What is the fat under neck called?

The fat under the neck is commonly referred to as a double chin or submental fat. This fat deposit often develops due to age, weight gain, or genetics. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing feature, understanding what causes a double chin can help determine the best treatments.

What Causes a Double Chin?

There are several factors that contribute to the development of a double chin:

  • Age – Skin loses elasticity and collagen as we get older, causing it to sag. This allows fat that was previously held up by the skin to fall forward under the chin.
  • Weight gain – Gaining weight often results in additional fat deposits in places like the neck and face. The more fat under the skin, the more prominent the double chin appearance.
  • Genetics – Some people are simply predisposed to carrying weight in their neck and chin area. It is often an inherited trait.
  • Posture – Poor posture characterized by tilting the head forward can cause the appearance of a double chin. The chin moves outward, causing the neck skin to wrinkle.

While slim people can have double chins too, those who have a higher body mass index (BMI) tend to struggle with a double chin or submental fullness more frequently. The additional fatty tissue deep under the skin leads to sagging and the dreaded double chin look.

Anatomy Behind the Double Chin

Let’s look at what is actually happening beneath the skin:

  • Subcutaneous fat – This is the layer of fat found under the dermis layer of skin. An accumulation of subcutaneous fat under the chin and neck region creates the appearance of a double chin.
  • Platysma muscle – The platysma is a broad, flat, superficial muscle that extends from the chest and shoulder area up to the jaw and face. Weakness in this muscle can make the area appear loose and saggy.
  • Submental fat – The medical term for the fat under the chin is submental fat. This fatty deposit sits on top of the platysma muscle under the chin.
  • Cervical fascia – This is a layer of fibrous tissue that envelops the neck. Loss of elasticity and sagging in this tissue also contributes to double chin formation.

A double chin forms when excess submental fat develops on top of the platysma muscle and the overlying skin loses elasticity. The cervical fascia and facial ligaments also weaken over time, leading to a protruding, saggy appearance under the chin.

Can You Get Rid of a Double Chin?

The good news is YES, you can get rid of a double chin! However, the most effective approach depends on each individual and the severity of their double chin. Here are some of the most popular treatment options:

  • Weight loss – Losing weight through diet and exercise reduces overall body fat, including fat under the chin. For some people, losing those extra pounds is enough to make the double chin disappear.
  • Neck exercises – There are facial exercises that target and strengthen the muscles under the chin and neck. When done properly and consistently, they can provide noticeable improvements over time.
  • Cosmetic procedures – More aggressive options like chin liposuction, neck lifts, or Kybella injections can eliminate a double chin. These are usually reserved for severe cases with a high amount of excess fat or loose skin.
  • Facial toning devices – Devices like face toning wands and electronic stimulators claim to help tone the muscles and improve definition along the jawline. Studies on their effectiveness are limited.

The best approach depends on your specific situation. Milder cases can often be improved with weight loss and facial exercises alone. More moderate to severe double chins may require procedures or devices for optimal results.

Medical Treatments for Double Chins

If you have a significant amount of submental fat or loose neck skin, medical treatments are likely the quickest and most effective way to get rid of a double chin. Here are some of the most common options:

Kybella Injections

Kybella is a non-surgical injection treatment for improving submental fullness. It contains a naturally occurring molecule called deoxycholic acid that dissolves fat cells when injected into the treatment area.

Typically, a series of Kybella injections are administered 1-2 months apart. Patients receive an average of 6 treatments, but the number can vary based on the amount of fat to be eliminated.

Results are gradual as the destroyed fat cells are cleared away by the body over several weeks. Most patients see optimal improvements about 3-4 months after the final treatment.

Side effects of Kybella may include swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, and areas of hardness in the treatment area. Kybella should only be administered by a qualified cosmetic provider.

Neck Lift Surgery

A neck lift or lower rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the chin, jawline, and neck. It involves small incisions under the chin that allow the surgeon to tighten underlying muscles and remove excess fat deposits.

This procedure reshapes the area for a smoother, tighter, and more defined neck and chin. It can dramatically reduce the appearance of a double chin. However, as with any surgery, a neck lift comes with more risks like scarring, bleeding, and infection.

Recovery from a neck lift takes about 2-3 weeks. Swelling and bruising will be most noticeable for the first 7-10 days before gradually improving. Numbness or tightness around the incisions may persist for several months.


Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that removes stubborn pockets of fat that are unresponsive to diet and exercise. It uses suction to permanently remove fat cells from the treatment area.

When performed on the chin and neck area, it can be an effective way to eliminate a double chin caused by excess submental fat. The results are permanent as long as a healthy weight is maintained.

Liposuction is usually performed under general anesthesia or IV sedation. Side effects may include swelling, bruising, numbness, and discomfort for several days following treatment. With proper aftercare, these resolve within about 2 weeks.

Treatment Pros Cons
Kybella Injections – Non-surgical
– No downtime
– Gradual natural-looking results
– Multiple treatments required
– Swelling likely for several days
Neck Lift – Dramatic, long-lasting results
– Reshapes and tightens loose skin
– Surgical procedure
– Scarring possible
– Longer recovery period
Liposuction – Permanently removes fat cells
– Reshapes chin and neck
– Surgical procedure
– Swelling likely for several weeks

When considering your options, be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your cosmetic provider. They can help you decide which treatment will provide the best results with the least downtime and side effects.

Non-Invasive Ways to Get Rid of a Double Chin

For those hoping to avoid cosmetic procedures, there are several non-invasive ways to improve the appearance of a double chin. While surgical options produce the most dramatic results, natural methods can also be helpful depending on the severity of your concerns.

Lose Weight

Carrying excess weight, especially in the neck and face region, directly contributes to double chin formation. Losing weight through diet and exercise reduces overall body fat. As you lose those extra pounds, you should notice improvements in your double chin.

Aim for healthy, sustainable weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Crash dieting can backfire by causing muscle loss. Focus on filling your diet with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Pair this with at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.

Patience is key. It can take weeks or months to see fat reductions in certain problem areas like the neck and chin region. Allow your weight loss plan time to work its magic.

Targeted Facial Exercises

Exercises designed to target the muscles of the chin, jaw, and neck area can tone and tighten tissue. When done properly and regularly, certain exercises help strengthen muscles and improve muscle definition.

Popular chin exercises include:

  • Pouting and puckering the lips to engage muscles around the mouth
  • “Fishy face” exaggerated puckering motions
  • Sticking tongue out and moving it up and down and side to side
  • Pulling the bottom lip down over the chin
  • Moving the jaw forward and backward as if chewing gum

Aim to do these facial exercises for at least 5 minutes, 2-3 times per day. You may look silly, but overtime consistent exercises can help tone the muscles under the chin.

Improve Your Posture

Poor posture can contribute to the appearance of a double chin. Positioning your head forward encourages the skin and tissues of the neck and chin to wrinkle and sag.

Practice keeping your head up and back with your shoulders down. Align your ears over your shoulders. This elongates the neck and helps prevent excess sagging under the chin area.

You can also do chin tucks by pulling your chin back as far possible, holding for 5 seconds, and repeating. Chin tucks engage the muscles used to align the neck and head.

Use Gua Sha Techniques

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique that uses scraping motions to increase blood flow. It can be performed using a gua sha facial tool or even a spoon.

Apply oil to the area under the chin. Then use the tool to perform downward scraping strokes from the jawline to the base of the neck. The increased blood flow will temporarily help improve contour and skin tone in the treatment area.

Perform gua sha under the chin for 5-10 minutes daily focusing on any specific problem spots. Just take care not to apply too much pressure which may cause skin irritation.

Home Remedies to Help Reduce a Double Chin

Certain home remedies may also provide mild improvements when trying to shrink a double chin. Options like facial massage, topical products, and dietary changes can support overall fat reduction.

Do Facial Massages

Gently massaging the neck, chin, and facial tissue can help temporarily improve blood flow and fluid drainage. Use upward, outward motions moving from the jawline down to the base of the neck.

You can use your fingers, a gua sha tool, or jade roller. Perform the massage consistently for at least 5 minutes daily.

Apply Cold Compresses

Applying something cold to the neck and chin area can provide temporary tightening. Cold temperatures help constrict blood vessels and fluid drainage.

Wrap some ice cubes or a cold pack in a thin towel and apply to the skin for 5-10 minutes. The skin will appear tighter immediately afterward as swelling goes down.

Avoid direct skin contact with ice to prevent damage. You can also store facial rollers in the refrigerator for extra cooling effects.

Use Astringent Toners

Astringent facial toners contain ingredients like witch hazel that help shrink pores and tighten skin. Applying them to the neck may offer temporary tightening benefits.

Use a cotton ball to apply toner to the chin, neck, and jawline area after cleansing. Be sure to find an alcohol-free toner that won’t overly dry or irritate the skin.

Eliminate Sodium from Diet

Cutting back on sodium can help reduce overall water retention and bloating. This may help mildly improve the appearance of a puffy double chin.

Avoid adding extra salt to foods and limit processed foods high in sodium. Opt for more fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-sodium options.

You can also take an herbal diuretic supplement like dandelion to gently flush out excess fluid. Just be sure to stay well hydrated when increasing fluid loss.

Preventing a Double Chin

Taking proactive steps to keep the chin and neck area firm may help prevent a double chin from forming. Options include:

  • Avoiding significant weight gain
  • Maintaining good posture
  • Performing chin and neck exercises
  • Applying regular moisturizer and sunscreen
  • Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
  • Staying well hydrated

While some causes like genetics can’t be helped, making lifestyle choices that care for your skin, body, and health can help deter a double chin from developing.


A double chin, medically known as submental fat, is a common condition that can affect anyone. Weight gain, aging, genetics, and posture all influence whether or not a double chin develops.

Thankfully, there are plenty of treatment options available based on each individual and the severity of their double chin. Surgical procedures provide the most dramatic improvements while natural methods may help milder cases.

The key is finding an effective solution that provides results you feel comfortable with. Your doctor or cosmetic provider can help determine the right route. And taking steps to prevent a double chin in the first place goes a long way too.

With the many treatments available today, you can kiss that double chin goodbye and restore confidence in your chin and neckline.

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