New research conducted on behalf of Allergan Medical Aesthetics (makers of Botox and the Juvederm suite of dermal fillers) has revealed that a double chin causes people more concern than any other “problem” area of the face.
The survey, Redefine*, explored how more than 3,500 Australians (1,481 women and 2,072 men) aged 20-60 view the rarely discussed but so-important feature of the lower face.
Redefine‘s results have been published to coincide with the official launch this week of Belkyra, Allergan’s ground-breaking non-surgical injectable solution to reduce fat deposits in, firm and contour the chin/neck, once only achievable with cosmetic surgery and/or surgical liposuction, and more recently with advanced device technology.
While the eyes, skin and lips have long been the focus of corrective and rejuvenative enhancement procedures, the chin/neck has emerged as Number 1 of the Top 3 facial concerns for women and men.
And while we may not always be conscious of it, the chin has the power to convey subliminal positive or negative attributes about our own and others’ appearance.
Of those surveyed for Redefine, 34% of women reported having a double chin, and 24% of men.
Respondents generally believed an attractive chin profile signals a healthy weight, confidence and youth, this view being held most strongly by those in their 20s.
More than half the women surveyed, compared with a third of the men, said having a double chin makes them unhappy or embarrassed, even depressed.
They cited as key concerns: being perceived as overweight, negative impact on confidence, self-consciousness (especially about posing for photos, or the stance they adopt while talking to people), perceived lack of options to treat a double chin (as diet and exercise do not make an appreciable difference), that it makes look, thus feel, older, and that it has the potential to negatively impact romantic relationships and professional success.
Both men and women surveyed use “facial gymnastics” and avoidance techniques to minimise the appearance of a double chin.
Men have a distinct advantage – many grow a beard to disguise the area (31% of those surveyed have done this) – while women will use high-necked clothing and accessories to hide it.
Their appearance in photos was an oft-cited concern of respondents with a double chin.
Many are very camera shy – 59% of women avoid selfies and 52% dodge photos of any kind, particularly as they may be shared on social media without being able to vet them first.
Sixty-nine percent of women surveyed a super-conscious of projecting their chin when talking to others or posing for photos as it can accentuate its appearance, and 42% of men adopted the same behaviour.
Leading Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Steven Liew – who has been trialling Belkrya on patients since November last year with stunning results he unveiled on three patients at the media launch on May 16 – says pouting for photos is another common trick as it “draws up” the neck.
And photographic experts agree that if a camera lens is at eye level or above, you’re in the right frame – but if the lens is below eye level, then you run the risk of looking like you have an extra chin, even more problematic when you already have one!
Other common tactics people with double chins adopt, whether consciously or not, include:
- Avoiding mirrors
- Avoidance of looking down in public, or in photos
- Avoiding sitting side-on with people at work or social events
- Avoiding social events altogether
- Covering the chin and neck area with the hands in public/when talking to other people
IT’S NOT JUST A WEIGHT THING
If a person is genetically predisposed, even the slimmest can carry a “gobbler” under the chin, which can also create the perception overall that they are heavier than they actually are. Double chins can occur in any body type.
The ageing process also serves to exacerbate the appearance of double chins; changes in facial anatomy over time include looser skin, accumulation and movement of fat and loosening of muscles in the chin area.
If overweight, while losing kilos through diet and exercise can of course help reduce size overall, it will not spot-reduce trouble zones such as double chins disproportionately with other areas.
While more than 50% of respondents had tried to improve the appearance of their double chin with general diet and exercise and other tactics such as specific neck workouts, applying creams to tighten the area, chewing gum to tone muscles, patting the chin regularly or taking diet bills, they found it made little or no difference.
SO WHAT IS BELKYRA?
The active ingredient (deoxyholic acid) in Belkrya is a purified synthetic version (derived from soybeans) of a molecule that occurs naturally in the body and aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat.
The product is listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods but not the PBS.
When injected under the chin in strategic areas (defined by a grid after assessment and “pinch testing” by the injecting doctor) for optimum contouring benefits, Belkyra breaks down fat cells in the treatment area.
The fatty waste is eliminated through the body’s natural processes over a 6-12 week period, when optimum results will be seen.
In the immediate term there is a sensation of heat rather like sunburn (inflammation indicating the product is hitting its mark) and perhaps some stinging, but this normally subsides within a few hours.
Once broken down, the targeted cells can no longer store fat – ie. results are permanent.
“Belkyra provides a customisable, non-surgical option to improve the appearance of fullness under the chin,” says Dr Liew, founder of the Shape Clinic in Darlinghurst.
As a prescription-only treatment, Belkyra should only be administered by a registered doctor who has taken part in the official Belkyra training program run by Allergan-appointed experts.
Dr Liew and other doctors who have trialled the treatment in Australia report that usually two sessions are required, spaced 6-12 weeks apart, to achieve the ideal outcome, but significant results can be seen just after one session.
Not all people are suitable, especially those with very deep-lying submental fat.
Treatment takes around 30 minutes and doesn’t require sedation or anaesthetic, although people with a lower pain threshold would benefit from local anaesthetic. Panadol or similar painkillers can alleviate discomfort afterwards.
There will be swelling in the treated area for 24-72 hours, even longer, but many patients have reported this hasn’t particularly bothered them and have gone about their regular activities without attracting undue, if any, comment.
Dr Liew brought three Belkyra patients to the media launch (images not yet available) to discuss their experiences and how it has changed their lives:
Michael, 28, a social media and digital marketing strategist, had a very full double chin, courtesy genetics, that meant there was no definition at the jawline and his neck appeared to start from just beneath the chin.
“I was so self-conscious for years that in my mid-20s I was considering surgery, but worried about how invasive that was and potential risks and side-effects. I probably would have gone ahead eventually because I spent so much time thinking about how to detract attention from my neck, especially at business meetings – you know, only talking to people face on – and avoiding photos.
“Then last year Dr Liew told me about Belkyra – it was like I’d won the lottery. I am just stoked with the results and have so much more confidence. Plus I look like I’ve lost weight, even though I haven’t. My body overall is and was slim and fit.”
Lisa, 32, an event manager, and Nicole 34, a celebrity and runway makeup artist, both spoke of how their respective careers required them to be active on social media.
However, the prospect of selfies and being snapped by other people where they had little control over what photos were taken and where they were shared, filled them with dread and so did all they could to avoid being front and centre of the lens.
Since Belkyra, both say the most common reaction they have received is “you’ve lost weight” when their weight hasn’t changed, and that they have more confidence in business, at social gatherings – and with selfies and other snaps.
Dr Liew further told the audience that when the neck/chin is slimmed and contoured, it often has the double whammy effect of making facial features look more lifted and contoured (ergo, more youthful and attractive), even if no other procedures have been carried out.
A NEW ERA OF AESTHETICS
Leading Sydney cosmetic physician Dr Naomi McCullum, owner of luxe new The Manse Clinic in Paddington, like Dr Liew was in the first small group of Australian doctors to be trained by Belkyra and has also been trialling it since February.
“It is an effective, permanent, safe and gradual non-surgical injectable treatment to reshape the jawline,” Dr Naomi says. “The injection can be used to sculpt the neck and create a chiseled jawline, creating a youthful profile.
“Patients hate their double chins, they are unhappy with their jawlines, it make them feel they look fat, people think they’ve gained weight, and they hate how they look in profile when they catch a glimpse of their side view. They also hate photos and even avoid them.
“The treatment is tailored to suit each patients’s anatomy and circumstances, and the satisfaction rate is very high, with 75% of patients reporting satisfaction with the appearance of their face and chin after treatment.
“After treatments, patients report an improvement in self perceptions. Based on their improved chin profile, patients reported feeling happier and younger less embarassed, less bothered and less self-conscious.
“Doctors can now contour and lift the neck the way that we have been contouring and lifting the cheeks!”
KEY FINDINGS FROM REDEFINED
TOP FACIAL APPEARANCE CONCERNS AMONG MEN:
- Double chin (52%)
- Bags under the eyes (49%)
- Drooping mouth or jowls (46%)
- Double chin (66%)
- General deep wrinkles (65%)
- Bags under the eyes (59%)
4 THINGS AN ATTRACTIVE CHIN IMPLIES
Being a healthy weight (35%)
Being confident (30%)
being youthful (26%)
Being fit (29%)
BUT 4 ON THE FLIPSIDE
Perceptions of people with a double chin:
They are overweight (61%)
They ae unfit or don’t exercise (42%)
They are not eating healthily (38%)
They look older (33%)
ATTRACTIVE MALE CHIN PROFILES ARE CONSIDERED:
ATTRACTIVE FEMALE CHIN PROFILES ARE CONSIDERED:
* The Redefine online survey was conducted by So What Research in April 2017.