How can I get rid of a double chin?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
It is possible to get rid of a double chin without cosmetic surgery through diet and weight loss if the skin tone is excellent. Patients with skin laxity at the submental area and upper neck will not be able to get rid of double chin adiposity without surgical correction through liposuction and possible skin removal (neck lift).
Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT

If you have the true “double chin” it generally means you are carrying excess fat under the chin near the throat area. The fat tends to sag down creating a wrinkle, hence the term “double chin”. In this case, all you need to do is lose weight by consuming fewer calories than you. That is, maintain a calorie deficit by moving more, eating less or doing any combination of the two. No matter what you read, no exercise alone can fix this problem. When you gain fat, you gain it everywhere, and each person gains more in certain places than others. Unfortunately, just as you can’t control where you store fat, you also can’t control where you lose it. In other words, you can’t spot reduce so no exercise can target losing fat from a particular area. You can only decrease your fat stores overall by eating fewer calories than you burn. Continue this process until the fat layer around the chin and neck area reduces to the point where the “double chin” disappears. As you maintain a calorie deficit, body fat will leave from whatever area your body was genetically programmed to draw it from. As a rule of thumb, the last place fat was put on is the first place off when dieting. The other option is to surgically remove the fat pad under the chin or liposuction.

A double chin also results from losing fat in the neck area, and the skin that was stretched by the previous increase in fat stores doesn’t resume its original size and shape because of age-related decline in elastin. Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that allows tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. Elastin helps skin return to its original position when pushed or pinched. As we age, elastin significantly declines leading to loose, wrinkly skin. The other reason a double chin forms is from simply having loose skin due to a number of reasons, including genetics. There is no cure for either of these “double chin” causes except cosmetic surgery that removes the loose skin.

If you have excessive weight on your body it can be stored in many areas, including under the chin and upper neck area. To lose your double chin you need to lose weight. Since the body tends to take fat from throughout the body instead of one specific area, it will take time. A combination of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and mild caloric restriction has been shown to be the most effective way to safely lose weight and keep it off over the long term. If you haven’t exercised in a while, consult a physician to determine you’re healthy enough to engage in regular exercise, and then start slowly by working out at low to moderate intensity and gradually increasing duration and intensity.

Getting rid of a 'double chin' is a matter of exercising more and watching what you eat. You cannot do what is called spot reduction. This means that the body will burn fat as a whole, not in one specific area that you are focusing on. Since weight loss (or losing body fat) is a matter of burning more calories than you consume, you are better off doing lunges to get rid of a double chin than any kind of neck exercise or infomercial contraption.

Focus on adhering to a well-rounded strength training and cardio program and watch what you eat. I highly recommend tracking your food using online software. It helps to see the amount of food you consume each day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.