Fashion & Beauty

A New Fix for Double Chins

July 21, 2015




SCIENCE HAS LET US PEEK AT PLUTO but hasn’t been able to do anything about that double chin that taunts us in the makeup mirror. (And it’s not just us: Watch this clip of Amy Schumer absolutely crack up Ellen Degeneres.) Well, turns out that dermatologists and surgeons have a new tool in their aesthetic arsenal. Kybella, an injectable drug, won approval from the FDA this spring, and it promises to get rid of that wattle hanging from your chin. Created by Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc., Kybella is made of deoxycholate, a natural substance used by the body to dissolve fat.

Dr. Tina Alster, director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Surgery, who testified on the product this spring, is the first in D.C. to use the injectable. She says the best candidates for the procedure are people with localized fat accumulation under the chin; it is limited to that area and cannot be used to remove jowling, the slouch, loose skin that can run along and beneath the jawline.

In a recent issue of Modern Aesthetics magazine,  Heidi Waldorf, M.D., co-chief medical editor, says that Kybella “fills a niche and need that we haven’t been able to fill in a non-invasive way. We are able to lift and contour the face with a combination of filling agents as well as resurfacing and tightening devices, but despite their ability to improve the jaw definition, none of these  have worked for submental fat ” says Dr. Waldorf. With the approval of Kybella, “We will be able to streamline and slim the chin area to make a much more elegant jaw line and neck for both men and women.”

D.C. dermatologist Melda Isaac of MI Skin Dermatology Center notes that Kybella is typically injected as a series of three to six sessions (depending on the desired result and how much fat has to be dissolved) spaced at one-month intervals. Once the fat is dissolved, it’s not necessary to repeat.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Soheila Rostami of the new cosmetic medical spa Sanctuary in McLean, says, “Kybella offers a safe, non-surgical approach to melting moderate fat in the chin area, an option patients didn’t have before Kybella became available and FDA-approved.” The product is injected into the chin with very small needles during a 15-minute procedure.

We asked our three local doctors — Dr. Alster, Dr. Isaac and Dr. Rostami — to give their opinion on how well Kybella would work for the two women pictured below. Here’s what they had to say:


MyLittleBird photo.

Dr. Alster: Both these women are excellent candidates for Kybella. It can be used to eliminate significant amount of fat in these women, but it would likely take three to four  treatments, as opposed to two.

Dr. Isaac: The woman [with eyes blacked out] with the thicker, fatter neck is a Kybella candidate, while the other woman, who is pinching her skin away from her face, has laxity and would do better with surgery. In my opinion,  if a patient has a significant “double chin” or has moderate to severe laxity, surgery (either liposuction or a neck lift, or both) are better options.



Dr. Rostami:  An ideal candidate for Kybella injections is a patient with moderate fat in the chin area. Both women in these photos have considerable fat under their chin. While they are not the ideal candidates for Kybella injections, they can still receive treatment and obtain satisfactory results. The first woman is better suited for the injections because her skin is firmer, with little skin laxity. Both women, as well as those with a similar amount of fat under their chin, will  require more than the average two to six sessions recommended to achieve sufficient  results.

The best indication of how successful the pharmaceutical world thinks Kybella will be is Allergan’s (the pharmaceutical company that makes Botox) acquisition of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals for $2 billion.

–Janet Kelly

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