sunken cheeks

Your recovery may take anywhere between two to six weeks. Despite being a minimally-invasive surgical procedure, there are still certain risks associated with facial fat transfer. Infection, bleeding, bruising and asymmetry can occur as with any surgery – but thankfully they remain rare occurrences. Nevertheless, rest assured that Dr Doyle will thoroughly go over all potential risks and factors to consider during your consultation beforehand so you to make an informed decision.

Cheek Fillers for Hollow Cheeks

hollow cheek

Dermal filler is a popular and non-surgical treatment to address the appearance of sunken cheeks. Filler for hollow cheeks is injected to lift and restore volume. Dermal fillers provide an outstanding way to address sunken cheeks. Hyaluronic acid is the active ingredient in filler which closely resembles the substances which occur naturally in your body. The cheek filler is injected into the hollowed areas of your cheekbones. This can lift and restore lost volume while defining contours creating a more plump appearance.

Cheek Fillers Recovery

After receiving fillers for sunken cheeks, it is expected that you may experience some temporary bruising and swelling. But rest assured, this is only a minor after-effect that will pass typically within a few days. Dermal fillers are considered low risk with minimal risk of allergic reaction to hyaluronic acid. That said, there is a chance for risk of asymmetry. Your nurse injector will make sure to thoroughly explain all risks during your consultation.

Combination Solutions

Taking good care of your skin and keeping it hydrated can help your skin appear more plump. There are a few lifestyle choices we recommend that will enhance your cheekbones when combined with the mentioned procedures.

Skin Care

For optimal skin health, we strongly encourage you to stick with hydrating skincare routines. Make use of products like serums and moisturizers that enrich your skin, as well as wear broad-spectrum sunscreen – especially if you live on the Gold Coast where the sun’s rays can be particularly strong! Lastly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and night.

Exercise Routine

Your exercise and diet are always important factors to your health and skin health. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can assist with producing natural collagen to support the structure of your skin. Exercise brings essential nutrients, such as vitamins and oxygen, to your skin cells which helps them heal and strengthen. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and resistance workouts are optimal for collagen production in the gym since they activate human growth hormone levels.


Incorporating antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries and dark leafy greens, into your diet can help protect your skin cells from damage and premature ageing. Additionally, adding fish like salmon or tuna to your meals is a great way of reducing inflammation due to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Facial Massage Techniques

Regular facial massages can increase blood flow in your skin and support its natural collagen production. The collagen protein is essential for providing structure and firmness in your skin which can prevent sagging or wrinkles. You can incorporate the massage into your skincare routine with moisturisers or serums. Massaging your face with upward, lifting movements using your fingers is recommended.

Choosing the Right Solution for Hollow Cheeks

When selecting a hollow cheek treatment, it’s important to determine which option is best suited for your goals as there are many factors to consider. You should consult with Dr Doyle who can review the various solutions for hollow cheeks and assess what will likely provide you with the best results. It’s also important that you consider maintaining the results of each option, as some options are more permanent, however, fillers for cheeks will need to be maintained.


How Long Do the Results of Treatment Last?

With filler for cheeks, the results can last about one year and then will need to be maintained. Every person is different and some may notice their filler wears off more quickly if they have a fast metabolism or exercise regularly.

Facial fat transfer results are permanent. However, the ageing process will of course continue so the results may seem to diminish over long periods of time. You can expect to enjoy your results for many years.

Is There Any Recovery Time Required After Treatment?

Facial fat transfer is a day surgery procedure with a quick recovery period. Scarring and pain should be minimal, while swelling may take anywhere from two to six weeks before it completely heals. After about a week, you can already resume your normal activities.

Filler for cheeks is non-surgical and minimally invasive. After receiving dermal filler injections in the cheeks, mild bruising and swelling are typical side effects. To ensure proper healing and results, it is essential that you wait 24 to 48 hours before exercising again.

As always after treatment, you should take time to rest and give your body a chance to recover. You should also ensure that you follow your doctor’s instructions for post-treatment recovery. We recommend consulting with Dr Doyle in order to learn more about these risks before going ahead with any treatments.

Next Steps

Whichever symptoms your sunken cheeks cause, it can have a tremendous impact on your overall quality of life. There is an array of treatment options for hollow cheeks so you will be able to find a suitable solution. Schedule an appointment with Dr Doyle to explore the best possible option available specifically tailored just for you.

About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. Dr Doyle is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon with 30+ years of experience. He has completed all required training and only carries out approved surgical practices. There are absolutely NO undertrained doctors or cosmetic doctors acting as surgeons in our clinic.

As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is committed to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.


Do Your Research

What to Bring to Your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

  • Bring a friend or relative for support and discussion regarding your choices
  • Take notes and read all provided information thoroughly
  • Read about what to expect in your Initial Surgery Consultation

Book Your Plastic Surgery Consultation

  • Get a Referral from your GP or specialist – this is required to book a consultation with Dr Doyle.
  • Email us or call on 07 5598 0988 to arrange your consultation appointment.
  • Pay your $285 Consultation Fee in advance to secure your consultation.

Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.

Send an enquiry form today or phone 07 5598 0988 during Clinic Hours.

  • Dr. Mark Doyle AHPRA Registration: Dr Mark Doyle MED0001375519 Specialist Plastic Surgery – MBBS FRACS FRCS

*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.