How To Get Rid Of A Double Chin
Video calls are, relatively speaking, one of the surprise upshots of our current situation, yet another new norm that we’re adjusting to on the fly. But while they can help us feel connected and productive at a time of global crisis, there’s an elephant in the Zoom: why do I have a double chin and how long has it been there?
Google Trends data shows that since the start of the pandemic, the number of people searching for ways to get rid of a double chin has surged, rising by 200 per cent between March and April. Unprecedented face-time with front-facing cameras is forcing people to look at themselves from unflattering angles. You could be dressed in your finest business-casual attire, fully caffeinated and ready for your 9.00am catch-up. But one poorly placed laptop and you’ll still look like a thumb in an Oxford shirt.
While this is hardly the worst consequence of Covid-19, being constantly reminded that we have the jawline definition of Jabba the Hutt is doing nothing for our collective confidence. People are seeking remedies of all kinds, from facial workouts to surgical procedures. And the lockdown has only accelerated a growing trend for double-chin treatments, says Dr Jonquille Chantrey, founder of One Aesthetic Studio in London. “We’ve seen an increase because people are seeing themselves more in photographs that are taken by others and distributed on social media,” Dr Chantrey says. “They see angles of themselves that they’ve never seen before.”
But what causes double chins in the first place, and what can we do about them? Read below for five ways to turn your plural chins back to singular.
01. Start anti-ageing (or trying to)
The most obvious cause of a double chin is a layer of fat beneath your jawbone, which becomes more visible with age as skin loses its elasticity and the jaw loses bone density. With less structural support, gravity wins. While an anti-ageing grooming routine won’t cure you of excess fat around your neck quite as much as losing weight will, it’s worth adopting some products that will help your skin firm up a little. Look for moisturisers and serums that encourage collagen production, such as the MAX LS Power V Lifting Serum by Lab Series, or Natura Bisse’s Inhibit High Definition Serum, that works as a kind of liquid botox to relax your facial contractions and get rid of fine lines.
02. Check your posture
If video calls have made you self-conscious about having a double chin, raise your phone or laptop to eye level rather than looking down at the screen – that’s nobody’s best angle. Then position a light source above your head to create some shadow beneath your chin.
Whether you’re on a call or not, practising good posture can also de-jowl your jawline. Keep your chin up and shoulders back, and your phone out of sight. Research into so-called “tech neck” found that as well as causing a double chin, tilting your head forward to scroll through apps for prolonged periods can double the load on your spine.
Need a quick fix? Jut out your jaw and place your tongue at the roof of your mouth. This flexes the facial muscles around your chin and tightens the skin.
03. Style it out
It’s worth mentioning here that a double chin is nothing to be ashamed of, but if it bothers you, what you wear can either draw attention to your neck or divert it away.
It’s a little hot for a turtleneck and a neckerchief is not what you’d call an inconspicuous accessory, so what to wear? V-necks, in short: anything that will draw the eye downward away from your chin(s). Merino sweaters are more business-appropriate than T-shirts if you’re meeting somebody important.
Shirts can work, but avoid buttoning them all the way to the top; the collar can create a muffin-top effect when it’s too tight. Unfasten the top two buttons, but no more. Flashing your chest hair is not the solution.
04. Grow a beard
Hiding a double chin behind a precisely groomed beard can give the lower third of your face some much needed definition. Just ask King Henry VIII, a heavy-set man who was fond of a banquet. No wonder there isn’t a portrait of him clean-shaven.
It’s not just a case of letting the garden grow, however. “Beards can be great for disguising the neck and chin, but if allowed to fend for itself, it can actually draw more attention to areas you are concerned about,” says barber Mr Maxwell Oakley of Ruffians barbershop in London’s Shoreditch. Mr Oakley recommends keeping the sides shorter than the chin. “This slims the face and adds contouring much the same as makeup does for those that wear it. Start by tapering the area around the top of the cheekbone to the same level as your hair and smoothing down towards the chin.”
A neck beard is not the way to go, either (and never will be). Permitted to grow, it can just make the neck look fatter, says Mr Oakley. “Taper the hair from just above the Adam’s apple down into the skin on the neck,” he adds. “This also lifts and strengthens the jawline.”
05. Consider a treatment
If you want a more permanent fix, aesthetic clinics offer a range of more drastic solutions. Dermal fillers can restructure your jawline, lifts will pull the skin up, liposculpting removes fat with either suction or lasers, and various injections can freeze or otherwise dissolve the fat tissue. The different options vary not just in price but recovery time, too. “It comes down to what’s causing it,” says Dr Chantrey. “It’s really about looking at all those anatomical areas and getting a good diagnosis. Always research your doctor, too.”
Surgical options might require anaesthesia and a longer recovery period, while in-and-out “tweakments” can have you back at work the next day, but may require repeat appointments for lasting results. Dr Ravi Jain, who offers surgical liposuction at Riverbanks Wellness clinic in London, has seen an increase in the number of people asking for online consultations since the start of the lockdown. “The key is: is your weight stable?” he says. “It’s the yo-yo dieters who get the least satisfaction with their long-term results.”
Dr Jain suggests a cautious approach to heightened double-chin anxiety since lockdown. “The first thing I ask in my online consultations is: ‘How long has this been bothering you?’ If it’s recent, then we’re definitely not considering surgery. Just because people are looking at themselves more in Zoom than they have been recently, doesn’t mean that that chin has always been there.”
Illustrations by Mr Matt Blease