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Double Chin

If you have a bit of double chin and you’re not happy about it, what can you do? What causes a double chin in the first place? Don’t worry, there are a lot of options out there in tweakments land. Read on to find out more and scroll down for answers to all the FAQs about double chins.

double chin

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FAQ ABOUT Double Chin


What is a double chin?

The body is always looking for new places to put fat cells and one area it particularly likes is the top part of the front of your neck, right underneath your jaw. The technical name for this is ‘submental fat’. If too much fat gets stored in this area and the skin isn’t taut enough to hold that canopy up in the battle with gravity, you can look in the mirror and find that it looks like you’ve grown a second chin. This can even continue developing into a triple or quadruple chin. So, the two factors you need to be aware of as you read on are fat levels and skin tautness.

What causes a double chin?

If the levels of fat deposited under your chin get high enough, you can develop the appearance of a double chin. Where the body decides to store fat varies from person to person, so it’s possible – although uncommon – to have a double chin even though you’re not overweight generally.

The incidence and prominence of double chins increase with age as the skin loses its elasticity. Up to about the age of 30, the body is pretty good at replenishing the levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. However, after 30, these stocks start to deplete at a much faster rate. Without the structural support of collagen and the elastin to pull things back to where they were before, gravity has the edge and starts to pull the skin south.

For most people, double chins are caused by a mixture of these two issues, with fat being the dominant problem. However, it is possible to develop a double chin without any fat deposits, though this is only really seen in later age.

How can I reduce fat under my chin?

Don’t despair – there are tweakments that can help you. Some of these will actively reduce the amount of fat under the chin, others will disguise it by improving the look of your jawline or tightening the skin on your neck.

What treatments can I use for double chins?

There are several tweakments that can be used to treat double chins, depending on what your chin, neck and jaw look like. You will need an expert practitioner to advise you on the procedure or procedures that will give you the best results.

The main options are:

    • Fat freezing. It might sound unlikely, but you can reduce the volume of fat underneath your chin with a treatment that super-cools it to the point of freezing. This kills a proportion of the fat cells, which will then be slowly removed from the body over the next three months. So it works, but it’s not an instant fix. The best-known and best-accredited brand of fat-freezing is CoolSculpting, which has FDA approval for treating submental fat.
    • Fat-dissolving injections. Again, this sounds like some strange form of medical aesthetic magic – that you can inject fat and it will simply melt away. This procedure can work well but it is not without its challenges, namely that it requires a lot of injections, that they sting, and that there is swelling and discomfort which can continue for weeks after treatment. Oh, and you need more than one treatment to see results.
    • Injectable filler to redefine the jaw and chin
      You might well wonder how adding injectable filler to the face could possibly have the desired effect of reducing the appearance of a double chin. But if that filler is carefully used under the corner of the jaw, along the line of the jaw, and in the chin, it can strengthen the look of the whole jawline, and tighten the skin a little, and this can make a double chin look much less obvious.
    • Skin-tightening treatments such as HIFU and radiofrequency. HIFU stands for High-Intensity Focussed Ultrasound, and the best-known brand of HIFU is Ultherapy, probably followed by Ultracel. This treatment strikes the collagen layer well below the surface of the skin, to tighten it up and stimulate the growth of new collagen. This can lift the skin tissues (Ultherapy is the only brand of HIFU that is FDA-cleared for lifting). One of the accusations sometimes thrown at HIFU is that it has the potential to destroy fat beneath the skin, if the focussed ultrasound is directed into the fat rather than into the collagen (which is easy to do if the device does not have a visualiser element, which shows the operator which layer of tissue within the skin they are treating). But in the case of treating a double chin, fat loss is a benefit rather than an unwanted side effect.
    • Radiofrequency treatment, which heats the skin to 41 degrees in order to cause the collagen within the skin to tighten and to stimulate the fibroblasts to make more collagen, can also have a fat-busting effect if it reaches deep enough into the skin. Devices with monopolar radiofrequency can do this, as can devices which insert insulated needles into the skin, then fire the radiofrequency energy through the (uninsulated) needle tips.
    • Liposuction. This is a surgical option which can work well to resculpt a double chin – but that is clearly a surgical procedure and not a tweakment so I’m not going into detail on that here.

    Which treatment is best for double chin?

    Working out which treatment will suit you best very much depends on what your face looks like. If you have a weak chin and a less obvious jawline, filler could be a good place to start. If you have a strong jaw but with pockets of fat beneath it, then fat-freezing or fat-dissolving injections may be a better bet. To help you decide, book a consultation with an expert practitioner (there are many on my website) who will help to outline the options for you, and help you choose a plan of action.

    Will fat-dissolving injections get rid of my double chin?

    Yes, they absolutely could get rid of a double chin. These injections, which are based on a chemical called deoxycholic acid, dissolve and destroy fat cells (they also destroy any other cells they’re injected into, so the product needs to be used by a specialist, and with great precision). There are various brands of fat-dissolving injections available in the UK including Aqualyx. The big-name brand in this area, Kybella (see below) is not yet available in the UK. When it does become available over here it will be called Belkyra. Same product, but outside the USA it goes by a different name.

    What is Kybella?

    Kybella is a branded type of fat-dissolving injection which (in the USA) is FDA-approved for the treatment of fat under the chin. The brand now belongs to Allergan (the pharmaceutical company behind brands including toxins and Juvederm) and is based on a chemical called deoxycholic acid. The treatment is effective but it’s quite a process to go through. Up to 50 injections are required for the treatment, and they sting. There will also be swelling, bruising and possibly numbness in the injected area, which can persist for weeks. Also, you need at least two, possibly four, rounds of treatment. I go into more depth about Kybella and brands on the dedicated fat-dissolving injections page.

    Can I use CoolSculpting to tighten up my double chin?

    Yes, CoolSculpting can certainly help tighten up a double chin. The fat-freezing process will destroy up to 27 per cent of the fat cells in the treated area, and these will be dispersed from the body over the course of the following 12 weeks. Also, recent research by the company has shown that the skin above the treated area retracts and tightens with time – which means that you won’t end up with a saggy pocket of empty skin under your chin after the fat that was inside it has shrunk.

    What exercises can I use to get rid of a double chin?

    Great question. I’m not a big believer in face exercises but I’ll confess that I have never had the dedication to learn them properly and therefore am not in a position to judge their effectiveness. Having said that, I have met people who HAVE had great results from a dedicated regime of facial exercises, so I can’t dismiss them out of hand. Which facial exercises should you try to counteract a double chin? The sort that involve activating the platysma – the sheet of muscular tissue that runs down from the jaw to the breast bone. The fabulous Eva Fraser once taught me an exercise where you grip your lower teeth over your upper lip, then push your tongue against the roof of your mouth… but you need precision and practice with facial exercises, so go to her website www.evafraser.com to find out more – or see Danielle Collins’ site www.faceyogaexpert.co.uk. Or take a look at Carme Ferre’s www.studiocarme.co.uk website. Carme teaches her version of facial fitness one-to-one in west London, and like the others mentioned here is a great advert for her work.

    Will a non-surgical facelift help with my double chin?

    Anything termed a ‘non-surgical facelift’ is likely to involve injections of filler into the face in order to, for example, add volume to the cheeks. If this dermal filler is also used to strengthen the jawline and accentuate the chin, they may help with the look of a double chin. The injections won’t affect the double chin itself, but by re-defining the jawline, the extra chin can look less obvious.

    Do double-chin creams work?

    In a word? No. Why don’t double-chin creams work? Because they’re not removing the bulk of the fat cells which are creating the double chin, nor are they tightening up the sagging skin which is letting that double chin flop forward. Perhaps, if a double-chin cream is one that contains active ingredients such as high-strength vitamin C, and retinol or another retinoid, it may be strengthening the skin, but this effect won’t be strong enough to rein in an existing double chin.

    How to lose neck fat overnight?

    Sorry to be a spoilsport, but you can’t lose neck fat overnight, unless you’d count a session of surgical liposuction as ‘overnight’ (but even then, you would need to put up with weeks of swelling and recovery as the treated area settled down).
    So don’t believe any advertisements that promise that you can lose neck fat overnight. It is physiologically impossible, so don’t let any clever marketing persuade you to invest in a cream or treatment that pretends that it can do this.

    How much does it cost to treat my double chin?

    • Fat freezing costs from £600 per treatment (CoolSculpting, from £800 per treatment).
    • Fat-dissolving injections cost around £500 per session (you will need more than one treatment, and maybe three or four).
    • HIFU costs from £800 a session
    • Radiofrequency skin tightening costs from £200 a session, depending on the brand and the intensity of the treatment.
    • Liposuction costs from £3,000 upwards

ASK ALICE

Alice answers your question. Want to ask Alice a question? Pop it in here and check back in a few days for the answer.


Hi Alice, could I please ask what your thoughts on threads are? I could do with some help with my jowls and under my chin. Many thanks! X

Hiya, editor Georgia here. Threads can achieve great lifting and tightening results in the right hands and providing you’re a suitable candidate. There are different types of threads and some are better suited to certain indications than others (e.g. the degree of skin laxity). You can also have bio-stimulating threads which help stimulate collagen within the skin, so you also get a gradual improvement in skin firmness. Threads are deemed 'minimally-invasive' but they aren’t for the faint-hearted, and things can go wrong. Plus, the results don't always last as long as advertised. It’s really important to find someone who knows what...

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