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How Do I Get Rid of My Pesky Double Chin?

From exercises to surgery, you can reduce or eliminate chin fat — but there’s no overnight solution

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Profile pics. Selfies. Group shots. Digital images reign supreme these days. When it’s time to say “cheese,” for the camera it feels like you need to pose at every possible angle to hide your double chin. You may even have started to wonder how to get rid of it for good.

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There’s no overnight solution. This is especially true if you’ve inherited this jawline. Double chins can also be linked to having overweight or obesity. And while there aren’t instant fixes, you can reduce it with time and effort.

“Typically, a double chin corresponds with carrying excess weight. But there’s no research supporting how to lose a double chin naturally. That is, other than diet and exercise,” notes health and fitness specialist Chris Dempers.

If diet and exercise don’t do the trick — or you want faster results — there’s always double chin surgery. Some procedures can reshape the area, remove excess fat and smooth out your skin. But before you make any decisions, it’s important to understand where that double chin comes from.

What causes a double chin?

When you have a double chin, it means there’s excess fat there and in the surrounding area. Dempers says having overweight or obesity can often cause of a double chin. “As people gain weight, many gain it evenly all across their body, including in the face and chin area,” he says.

There are genetic factors, too. “Some people inherit a stronger jawline, while others have a softer one, even if they don’t have obesity or overweight,” Dempers says. You can also have loose skin there that causes the effect of a double chin.

Double chin treatment options

When it comes to losing that double chin, there aren’t quick fixes. Nothing can magically tighten loose skin or remove fat overnight. And you’ll want to steer clear of offers that promise to do that, Dempers urges.

The only ways to get rid of a double chin are exercise and healthy eating or surgery. And getting noticeable results from non-surgical double chin treatments takes time and patience. The same goes for surgery recovery.

Smart eating

The food you eat (and how you eat it) drives healthy weight loss. And it’s the best way to get rid of a double chin naturally. But how do you know what you “should” eat and how to cut calories doing it?

For success, think about nutrition, not restriction. When you eat more nutritious foods, it can be easier to lose weight and keep it off than with restrictive or fad diets. While ideal calorie counts vary, Dempers says it’s important not to eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day.

“That’s low even for someone who is smaller and needs fewer calories. That 1,200-calorie threshold may be higher depending on your size and activity level,” he says. “You need proper fuel, nutrients and fats to help your brain and overall health.”

Knowing what and how much to eat can often feel overwhelming. But you don’t have to do the math alone. There are good fitness/diet tracking apps that can work for you, says Dempers. These apps can help you:

  • Track the calories you eat and burn.
  • Scan grocery store items to get nutrition information.
  • Understand how much protein, fiber and fats you need each day.

Exercises

When it comes to weight loss, mindful eating goes hand in hand with physical activity. And while it’s important to move your whole body every day, there are ways to tone your jawline, too. To reduce chin fat, you can retrain your jaw and neck muscles using:

  • Jaw exercise tools: Small devices you bite down on to strengthen your face and jaw muscles.
  • Double chin exercises: To strengthen your neck muscles, reducing the appearance of a double chin.

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Dempers stresses neither of these methods can fully cut chin fat. But they can build up your face, jaw and neck muscles.

“Stronger neck muscles don’t automatically mean less fat. For example, you can do a thousand crunches a day. But if you still exceed your ideal calorie intake, belly fat isn’t going to go away,” he cautions.

The same holds for your double chin. Exercises targeting this area can support healthy eating and exercise’s benefits. But they can’t replace that dynamic duo.

“You may think it’s the device getting you results, but most people using them also work out in the gym,” Dempers notes. “Anyone following a healthy diet and exercising an hour a day will lose weight and see it in their face.”

And when starting any exercise program, you want to be sure you’re doing it correctly. Otherwise, you can overwork and strain the dozens of muscles in your jaw and neck. Or cause other complications, like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).

So, take your time and start slowly. Even walking 10 to 15 minutes each day can put you on the path to better fitness. And don’t feel shy about asking for help. If you can afford it, partner with a registered dietitian or professional trainer. They can help you reach your best possible results. But that isn’t the only solution. Find an exercise buddy to walk, run or go to the gym with you. This can also help you reach your goals by keeping you motivated and on track.

Medical procedures and surgery

If diet and exercise aren’t helping reshape your chin, you may want to consider double chin surgery. It removes loose skin and extra fat around your neck. Plastic surgeons do several kinds of contouring surgeries. And they may combine different types of treatments, like:

  • Chin liposuction: Sucks fat out from under the chin and neck skin.
  • Chin tuck: Tightens skin and removes extra fat around the chin and upper neck.
  • Neck lift: Tightens muscles and removes extra skin around the entire neck and chin.
  • Kybella® injections: Break down small amounts of fat in areas with firm skin.

What to know about double chin surgery

Before you decide to have surgery, you’ll have a consultation with a plastic surgery team. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about these double chin treatments. They’ll ask a lot of questions, like:

  • Why do you want to have double chin surgery?
  • Have you tried other double chin treatments like diet and exercise?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  • What prescription medications do you take?
  • Do you smoke, drink alcohol or take non-prescribed drugs?

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Your provider will look closely at your chin and neck. They may even draw on it with a pen to mark where they will tighten skin and muscle. And they’ll take “before” pictures of your face for your medical records.

During this visit, you’ll also learn about your options for anesthesia, any risks that come with this kind of surgery and what to expect during recovery. You’ll also talk about costs. Double chin surgery is typically considered an elective, cosmetic procedure. This usually means it’s not covered by medical insurance. That means you’ll need to pay the entire cost.

You can usually go home the same day as your double chin surgery. But prepare yourself —you’ll leave with bandages and maybe even a chin strap. Oh, and if you have drains in your surgery incisions, you’ll be happy to know they aren’t long-term. Your provider will remove them a few days later at your first follow-up visit.

You may have pain, bruising and swelling that should get better within two weeks. But it may take several months for your incisions to heal. Once you heal, you may have a more defined chin and neck. And your skin may feel smoother, too.

Moving forward with double chin treatment

While your double chin won’t disappear overnight, you don’t have to live with it forever. From eating healthy foods and regularly exercising to having surgery, you can streamline the sagginess and maybe even boost your confidence. And, with a little time and patience, you can smile without trying to find your “best” angle.

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