A double chin often causes embarrassment and distress, and may be a sign that you should change your diet. Fat often is stored under your chin if you are overweight; other causes include age and genetics. Many people turn to surgery to get rid of the unsightly second chin, but it can be reduced and even eradicated with a healthy, low-fat, nutritious diet and regular exercise.
A double chin occurs when a subcutaneous sheet of fat around your neck sags and causes a wrinkle. Many families suffer from a hereditary predisposition to them. Some families naturally retain too much water in the chin area, and others naturally store excess fat. Age is another cause. As you age, you lose muscle, so the muscles in your chin weaken, and your skin grows looser. These factors may combine to leave you with a double chin, but the major cause of double chins is excess body fat. Some people carry fat on the chin more easily than anywhere else, and obesity and double chins go hand in hand.
If fat gives you a double chin, changing your diet is the best way to rid yourself of it. The foods that are most likely to cause you to gain weight are those high in saturated fat, trans fatty acids, cholesterol and sugar. Saturated fat raises cholesterol levels, blocks your arteries and causes fatty deposits to build up on your body. It is found in fatty cuts of meat, including beef, lamb and pork, and dairy products such as butter and cheese. No more than 10 percent of your diet should come from saturated fat. Choose lean meats such as chicken and turkey, which are high in protein, and restrict dairy consumption. Completely avoid trans fats, found in cookies, chips and french fries. Your diet should be 28 percent fat, 18 percent protein and 54 percent carbohydrates, so get your fat from foods high in monounsaturated fat, such as oily fish, nuts and olive oil. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread turn to sugar in your bloodstream, so choose whole grains and lots of fruit and vegetables.
To lose weight, on your chin and elsewhere, you must combine a healthy, low-calorie diet with cardiovascular exercise such as running or cycling. Try to do an hour every day. There are also various exercises that strengthen your neck muscles. Chew on air in big gulping motions 40 times daily. Push on your forehead and experience resistance from your neck muscles for 10 seconds, three times a day. Also tilt your head back and hold the position for 10 seconds, and repeat three times daily.
Liposuction is an option for removing fat on your chin. This treatment is largely successful, although expensive and sometimes painful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Zerona treatment or CoolSculpting as liposuction alternatives that remove fat, but they may cause harmful side effects and do not promote lasting weight loss. Some dermatologists recommend non-invasive ultrasound treatment for removing stubborn fat. Alternatively, cover your chin with makeup or whiskers.