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1 in 4 adults surveyed online responded that they are worried about submental fullness. Submental fullness, also known as “double chin,” is a condition associated with excess subcutaneous fat in the area under the chin. Submental fullness occurs in both men and women and can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, weight gain, and aging. Due to submental fullness being caused by a variety of factors, diet and exercise are not always effective.

A sleeping Galapagos fur seal with a double chin.

Image Source: Patricia Hamilton

Common procedures for submental fullness, before the development of Kybella, often included invasive techniques, such as plastic surgery. Kybella, which has been on the market for around 2 years now, is the first and only FDA approved non-invasive, injectable drug for submental fullness.

Kybella’s active ingredient is a synthetic form of deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a bile acid that is naturally produced in your body. One key function of bile acids are that they work as a detergent, similar to what you use when you are washing your laundry, to solubilize fats. This results in the absorption and breakdown of dietary fat in your chin. After the injections, the fat cells, also known as adipocytes, are no longer able to store or accumulate fat, so further treatment is not expected after you reach your desired results.

However, while Kybella is currently the only FDA approved drug for use on fat below the chin, more studies need to be done on its effects on other areas of the body. Derek H. Jones, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, believes that Kybella works best on small areas and not to count on it to dissolve love handles or muffin tops. There may be considerable safety risks if used on other areas besides the area below the chin, as Kybella can destroy other cells, besides fat cells, if it is not used properly.

You should always consult a medical provider before being administered a drug. Kybella does have possible side effects, which can include nerve injury in the jaw, swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness, and areas of hardness in the treatment area, but is not limited to only these side effects. Side effects have been shown, however, to be temporary and are often resolved over time on their own. Overall, despite its side effects, Kybella offers hope to those who have been negatively effected by submental fullness.

Feature Image Source: Ace Armstrong

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