Having a double, or even a triple chin, is a common condition. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about and is nothing more than a layer of fat that has formed under the chin. When that layer becomes substantial enough, it forms a wrinkle that creates the appearance of one or more extra chins.
Even though medically speaking a double chin isn’t usually a sign of a health problem, many people consider them unsightly, and can harm your self-image. Often, double chins are associated with weight gain, although there are myriad potential causes. That’s why some people can have a double chin even if they are already at a healthy weight or in the process of losing weight.
For that reason, it’s important to figure out what causes a ‘double chin’ first if you want to lose one.
Common Causes of a Double Chin
A double chin seems straightforward; just a little bit of extra fat around the jaw. But its causes can get surprisingly complex.
Here are all of the most common reasons why people tend to find themselves with a little extra padding under the jawline.
Probably the most common cause of a double chin is simply a general excess of fat. When you gain weight, the tendency is to see fat deposited all across the body, and unfortunately, that includes in the face and under the chin.
And depending on your body type, it can be particularly easy for weight gain in your face to sneak up on you. For instance, if you just have a larger frame, a few extra pounds on the hips or belly might escape your notice. Then one day you go to take a selfie and find an unpleasant surprise.
And when someone struggles with their weight, a double chin can be a particular source of self-consciousness. After all, you can conceal certain things with baggier clothing, but not so much an extra chin.
The other most common cause that often goes overlooked is simply the effect that age has on our skin.
Part of this is just a natural part of aging. Around our mid-20s, the amount of collagen our skin produces begins to decline. When this happens, skin starts to lose its elasticity and begins to sag. The more we age the less collagen we have and the more pronounced the effect becomes.
And when the skin under our jaw begins to sag, it creates the same effect as if we were carrying extra fat in the same space. And further, we also tend to lose muscular definition with age, which accentuates the effect.
While skin aging is a natural part of getting older, there are certain factors that can hasten the process. Things like smoking, poor diet, and sun exposure can all have deleterious effects on the health of our skin. At the same time, practicing good skincare habits and leading a generally healthier lifestyle can help to stave off the effects of aging.
You wouldn’t happen to be reading this post on a smartphone or a laptop right now, would you? Because if you are, that may be a part of the problem.
When we use either, we tend to crane our necks over to see what we’re doing. And adopting that posture is one of the worse things that we could be doing.
Aside from potentially causing neck pain, this posture is bad news for the platysma muscle, which connects the neck to the chin. When this muscle weakens, it results in reduced elasticity around the jowls and the sagging effect that goes with it.
Some factors associated with double chins are outside of our control. Chief among them is the basic shapes of our faces. Just as certain body types allow people some people to wear weight more flatteringly than others, certain facial shapes are more forgiving than others, and vice versa.
In particular, people with recessive chins and weak jawlines will find themselves more susceptible to developing a double chin. This is simply because, for these individuals, the skin is stretched over a smaller area. And as it is less tightly drawn over the face, it only takes a relatively small increase in fat or a decrease in skin elasticity to cause a double chin.
This is probably the chief reason why some people can be very slim but still develop a double chin.
If you look at members of your family and see that many of them tend towards plump chins, then the odds are good that you’ll be predisposed towards developing one as well.
While there probably isn’t a specific gene for having a double chin, any number of traits could make you more likely to get one. Aside from bone structure being a genetic trait, you could be predisposed towards weight gain, having thinner or less elastic skin, or being more likely to store fat around your chin.
How to Get Rid of a Double Chin?
So regardless of the cause, you just want your double chin gone. While that’s understandable, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In many cases, and depending on the factors relevant to you, a multipronged approach might be necessary.
Common solutions to a stubborn double chin include:
Diet and Excercise
For many, eating right and getting back in the gym will be the two most important choices that they can make. No matter how diligent we try to be, most of use will eventually wind up carrying a few pounds that we could stand to lose.
So even if you don’t naturally have a movie star jawline hidden under an extra chin, this is a great place to start.
Dieting for a Calorie Deficit
Now no matter what the celebrity fitness gurus have to say, there is no real magic formula to burning off fat. At the end of the day, it’s just math; burning more calories than you take in.
Of course, different people have different health requirements, and you should always discuss a new fitness plan with your general practitioner, particularly if you have a chronic condition like diabetes.
But as a general rule, let’s assume that a healthy woman takes in the recommended 2,000 calories per day. By reducing that number to 1,500 per day, she could expect to lose weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week. That’s considered the healthy, sustainable rate of weight loss.
The most straightforward way to reach that reduced-calorie target is to reduce your intake of foods with refined sugars and saturated fats. The former may as well be empty calories. And while everyone needs a little saturated fat, most of us take in far more than we need.
Instead, you want to focus on a diet based on quality proteins like lean meat, fish, or vegetable-based sources. You also want plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. The protein and fiber will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, as will a general focus on minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods.
Training for Weight Loss
As with diet, you can expect everyone to respond slightly differently to a workout regimen. But for basic weight loss, these are a few basic rules of thumb.
In general, you should be focusing your efforts on cardio training. In particular, interval training is probably the most efficient means of burning calories.
Of recent trends, High-Intensity Interval Training is one of the few that seems to have evidence supporting its efficacy. Done correctly, it’s fast, it’s efficient, and most people can do it in the privacy of their own homes.
But really, any workout that gets your heart rate up is a good place to start.
Also, many experts recommend doing moderate strength training two times per week. In particular, you should prioritize compound exercises like push-ups and squats over isolation exercises like curls or leg extensions.
As before, the reason for this is efficiency; compound exercises engage multiple large muscle groups at once, training more muscle and burning more calories at one time.
Making Skincare a Lifestyle Point
If your double chin owes more to sagging skin than an excess of fat, then it may be time to revisit your skincare routine.
At any age, there are steps that you can take to prevent and even reverse many of the signs of aging. Many of these are fairly straightforward.
For example, if you smoke, then there’s no time like the present to quit. Reducing or cutting out alcohol consumption is another excellent move that you can make to improve your skin health and your health overall.
Alcohol consumption leaves us dehydrated, which would be bad enough for our skin on its own. But in response to that dehydration, our bodies start retaining water, which causes puffiness and bloating that will accentuate the appearance of a double chin.
The same is true of an excess of salt, so reducing your sodium intake will also help. And eating a nutrient-rich diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting ample rest are three of the best ways to de-age your skin.
In addition to these basic lifestyle adjustments, face masks and over-the-counter skin treatments can help promote collagen production and increase skin cell turnover, making your skin look and behave years younger.
When lifestyle changes just won’t do, or won’t produce results as quickly as you would like to see them, then there are always clinical options available. These areas varied as the causes of a double chin, so which choice is right for you will depend on your unique circumstances.
Dermal fillers, for instance, are a rapid-response technique that can quickly produce a de-aging effect, reduce wrinkles, and improve definition in the target area. In the case of reducing a double chin, fillers can be administered along the angle of the jawline to increase definition and reduce the appearance of a double chin.
Botox® is another potential, non-surgical option. You’re probably aware of botox’s use for smoothing wrinkles and fine lines. It can similarly be administered to the muscles of the jawline and neck to achieve a lifting effect that minimizes the appearance of a double chin.
Further non-surgical methods rely on likewise tightening the skin, either by non-invasively lifting the skin around the neck or by promoting collagen production that will naturally produce younger, more elastic skin.
When the goal is a dramatic, permanent reversal of either a double chin or sagging jowls, then surgery can be the surest solution. Often this will be because a person’s genetics or bone structure simply makes it difficult to lose a double chin and keep it off.
Fortunately, surgical procedures have made substantial advancements in recent years. Depending on a patient’s needs, they may be recommended facial contouring rather than a conventional facelift.
Contouring is similar to a facelift, but less intensive and requiring less recovery time. Nevertheless, it is extremely effective at reducing the appearance of double chins and drooping jowls.
And facelifts themselves are now less invasive than they have ever been. A SoftLift™ Facelift stresses minimal incisions targeting key areas that will produce the maximum reduction in sagging jows and neck laxity. And because the procedure minimizes the number of incisions, recovery time is minimized as well.
Determining What Causes a Double Chin and Formulating a Solution
As we discussed, a double chin is rarely an indicator of poor health. More, often, it just comes down to something like age, genetics, or various habits that don’t necessarily reflect on your overall well-being.
But understandably, most people will often find themselves wishing that they could get rid of it nevertheless, and to that end, figuring out what causes a double chin in your specific case is crucial to choosing the most effective solution.
If you’re looking at treatment options for shedding that double chin once and for all, Atlanta Face and Body can help. With our expertise and state-of-the-art treatment center, we have a solution that is right for you. Our very own Atlanta Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker (The Queen of Faces), can address any concerns you may have and help you find the best solution.
For more information, contact us today.