Are you tired of that stubborn double chin that seems to persist no matter how much you diet or exercise? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common concern, also known as submental fullness. It can can be caused by various factors, including genetics, aging and weight fluctuations. There’s good news though! First of all this is completely harmless and isn’t something that you need to do anything about unless it bothers you. If you don’t like the appearance of a double chin, there are several effective treatments can help redefine and sculpt your jawline. In this article, we’re going to explore double chin treatments starting with fat dissolving injections like Kybella or Belkyra and Aqualyx. We’ll also review other non surgical alternatives like CoolSculpting, HIFU, Botox, dermal fillers and skincare.
Kybella, Belkyra & Aqualyx Fat Dissolving Injections as Double Chin Treatments
Kybella (known as Belkyra outside of the U.S.) is a non-surgical injectable treatment that is approved by the FDA for reducing moderate to severe fat under the chin. The active ingredient in Kybella is synthetic deoxycholic acid. This a naturally occurring molecule in the body that normally aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, Kybella destroys fat cells. This results in a noticeable reduction in fullness under the chin. Aqualyx, is the main competitor to Kybella/Belkyra and works in a similar way.
These fat dissolving injections require multiple injections in the fat layer of the skin under the chin using a small needle. The number of injections required in one sitting depends on the size of your chin but on average it can be 20-60 injections points. Most people will need a course of treatments to reduce the size of their double chin. Again, the number of treatments you need varies depending on your chin and how your cells respond to the treatmnt. On average, most people need 2-3 treatments 4-6 weeks apart but some may require less or more. Whilst fat dissolving injections can work well as an alternative to surgery, the results are long lasting but not permanent especially if you regain weight.
Whilst fat dissolving injection double chin treatments are minimally invasive and can be done in 30 minutes, they do have significant down time. For a start, side effects like pain, swelling and bruising are extremely common. Swelling can last for weeks and may give a “bull-frog” chin appearance. There might also be numbness and small, but temporary lumps under the skin. More serious side effects include allergic reaction, infection, haematoma, asymmetry and nerve injury. Thankfully these are rare if you are treated by an experienced and qualified medical practitioner in a clean clinical setting.
Non Surgical Alternatives to Fat Dissolving Injections
CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that uses cryolipolysis technology to freeze and destroy fat cells. The fat cells are then absorbed by the body and removed over a period of time. Cool sculpting is not invasive as the applicator that freezes the cells sits on top of the skin. The procedure can take up to 60 minutes depending on the size of your chin. Like fat dissolving injections, most people need multiple treatment sessions 4-6 weeks apart. How may sessions you need will depend on the size of your double chin and your treatment goals.
Whilst CoolSculpting has the benefit of not requiring injections, potential side effects still include temporary numbness, redness, bruising and swelling. One rare but devastating side effect to be aware of with CoolSculpting is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH). This occurs in about 0.0045% of CoolSculpting patients.
Although PAH is not well understood, it causes the treated fat cells to increase in size rather than decrease. Its received a lot of awareness in the past due to the model Linda Evangelista who sued the manufacturers of CoolSculpting after developing this condition. Since then, the FDA has issued a safety communication warning that CoolSculpting can cause “hard, enlarged, and sometimes tender masses” in the treated area. In some cases, PAH can lead to scarring or the need for surgery to remove the affected fat cells. As of now, CoolSculpting devices have been voluntarily recalled in the USA and Canada but not the UK. Given the emerging evidence and developing situation, its probably best to wait until there is further clarity before considering CoolSculpting and after have a detailed consultation with a medical provider to discuss your options.
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
HIFU is a non-surgical and non-invasive double chin treatment that uses ultrasound energy to heat the fat cells under the skin and destroy them. The ultrasound energy also heats the overlying layers of skin, triggering the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin. This results in a lifting and tightening effect that can help reduce the appearance of a double chin. It is a relatively safe and effective treatment but also requires a course of treatments. This is typically 2-4 treatments 4-6 weeks apart and depends on the size of your chin and age.
Like fat dissolving injections and CoolSculpting, HIFU can have some side effects. Common ones are pain, swelling and bruising. Rarely, there maybe obvious asymmetry, lumps or scarring. You can minimise the risk of these occurring by seeing an experienced medical practitioner.
Botox and Dermal Filler Double Chin Treatments
While Botox and dermal fillers might not be the first options that come to mind when thinking of double chin treatments, they can help reshape the jawline and reducing the appearance of a double chin.
Botox is best known for its wrinkle-smoothing abilities. It can also target and relax the platysma muscle. Normally, when this muscle contracts, it can pull down on the jawline which gives the appearance of sagging lower face, jowls and worsening the appearance of a double chin. Botox neck injections relax this muscle which subtly lifts and smoothes the jawline thereby reducing the appearance of a double chin.
Dermal fillers can sculpt and contour the jawline and enhance the chin. Whilst like Botox, fillers can’t do anything about the fat causing a double chin, they can create a more defined appearance that can help draw attention away from it. By adding volume to the chin or augmenting and shaping the jawline, fillers can create a more balanced facial profile. Often both are used in combination. This gives the illusion of a smaller, less noticeable double chin and better defined lower face.
Both Botox and chin or jawline dermal fillers are non-surgical minimally invasive injectable procedure. The treatment can be done in a single session with minimal downtime. However, the results are temporary, typically lasting between 6-24 months, depending on the product used and your individual metabolism. Common side effects include swelling and bruising although these settle within 2-4 weeks. More serious risks include infection, allergic reaction, lumps, asymmetry and in the case of fillers, vascular occlusion. You can reduce these risks by seeing a skilled and qualified medical practitioner who can also deliver good natural-looking results.
Whilst topical treatments can’t reduce the size of a double chin, they can improve the quality of the overlying skin which can help improve the appearance of the lower face. Prescription retinoids like Tretinoin work by boosting your skin’s production of collagen and elastin. This increases the skin’s thickness, elasticity and pliability. The result is tighter, plumper and smoother skin. Tretinoin can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and crepey skin. These effects will improve the appearance of the skin on your face and neck which can help reduce the severity of a double chin.
There are also professional skin treatments like Profhilo and RF microneedling which also work to tighten the skin similarly to Tretinoin and HIFU. We’ve covered these elsewhere in our blog and website so checkout the links to read a little more about them.
Surgical Double Chin Treatments
For those looking for more dramatic or immediate results, surgical options like liposuction and neck lift surgery might be worth considering. Chin liposuction involves the surgical removal of fat from under the chin through a small cannula. This reduces the amount of fat under the chin. On the other hand, a lower face or neck lift is a more invasive surgical procedure that removes excess fat and skin. Both of these treatments maybe used separately or in combination depending on the severity of your double chin and quality of your skin.
Whilst surgical procedures provide the most pronounced and long lasting results, they have significant down time. There is usually a lot of swelling and there might be considerable bruising. Patients will need to wear compressive garments after surgery to reduce this which may require time off work if you have a people face role. As any surgical procedure, they also come with risks such bleeding, infection, scarring, injury to nerves and asymmetry. There may also be some anaesthetic-related side effects. Many of these risks can be reduced by seeing a trained and experienced Surgeon.
So, What’s The Best Double Chin Treatment?
Double chin treatments have come a long way. From surgery to non invasive treatments like fat dissolving injections to skincare, there are an array of non-surgical and surgical options now available to suit different needs and preferences. The best treatment for you will depend on the amount of submental fat you have, your skin quality, overall health, budget, lifestyle and of course your personal goals. Always consult with qualified and experienced medical professional such as a dermatologist, plastic surgeon or aesthetic doctor to discuss the best treatment options for you.
At City Skin Clinic, we think that beauty and skincare is personal and everyone has their own journey. Our virtual skin clinic offers prescription skincare like Tretinoin and Hydroquinone for acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma and skin ageing. If you would like to learn more about our prescription skincare service please book a virtual consultation with one of our doctors today and take your first step towards better skin.