Most people get double chins when they gain weight, but some people have visible double chins even if they are skinny.
Genetics is a common reason why skinny people have a double chin. Other possible causes include mouth breathing, hyoid bone placement, aging, poor posture, and an improper bite. It is possible to have a double chin because of a mixture of those causes.
A good submental profile is key to an attractive face:
Why Do I Have a Double Chin When I Am Skinny?
A common reason you could have a double chin even when you are thin is your genetics. Every person’s body distributes fat differently. It is likely that your body naturally stores fat around your jawline. For some people, the fat under the jaw is literally the last thing to go. So even if you’re skinny, you might have to get to an extremely low body fat percentage before it goes away, like 5-8%.
Genetics are likely the cause, especially if you try to exercise and have a low-calorie diet, yet you still have a double chin.
There are some facial exercises that you can try to help slim down your jawline. Keep in mind that these may not be extremely effective. Targeted weight loss is a myth. You need to lose weight all over to see if your jawline will slim down. However, if you are already skinny but have a double chin, you may need to find alternative ways to get rid of it.
However, doing jawline exercises while trying to lose weight might tone your neck muscles, improving the double chin.
Click here to learn more about what you can do to lose neck fat.
The Hyoid Bone
The hyoid bone is a free-floating bone situated between your neck and jaw. It should typically rest between your C3 and C4 vertebrae. The hyoid bone often determines what the area under your jaw will look like. Most people will have no neck fat and a slim face if their hyoid bone is high and further back, given that they also have a low body fat percentage.
However, you will have a weak jawline if the hyoid bone is low and forward. It will also make you look like you have more neck fat.
The hyoid bone is attached to a thin sheet of muscles. As you age, the hyoid often sinks. That is why most older people develop jowls.
As stated earlier, the hyoid bone often sinks as you age. When the hyoid bone moves lower and more forward, it creates a double chin or jowls.
However, age also makes your skin lose elasticity. The skin will sag and wrinkle, emphasizing your double chin.
Additionally, the fat in your face often shifts downward with age. Therefore, the combination of the skin, hyoid bone, and fat shifting down and forward often causes you to have a double chin when you age, especially if you maintain a lean weight.
Breathing through your mouth for years can affect the appearance of your face. Mouth breathers often share physical traits, such as recessed chins, weak jawlines, longer faces, etc. Mouth breathing makes your face longer while pushing your chin lower and further back. It often emphasizes or creates a double chin.
Mouth breathing brings your face downward since your mouth is open when you breathe. Additionally, there is little to no stimulation to your upper palate from your tongue since mouth breathers usually have low tongue posture. It often creates a sunken look in the midface.
Constant forward head posture can eventually lead to a double chin. We often do not realize that we are hunching forward when we sit, especially when we use a computer, read, use our phones, etc.
Poor posture increases the size of your double chin. The chin and neck muscles often weaken since we do not use them, causing them to weaken, then sag.
Ironically, sometimes fixing your posture makes your double chin look worse, though. Sticking your head forward is bad posture, but it spreads out all the tissue under your jaw, making you look better temporarily yet worse over time.
Skeletal Problems / Improper Bite
Improper bites can often cause a double chin, particularly an overbite. If you have an overbite, your maxilla is more forward than your mandible. In extreme cases, the mandible is so far back that the chin and jaw press on your neck and create a double chin.
Additionally, an improper bite can come from mouth breathing. As stated earlier, mouth breathing causes a recessed chin and mandible. A recessed chin and mandible are usually much further back than your maxilla, creating an overbite.
There is less space for the soft tissues to spread out with a recessed chin, and you’ll have a double chin.
How Can I Get Rid of a Double Chin?
Mewing can help decrease the prominence of your double chin. If you think that your double chin is growing, it could also help prevent that.
Mewing helps tighten your jaw muscles. When you mew correctly, you should feel your thyroid cartilage rise. Mewing encourages you to have proper posture. While proper head and neck posture will not cure a double chin, it can prevent it from worsening.
When you mew, you need to rest your tongue on your palate with your mouth closed. You need to keep your molars lightly touching. The new tongue and mouth posture will encourage your jaw to move up and forward, decreasing the prominence of a double chin.
Moreover, mewing also forces you to breathe through your nose. As stated earlier, mouth breathing can cause and worsen a double chin, so mewing can greatly help.
Click here to learn more about mewing.
Treat Signs of Aging
You can also treat early signs of aging to keep your double chin from growing. For instance, you can get products with anti-aging properties and add them to your skincare routine (remember, you need to apply them to your neck, not just your face).
Many noninvasive procedures could also help. For instance, Botox can freeze neck muscles to prevent wrinkles and tighten your neck muscles’ appearance.
Another noninvasive treatment for a double chin is CoolSculpting. The procedure is “fat-freezing fat reduction.” It has very minimal downtime, making it a convenient option for most people. Many doctors call this an alternative to liposuction.
To perform the procedure, a doctor will suction targeted areas of fat. They will then deep-freeze the fat cells. Deep-freezing will make the fat cells slowly die, and it will naturally leave through your lymphatic system.
Keep in mind that it is possible to get your double chin back after the procedure. The dead fat will not come back. However, new fat can still grow, especially if you gain weight. There are also some hypotheses that killed fat cells can regenerate over time.
Double Chin Surgery
Double chin surgery is usually a mixture of different procedures that tighten your neck muscles and removes excess fat.
Common procedures done for double chin surgery include:
- Chin Liposuction
In some cases, you may only need one procedure to get rid of your double chin. However, some patients will need a mixture of procedures to lose it.
For instance, a surgeon may perform liposuction to get rid of excess fat on your neck. However, they may also need to do a neck lift if your skin is not very elastic to ensure your neck skin looks taut.
A younger person may be able to just get liposuction since they still have very elastic skin. All patients in one study who got neck liposuction saw a significant neck contour improvement (Innocenti et al., 2014). However, that does not guarantee that the skin on their neck will look the same after surgery.
Similar to Cool-Sculpting, double chin surgery is not a permanent cure to a double chin. Since it removes excess fat and tightens skin, it is still possible for fat to grow in your jaw and neck area again and your skin to become loose with age.
For more info on getting rid of neck fat, check out our article.