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How to get rid of a double chin: Surgical and non-surgical options

It's essential to understand what can cause neck fat to occur.

How to get rid of a double chin: Surgical and non-surgical options
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Your appearance can have a direct impact on your mood and self-esteem. This is especially true if you're trying to lose weight, as your body is undergoing significant changes (both in how you look and feel).

But here's the thing about weight gain or weight loss: it's not a linear journey. It's not uncommon to notice fat cells sticking around in specific areas, such as excess fat around your neck muscles (which can create the appearance of a double chin).

While weight isn't the only factor that can cause double chins, it's essential to understand what can cause neck fat to occur, as well as surgical and non-surgical options for getting rid of a double chin.

From adopting healthy eating habits to neck lift procedures, we're rounding up everything you need to know about double chin reduction and what options you have if a surgical procedure isn't right for you.

What causes a double chin?

As the name suggests, a double chin occurs when a person has excess fat accumulating around the neck, lower face, and jaw muscles. Carrying extra weight around the chin can cause the appearance of a second or 'double chin'.

Also known as submental fat, there are a range of factors that can cause a double chin. Some of these are within your control — such as reducing your body weight or posture — and some are not — such as your age or genetics.

Commonly, a double chin is caused by one or a combination of these factors:

  • Weight gain: A double chin is more likely to present in those who are overweight or obese, with unwanted fat tending to accumulate in key areas such as the lower jaw or chin area.
  • Genetics: Your bone structure and face shape can play a role in the appearance of a double chin, both of which are typically dictated by your genetics.
  • Age: As you age, collagen levels in your skin decline [1]. Over time, this can reduce the skin's elasticity and cause the appearance of loose or saggy skin. While these are natural ageing processes, they can lead to excess skin or even the appearance of a double chin.
  • Posture: Spending too much time hunched over a steering wheel, computer or phone can weaken your chin and neck muscles, potentially leading to the skin sagging and even a double chin forming.
  • Thyroid issues (such as hypothyroidism): An underactive thyroid — where the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone — can trigger a range of symptoms, including weight gain and a puffy face, which can be mistaken for a double chin [2].

On the topic of thyroid issues, it's important to know the difference between a double chin and other conditions such as goitre or a swollen thyroid [3]. This condition causes a lump or swelling to occur on the front of your neck. While usually painless and not serious, make sure to chat with your GP if you notice abnormal swelling or puffiness in your neck area.

Can you get surgery for chin fat reduction?

For some, the appearance of excess fat cells around the jaw or chin can be cause for discomfort. While it is a costly and invasive option, double chin surgery does allow you to target fat cells in this area and lead to a double chin reduction.

The thing to remember about double chin surgery and any surgical intervention is that it does come with significant recovery time and a hefty price tag.

While we've covered the most common types of chin fat reduction surgery below, make sure to keep ready to explore nonsurgical alternative options to reduce the appearance of a double chin.

Liposuction

As a common form of cosmetic plastic surgery, liposuction aims to reshape specific parts of the body using targeted fat removal [4]. Specialist plastic surgeons complete this procedure, which targets fat cells under the skin, including around the neck and under the chin.

Only local anaesthetic is used for liposuction, with surgeons making a small incision before inserting a small tube under the skin to remove the extra fat.

The big thing to remember about liposuction is this: it's not a replacement for losing weight. In fact, this procedure only removes small pockets of fat, meaning it is best suited to those already in their ideal weight range with firm, elastic skin.

Facelift

Another surgical option is a facelift, which is used to treat a double chin as well as other common cosmetic concerns (like the visible signs of ageing) [5].

The procedure aims to lift and tighten neck and face tissue by reducing sagging and fat deposits in key areas such as the jowls, chin, and along the nose.

Often a facelift includes liposuction, particularly if you want to reduce fat in key areas like the jaw or chin. Keep in mind that this is an invasive procedure that requires general anaesthesia.

Neck lift procedure

Neck lifts (also known as cervicoplasty) are targeted surgical procedures done to remove excess skin around the neck. This in-depth procedure is often more effective than 'spot treatments' like liposuction at truly addressing cosmetic concerns (like sagging skin and a double chin) [6].

Usually, this procedure is performed at a cosmetic clinic or day surgery and is focused on removing loose skin beneath the jaw and chin.

How to get rid of chin fat without surgery

Not keen to go under the knife? While diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle aren't a 'quick fix', these sustainable lifestyle changes will help you address the root cause of a double chin and help to support weight loss in a manageable, sustainable way.

Cryolipolysis

Cryolipolysis (a.k.a fat freezing) is a non-surgical procedure [8]. It works by using cooling technology to kill and freeze fat cells permanently. It's a non-invasive option that has gained popularity in recent years, with minimal pain and no recovery time.

The results are promising, too, with patients reporting a noticeable difference in as little as 3 weeks (with average fat reduction in the range of 10-25% per round of treatment) [8].

Keep in mind, though, that this targeted fat cell treatment should be complemented with a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Try double chin exercises

If you're looking to steer clear of medical intervention altogether, there are exercises you can try to strengthen your neck and face muscles. While these won't spot reduce fat around your face, neck or chin, they may be able to create a tight feeling and reduce the likelihood of a visible double chin.

Here are a few exercises to try:

  • Jaw rolls: After opening your mouth, roll your lower jaw around, up and down.
  • Straight jaw jut: Tilt your head back and look at the ceiling. Then, push your jaw forward until you feel a slight stretch under your chin and hold for 10 seconds. Relax, return your head to a neutral position, and repeat 10 times.
  • Tongue stretch: Gaze straight in front of you and stick out your tongue as far as possible. Then, lift your tongue upwards and towards your nose, holding for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Incorporate gua sha into your daily routine

Another gentle approach is to use a small tool (a gua sha) to softly scrape the skin around your chin and neck to improve circulation and reduce inflammation [9].

Gua sha is actually a lymphatic drainage technique designed to relieve tension and move lymph fluids around the body. A daily gua sha practice may be able to reduce the appearance of swelling around the neck and face by improving circulation and reducing inflammation.

Follow a healthy diet

Eating a diet rich in healthy fruits, vegetables, fats, carbs, and protein is key to supporting a healthy weight. While it isn't a 'magic pill', removing highly processed foods and refined sugar from your diet can help to combat a double chin (as well as support weight loss across your entire body).

Chew gum

While there isn't a lot of research to back this up, it has been said that chewing gum can strengthen the muscles around our face and jaw and combat a double chin.

Just like with the facial exercises mentioned above, chewing gum alone won't resolve a double chin. Instead, it can be a tactic to try alongside making healthy, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise habits.

Maintain a good posture

As we've mentioned, poor posture can cause the muscles around our neck to weaken over time and lead to a double chin. If you're sitting at a desk for long hours each day, ensure your screen or laptop is positioned at eye level and consider a sit-stand desk that allows you to add incidental movement into your work routine.

Exercise regularly

According to the WHO, adults should aim for at least 75-150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise every week [10]. Our tip? Try to pick a style of movement you enjoy, whether that's walking, swimming, riding a bike or a game of golf.

How fast can you get rid of chin fat?

There is no silver bullet to reducing chin fat or a double chin. While certain procedures (like cryolipolysis) can cause changes within just 3 weeks, typically, changes to your chin's appearance are likely to take multiple weeks if not months.

While surgical options do exist, one of the best ways to combat a double chin is to approach your weight loss journey holistically.

Feel like you need an extra helping hand shedding some kilos, but looking for something more holistic than surgery? Juniper’s Weight Reset Program provides comprehensive weight loss support, including access to clinically proven treatments (if eligible), dietitians, health coaches, and a community of like-minded women.

With plans tailored just for you, Juniper can help you lose weight for good.

Image credit: Getty Images

Your appearance can have a direct impact on your mood and self-esteem. This is especially true if you're trying to lose weight, as your body is undergoing significant changes (both in how you look and feel).

But here's the thing about weight gain or weight loss: it's not a linear journey. It's not uncommon to notice fat cells sticking around in specific areas, such as excess fat around your neck muscles (which can create the appearance of a double chin).

While weight isn't the only factor that can cause double chins, it's essential to understand what can cause neck fat to occur, as well as surgical and non-surgical options for getting rid of a double chin.

From adopting healthy eating habits to neck lift procedures, we're rounding up everything you need to know about double chin reduction and what options you have if a surgical procedure isn't right for you.

What causes a double chin?

As the name suggests, a double chin occurs when a person has excess fat accumulating around the neck, lower face, and jaw muscles. Carrying extra weight around the chin can cause the appearance of a second or 'double chin'.

Also known as submental fat, there are a range of factors that can cause a double chin. Some of these are within your control — such as reducing your body weight or posture — and some are not — such as your age or genetics.

Commonly, a double chin is caused by one or a combination of these factors:

  • Weight gain: A double chin is more likely to present in those who are overweight or obese, with unwanted fat tending to accumulate in key areas such as the lower jaw or chin area.
  • Genetics: Your bone structure and face shape can play a role in the appearance of a double chin, both of which are typically dictated by your genetics.
  • Age: As you age, collagen levels in your skin decline [1]. Over time, this can reduce the skin's elasticity and cause the appearance of loose or saggy skin. While these are natural ageing processes, they can lead to excess skin or even the appearance of a double chin.
  • Posture: Spending too much time hunched over a steering wheel, computer or phone can weaken your chin and neck muscles, potentially leading to the skin sagging and even a double chin forming.
  • Thyroid issues (such as hypothyroidism): An underactive thyroid — where the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone — can trigger a range of symptoms, including weight gain and a puffy face, which can be mistaken for a double chin [2].

On the topic of thyroid issues, it's important to know the difference between a double chin and other conditions such as goitre or a swollen thyroid [3]. This condition causes a lump or swelling to occur on the front of your neck. While usually painless and not serious, make sure to chat with your GP if you notice abnormal swelling or puffiness in your neck area.

Can you get surgery for chin fat reduction?

For some, the appearance of excess fat cells around the jaw or chin can be cause for discomfort. While it is a costly and invasive option, double chin surgery does allow you to target fat cells in this area and lead to a double chin reduction.

The thing to remember about double chin surgery and any surgical intervention is that it does come with significant recovery time and a hefty price tag.

While we've covered the most common types of chin fat reduction surgery below, make sure to keep ready to explore nonsurgical alternative options to reduce the appearance of a double chin.

Liposuction

As a common form of cosmetic plastic surgery, liposuction aims to reshape specific parts of the body using targeted fat removal [4]. Specialist plastic surgeons complete this procedure, which targets fat cells under the skin, including around the neck and under the chin.

Only local anaesthetic is used for liposuction, with surgeons making a small incision before inserting a small tube under the skin to remove the extra fat.

The big thing to remember about liposuction is this: it's not a replacement for losing weight. In fact, this procedure only removes small pockets of fat, meaning it is best suited to those already in their ideal weight range with firm, elastic skin.

Facelift

Another surgical option is a facelift, which is used to treat a double chin as well as other common cosmetic concerns (like the visible signs of ageing) [5].

The procedure aims to lift and tighten neck and face tissue by reducing sagging and fat deposits in key areas such as the jowls, chin, and along the nose.

Often a facelift includes liposuction, particularly if you want to reduce fat in key areas like the jaw or chin. Keep in mind that this is an invasive procedure that requires general anaesthesia.

Neck lift procedure

Neck lifts (also known as cervicoplasty) are targeted surgical procedures done to remove excess skin around the neck. This in-depth procedure is often more effective than 'spot treatments' like liposuction at truly addressing cosmetic concerns (like sagging skin and a double chin) [6].

Usually, this procedure is performed at a cosmetic clinic or day surgery and is focused on removing loose skin beneath the jaw and chin.

How to get rid of chin fat without surgery

Not keen to go under the knife? While diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle aren't a 'quick fix', these sustainable lifestyle changes will help you address the root cause of a double chin and help to support weight loss in a manageable, sustainable way.

Cryolipolysis

Cryolipolysis (a.k.a fat freezing) is a non-surgical procedure [8]. It works by using cooling technology to kill and freeze fat cells permanently. It's a non-invasive option that has gained popularity in recent years, with minimal pain and no recovery time.

The results are promising, too, with patients reporting a noticeable difference in as little as 3 weeks (with average fat reduction in the range of 10-25% per round of treatment) [8].

Keep in mind, though, that this targeted fat cell treatment should be complemented with a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Try double chin exercises

If you're looking to steer clear of medical intervention altogether, there are exercises you can try to strengthen your neck and face muscles. While these won't spot reduce fat around your face, neck or chin, they may be able to create a tight feeling and reduce the likelihood of a visible double chin.

Here are a few exercises to try:

  • Jaw rolls: After opening your mouth, roll your lower jaw around, up and down.
  • Straight jaw jut: Tilt your head back and look at the ceiling. Then, push your jaw forward until you feel a slight stretch under your chin and hold for 10 seconds. Relax, return your head to a neutral position, and repeat 10 times.
  • Tongue stretch: Gaze straight in front of you and stick out your tongue as far as possible. Then, lift your tongue upwards and towards your nose, holding for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Incorporate gua sha into your daily routine

Another gentle approach is to use a small tool (a gua sha) to softly scrape the skin around your chin and neck to improve circulation and reduce inflammation [9].

Gua sha is actually a lymphatic drainage technique designed to relieve tension and move lymph fluids around the body. A daily gua sha practice may be able to reduce the appearance of swelling around the neck and face by improving circulation and reducing inflammation.

Follow a healthy diet

Eating a diet rich in healthy fruits, vegetables, fats, carbs, and protein is key to supporting a healthy weight. While it isn't a 'magic pill', removing highly processed foods and refined sugar from your diet can help to combat a double chin (as well as support weight loss across your entire body).

Chew gum

While there isn't a lot of research to back this up, it has been said that chewing gum can strengthen the muscles around our face and jaw and combat a double chin.

Just like with the facial exercises mentioned above, chewing gum alone won't resolve a double chin. Instead, it can be a tactic to try alongside making healthy, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise habits.

Maintain a good posture

As we've mentioned, poor posture can cause the muscles around our neck to weaken over time and lead to a double chin. If you're sitting at a desk for long hours each day, ensure your screen or laptop is positioned at eye level and consider a sit-stand desk that allows you to add incidental movement into your work routine.

Exercise regularly

According to the WHO, adults should aim for at least 75-150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise every week [10]. Our tip? Try to pick a style of movement you enjoy, whether that's walking, swimming, riding a bike or a game of golf.

How fast can you get rid of chin fat?

There is no silver bullet to reducing chin fat or a double chin. While certain procedures (like cryolipolysis) can cause changes within just 3 weeks, typically, changes to your chin's appearance are likely to take multiple weeks if not months.

While surgical options do exist, one of the best ways to combat a double chin is to approach your weight loss journey holistically.

Feel like you need an extra helping hand shedding some kilos, but looking for something more holistic than surgery? Juniper’s Weight Reset Program provides comprehensive weight loss support, including access to clinically proven treatments (if eligible), dietitians, health coaches, and a community of like-minded women.

With plans tailored just for you, Juniper can help you lose weight for good.

Image credit: Getty Images

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