Here’s How You Can Get Rid of a Double Chin, Say Aesthetic Surgery Experts

What causes a double chin may be more complex than you think—making it tough to get rid of. Experts weigh in on the most effective double chin treatments.

woman with a turtle neck hiding her double chin
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It’s fairly common to have a double chin, no matter your age or gender, says Christopher Homsy, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Tufts Medical Center. Still, a 2019 study published in Dermatologic Surgery found that even a slight amount of excess chin fat was associated with negative feelings and lower self-esteem—driving an uptick in people looking to get rid of their double chin.

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What causes a double chin?

“There is a misconception that it’s [always] associated with obesity,” Dr. Homsy says. While being overweight certainly may increase the likelihood of having a double chin, people with all body types can develop this excess neck fullness, he explains.

For instance, genetic factors are another common cause, explains Craig Lehrman, MD, director of aesthetic surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. These could include the length of your jaw, other aspects of your facial structure, the size and position of glands under your jaw or excess fullness to the muscles in the deep neck. General skin health, aging skin and posture may also contribute to the appearance of a double chin.

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Double Chin
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How to get rid of a double chin

“Double chin is not truly a medical term,” Dr. Homsy says. It’s more of a layman’s description for an excess of tissue in the neck area under the chin, which, if large enough, could look round and convex. “The medical description I prefer to use is submental fullness or submental fat excess.”

There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for a double chin, however. “The fullness itself can be more complex than just ‘extra fat,’ but more of a combination of causes,” Dr. Homsy says. “As a general rule, when there are more than one or two [treatments] for the same condition, it means that there is really no best treatment, but rather what treatment is best for you.”

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Surgical treatments for a double chin

Surgical treatment of a double chin tends to involve in-office liposuction, Dr. Homsy says. “Although some patients may prefer not to be awake for this, in which case we can always do it with some sedation in the operating room.”

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Beautiful woman getting fat burning injections in her chin
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Non-invasive treatments for a double chin

One of the most effective nonsurgical treatments is called Kybella, an injectable medication that can reduce the amount of fat in the neck region, Dr. Lehrman says. Kybella is a brand name for deoxycholic acid, a byproduct of fat-digesting acids that naturally occur in our body. “These injections aim to produce lipolysis, or melting of the fat cells, and therefore help reduce the submental fullness,” Dr. Homsy says. “This procedure can be done in-office with minimal to no downtime.”

Coolscuplting is another effective treatment for certain individuals, Dr. Lehrman says. This procedure freezes excess fat to help remove it from stubborn areas. “Other non-invasive techniques involve laser therapy, radiofrequency and ultrasound-based therapy,” Dr. Homsy adds.

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At-home treatments for a double chin

“The most effective at-home tool is simply weight loss,” Dr. Lehrman says. “There are no other proven cures”—including targeted exercises like face yoga, face taping or skin care solutions. Still, losing weight may not get rid of your double chin if excess weight isn’t the underlying cause.

There are some other techniques that may temporarily reduce the appearance of a double chin—but again, it depends on the root cause. “Lymphatic massage can help reduce excess fluid stored in the neck and submental area by massaging the lymphatic fluid away from that area,” Dr. Homsy explains. But it’s a short-term effect and will only have visible results if your double chin is a result of excess fluid.

At-home microcurrent devices also often claim to help sculpt your jawline. “These tools use some sort of low-level electric current and stimulation of the [facial expression muscles,]” Dr. Homsy explains. There’s limited peer-reviewed research to support their effectiveness, but one study from 2016 found these at-home devices can improve skin firmness. So, if your double chin is due to aging skin, you may see results.

“We should be very careful recommending at-home remedies or treatments before fully assessing patients in person because some of these products are expensive and may not have any effect on more severe forms of double chin,” Dr. Homsy says.

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Sources

People:

Christopher Homsy, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Tufts Medical Center

Craig Lehrman, MD, director of aesthetic surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Journals:

Dermatologic Surgery: "Personal (Self) Perceptions of Submental Fat Among Adults in the United States"

Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy: "A home-based eyebrows lifting effect using a novel device that emits electrostatic pulses containing RF energy, resulting in high frequency, low level transdermal microcurrent pulsations: Double blind, randomized clinical study of efficacy and safety"

Leslie Finlay, MPA
In addition to The Healthy, Leslie has written for outlets such as WebMd.com, Fodors.com, LiveFit.com, and more, specializing in content related to healthcare, nutrition, mental health and wellness, and environmental conservation and sustainability. She holds a master's degree in Public Policy focused on the intersection between public health and environmental conservation, and an undergraduate degree in journalism. Leslie is based in Thailand, where she is a marine conservation and scuba diving instructor. In her spare time you'll find her up in the air on the flying trapeze or underwater, diving coral reefs.