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If there is one thing people dislike more than extra flab, it is when that extra flab is exposed. That’s exactly the problem with submental fat, aka, the dreaded double chin.
A double chin is excess fat that accumulates underneath the chin, beneath the lower jaw bone. The double chin is a stubborn area to get rid of. It is often a source of mental distress and low confidence for many people.
Causes of a Double Chin
Usually, the main cause of a double chin is weight gain. As a double chin is usually excess fat and skin, being overweight can cause accumulation of that extra flab. (1) Rapid weight gain or loss can be a cause as well.
Besides weight gain/fluctuations, there can be other factors that can play a part:
- Age: As you get older, your skin loses its elasticity, causing the skin around the neck and jaw to sag.
- Genetics: Sometimes, an individual’s unique genetic makeup can lead to developing a double chin, no matter how hard they try to reverse it.
- Poor posture: Although poor posture is not so much of a cause, it can exacerbate double chin problems by causing wrinkles and weakening of the muscles in that area.
- Poor diet: Poor eating habits, along with a sedentary lifestyle, cause excess fat gain. Fat can accumulate pretty much anywhere in the body, and for some, it accumulates underneath the chin.
Medical Treatments to Get Rid of a Double Chin
Although natural methods are a great way to get rid of that extra flab under the chin, sometimes people want a quick solution. You can choose between non-surgical and surgical interventions.
1. Non-surgical therapies
Non-surgical therapies include mesotherapy, which involves injecting the double chin with fat-dissolving compounds. It is a long procedure that may require up to 100 injections in a span of 6 months.
2. Surgical options
These surgical options offer quicker results:
- Lipolysis: The extra fat is removed by applying suction (liposuction) or by using a laser.
- Face-lift: The excess fat and saggy, loose skin around the chin and neck are removed.
- Neck-lift: The extra skin is removed (cervicoplasty) or the neck muscles are tightened (platysmaplasty).
Note: These methods do not guarantee that you will never see that double chin again. If dietary and lifestyle changes are not made, fat can quickly reaccumulate in the now fat-free area.
Lifestyle and Self-Care Tips to Help Fix a Double Chin
Fortunately, if you are battling a double chin, there are more than a few ways to combat it at home.
1. Perform specific exercises
While not much scientific evidence is available supporting the idea that exercising a specific body part can reduce fat in that area, certain exercises can strengthen and shape the muscles of the neck and jaw area, which are usually weak from poor posture.
Doing these movements will give the appearance of a well-sculpted jawline.
a. Pucker-Up Exercise
As silly as it might look, the “duck face” that you see many young people doing in photos can actually help strengthen the jawline.
How to do it:
- With a tall posture, tilt your head back and look at the ceiling.
- Pucker your lips as if you are kissing the ceiling, and soon you will feel a stretch in the area beneath your chin.
- Hold this position for 5–20 seconds.
- Release the hold and return to the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise 10–15 times every day for a few weeks.
b. Jaw Jut Exercise
This exercise simultaneously stretches and strengthens the lower jaw area, thus helping to structure the chin area to give off a more pleasant appearance.
How to do it:
- While keeping your spine erect, slowly tilt your head back until you are looking at the ceiling.
- Push your lower jaw forward, as if you were creating an underbite (you will feel a stretch under the chin).
- Hold this position for 5–10 seconds.
- Relax your jaw and return your head to the starting position.
- Repeat this 5–10 times, two to three times a day.
2. Clean up your diet
The most common reason for a double chin is weight gain, and the best solution to weight gain is proper nutrition and an active lifestyle.
Here are a few easy ways to implement healthy eating strategies:
- Switch out processed foods (refined grains, cereals, chips, baked goods, fried foods, etc.) for more whole foods (fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, fish, whole grains). The latter can help decrease the number of total calories and keep you full for longer due to the high fiber (2) and protein content. (3)
- Eat mindfully. Taking 5–10 more minutes when eating can help with portion control. Eat without distractions (no TV or phone), and chew slowly. These steps allow you to feel fullness better and to eat less than you normally would if you scarfed down your food.
- Switch out unhealthy snacks, such as chips and candy, for crunchy veggies and fruits, such as carrots and apples.
Of course, nutrition is only half the battle. An active lifestyle plays a crucial role in keeping the extra weight off. Here are some simple activities you can do to get moving:
- Resistance training two to three times a week with weights, body weight, or machines to tone your muscles and spur fat loss
- Cardiovascular exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes, five times a week
- Going for walks on your lunch break from work, or taking short 15-minute walks throughout the day
- Taking up that recreational sport that you’ve always wanted to try, which may also give you the opportunity to build some awesome friendships!
4. Chew gum
To really get those jaw muscles working without thinking about it, chew some gum!
Chewing gum has been shown to strengthen the muscles of the jaw, and you get the added benefit of treating yourself to something tasty. Just make sure to choose sugar-free gum.
5. Keep yourself hydrated
6. Gently massage your face
As you age, your skin loses its natural elasticity. Regular face massages, which help improve blood circulation, can help retain some of that youthful glow.
While most people desire a well-structured, visible jawline, it is often hidden under a layer of fat around the chin. This is known as submental fullness, or commonly, double chin.
Various home-based interventions may help lose the excess fat around your chin. You can also opt for medical interventions for quick results. However, they are usually expensive and often not long-lasting if you don’t change your lifestyle.