We at Maine Laser Skin Care get asked a lot about how to get rid of the fat below the face and around the chin area, perhaps better known as the "double chin". This question is also usually accompanied by the statement, "I hate my neck!"
Commonly, this awareness of a double chin happens after someone sees a candid shot of themselves in profile. By human nature, when we become aware of that appearance of excess fat underneath the chin, we become very self-conscious about that area and prioritize doing something about it.
Prior to the development of more recent non-invasive or minimally invasive technologies, the plastic surgery solution of "nip and tuck" was the only solution. Eliminating the double chin surgically involves the risks of anesthesia and infection, in addition to the downtime of persistent swelling and bruising.
The pricetag on these surgical procedures is also much more than most people can afford or want to expend. For example, double chin liposuction usually costs $2500-4000, and neck lifts have been known to cost $4000-6000 depending on the surgical location.
We are fortunate in 2020 to have several innovative choices to help eliminate double chin fat. Not only are these other options less invasive, but they are also less expensive and even less painful.
For people with moderate to large amounts of fat under the chin, we usually recommend CoolSculpting. The CoolMini handpiece is a special applicator that is adapted to this type of small treatment area.
As with other CoolSculpting areas of treatment, such as the abdomen, flanks, and thighs, the application of extreme cold to the double chin functionally kills the local area fat cells, which your body debulks over the next 4-6 weeks. One application of the CoolMini to each side of the chin is usually enough treat most areas of the double chin.
For people with mild to moderate amounts of double chin fat that are insufficient to justify CoolSculpting, we generally suggest Kybella. Kybella is an FDA-approved injection that consists of a chemical called deoxycholic acid.
Our bodies produce deoxycholic acid naturally within the liver, and our digestive systems use it to digest fat that comes in our diet. This molecule basically starts digesting fat as soon as it comes in contact with it.
When Kybella digests the fat, it also kills the fat cells. During this process, the solid form of fat turns into a more liquid form.
Immediately after Kybella is injected into the area, the patient will feel a warm or burning sensation due to the heat generated by the chemical reaction of the acid basically melting the fat. A cold pack, which we apply to the area right after the injections finish, minimizes the burning feeling.
After a typical Kybella treatment, the double chin area becomes very red and inflamed-looking for several weeks, and needs some downtime to fully subside. However, as the redness, swelling, and inflammation descends, the appearance of the double chin also diminishes progressively.
With both CoolSculpting and Kybella, the killing of the fat cells stimulates your body to remove the damaged cells and tissue, which explains the 4-6 week process of improving the double chin appearance. With younger skin that still has a good amount of elastin, after the gravitational pulling of the double chin fat is reduced, the skin can frequently pull up showing a much improved profile.
In older patients with less elastin and less ability of the skin to retract, there are other less invasive treatments to tighten the skin in that area. Such procedures include basic pen-based micro needling, and more advanced radio frequency micro needling known as SecretRF.
If you would like more information on treatments for the double chin and the neck, please call us either in Augusta at (207) 873-2158 or in Scarborough at (207) 303-0125 to schedule a free, individualized, and confidential consultation. Also, don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more information on these and other skin care topics.