What Really Causes A Double Chin?

What Really Causes A Double Chin?


By Karishma Desai/Sept. 7, 2021 7:41 pm EDT

With more offices staying remote, it seems Zoom meetings have become inevitable. Unfortunately, researchers say this has led to “Zoom dysmorphia,” or negative self-perception from seeing your face on camera (via International Journal of Women’s Dermatology). Dermatologists across the U.S. report a “56% increase in people seeking cosmetic procedures,” including one 24-year-old who reported concerns about her double chin (via Yahoo). Before you consider going under the knife, though, it’s important to know the causes behind double chins.  

A double chin, or submental fat, occurs when someone has an excess layer of fat under the chin, resulting in loose skin (via Beauty Med Clinic). One factor that causes a double chin is weight gain. Health and fitness expert Chris Dempers told Cleveland Clinic, “As people gain weight, many gain it evenly all across their body, including in the face and chin area.” The easiest way to lose fat in the chin area is to incorporate simple lifestyle changes, per Skin Works NY. 

Exercising frequently and eating healthier foods are a great start to reducing excess fat all over the body, including your chin and neck. A good balanced diet consists of produce, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and proteins. You’ll also want to avoid sugar and fried food. If you think the sole cause of a double chin is weight gain, though, think again. There are several other causes behind double chins, and you don’t have to be overweight to have one.

How to tone your chin

Age is a significant factor behind double chins as well, per Skin Works NY. As people get older, they start to lose collagen and elastin, which are important proteins that keep skin firm and plump. This can lead to saggy skin, which in turn, can result in a double chin. Poor posture can also be a factor as it weakens your neck and chin muscles. If you’re a younger person with decent posture, genetics could be the culprit. 

“Some people inherit a stronger jawline while others have a softer one, even if they are thin,” Chris Dempers told Cleveland Clinic. He added, “Being naturally thin doesn’t mean your body fat composition isn’t high. You can still look thin and have less muscle density.” If you notice submental fat form suddenly, then health conditions might be to blame. Cushing’s syndrome, which causes fat accumulation in the upper body, or an underactive thyroid can also cause a double chin to form. 

Luckily, there are several ways to reduce the appearance of submental fat. Skin Works NY and Healthline recommend isolated neck-strengthening exercises like “Ball Squeeze” and “Forehead Push.” For the “Ball Squeeze,” keep a ball under the chin and push down on it. To do the “Neck Lift,” lie down on your bed with your head jutting over the edge of the bed. Gently use your neck muscles to steadily lift your head up. Repeat the movement five times.

Medical procedures can treat double chins

While isolation exercises can tone your chin and neck muscles, it won’t have an effect on saggy skin, per Healthline. If your double chin doesn’t reduce after implementing lifestyle changes, there are a few medical procedures you could consider. 

According to The Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, medical treatments like lipolysis, or the removal of fat cells, can help to treat a double chin. Mesotherapy is one such procedure that consists of several injections of deoxycholic acid, which dissolves fat and allows your body to absorb it. Additionally, the procedure is usually effective enough that you won’t have to worry about sagging skin. There are acute side effects, though, like bruising, swelling, and pain at the site. 

While there are several ways to reduce a double chin, there’s one method you should avoid. Dempers cautions against using viral “jaw exercise tools,” telling Cleveland Clinic, “Using jaw exercise tools incorrectly and excessively increases your risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).” He also added that such devices often have a placebo effect where you might think you are seeing an improvement, but in reality, the improvement might be coming more from lifestyle changes. Above all, it’s important to consult your doctor about the cause of your double chin before seeking treatment options.

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