What Causes a Double Chin?

People with a double chin, or submental fat, have an excess layer of fatty tissue under their lower jaw. This common condition affects young and old, men and women. And it happens for a variety of reasons. You don’t have to be overweight to get a double chin.

So, if weight isn’t always responsible, what else can cause a double chin? And what can you do about it?

Dr. Javier Zelaya and our caring team here at Skinworks Dermatology, with three New York City locations, have years of experience helping patients look their best. If you’re dealing with a double chin and are looking for answers, we can help.

Double chin causes

While weight is a common factor in getting extra fat in many places on the body, including under the lower jaw, there are other common causes:


When you see someone with extra fat under their chin but they appear otherwise healthy, chances are a family history contributed to their double chin.


As you get older, your skin’s collagen and elastin get thinner and weaker. These proteins in your skin are responsible for keeping your skin full, firm, and elastic. Your body produces less of these proteins over time, causing your skin to sag, including the skin under your jaw.


Your posture can weaken neck and chin muscles over time. Eventually, the skin in that area loses elasticity if the muscles aren’t used frequently.

Whether it’s genetics, age, weight, or posture causing your double chin, it’s treatable.

Double chin treatments

There are a variety of ways to help reduce the appearance of your double chin, including:

Neck and face exercises

Exercises that work the muscles in your face and neck include:

Because the results of these exercises are mainly anecdotal, they should be used in conjunction with other treatment options.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes, including improving your diet and getting regular exercise, can boost your overall health as well as reduce fat in areas like the chin.

In addition to incorporating about 45 minutes of moderate exercise into your daily routine, find room in your diet for more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Meanwhile, reduce your intake of sugar, fried foods, and processed foods.

Medical options

Treatment options for your double chin include lipolysis (also known as liposculpture) and mesotherapy. Lipolysis uses either liposuction or the heat from laser treatments to remove fat and shape the skin.

Mesotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves injections of a fat-dissolving compound. Deoxycholic acid (more commonly known as Kybella®) helps your body absorb fats and generally requires 20 or so injections per treatment. 

Short-term side effects of both treatments include swelling, bruising, and pain.

Regardless of how you got your double chin, know that you have options. Call one of our three convenient locations in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope, or make your appointment online.

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