Here’s a true story: I've had a double chin my whole life from babyhood to adulthood. And, full disclosure, I’m a relatively small person. I’m barely five-feet-three-inches tall, and I’ve rarely risen over 120 pounds. Yet, even when I've been a size zero — and especially when I've been nine-and-a-half months pregnant — my double chin has remained omnipresent. Sure, it lessens a bit when I’m at my fighting weight, but it’s nonetheless always there.
The extra layer of fat collecting below my chin is hereditary. One look at my family’s photo albums proves it. Just flip through decades of pictures, and you’ll see that ancestral double chin over and over again, clinging to everyone’s visage — from my grandfather to my mother to me.
After giving birth to my fourth baby two years ago, I started to take stock of my body, noting the things I wanted to work on now that I’m officially done having children. For instance, since my hormonal roller coaster is coming to an end, it’s a great time to get laser hair removal. Everywhere. And while I’d love a full “mommy makeover,” I’m terrified of needles and surgery. A few months in the gym is my preferred alternative to liposuction or a tummy tuck. But my double chin — as I well knew — was not going anywhere. And I was ready for it to be gone.
To talk over my options, I visited my longtime dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. When I sat down with her at her practice along Central Park on Fifth Avenue to discuss my longtime facial woes, Dr. Jaliman quickly confirmed that, yes, I did have a double chin. She explained that CoolSculpting®, which she’s been providing for almost 10 years, was an effective and non-invasive solution. “CoolSculpting freezes [stubborn] excess fat,” she said. “Over the next [weeks] to months, the treated fat is metabolized by the body, and that metabolized fat is passed out through your urine.”
[Editor’s note: The CoolSculpting treatment is a non-invasive fat freezing treatment that effectively reduces fat in certain self-proclaimed “problem spots” in the submental and submandibular areas, thigh, abdomen, flank, and upper arm, along with bra fat, back fat, and underneath the buttocks (you know, those bulges that just won’t go away, regardless of how much you sweat it out on the treadmill). While it isn’t a weight loss solution, fat-freezing can reduce pouches of fat. As with any procedure, there are risks and side effects, so talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you.]
So, I decided to try it — that day! As someone who needs to mentally prepare for a bikini wax, the suddenness of launching into this was anxiety-inducing, but all the stress was for naught. Truly. Dr. Jaliman told me that I was likely going to need two or more sessions to reduce the fat under my chin, and that each session would take 90 minutes (45 minutes on the left side and 45 on the right).
After taking some “before” photos, a technician circled the most pronounced areas of fat in my treatment area with a marker, and then slathered on a layer of gel to help protect my skin from the CoolSculpting CoolMini applicator during treatment. Getting this procedure done on your double chin can be a little tricky. Unlike the upper arms, back, or belly, the area under the chin is a small area to work with. As a result, maneuvering the applicator to adhere to my double chin (and for me to stay relatively still for the duration of the 45-minute process) was slightly uncomfortable. Once the applicator was suction-cupped, I experienced a variety of sensations — intense cold and mild cramping chief among them — that lasted for roughly eight to 10 minutes. After that, I just chilled out (pardon the pun!) and checked email while the applicator did its work.
Once she removed the applicator, my technician did a rigorous massage on the application area, and then we moved on to the right side of the double chin for another 45-minute treatment session. Afterwards, the area under my chin was red and splotchy, which resulted in some slight bruising in the following days. That said, I met friends for dinner an hour later, which is proof that beyond some slight inflammation, there were little to no other side effects: No swelling, no pain.
Because the treated fat takes anywhere from two to four months to break down, I waited a little more than four months to return to Dr. Jaliman’s office, where we repeated the session again. I then waited another three months before returning to take my “after” photos and determine whether the procedure had been effective.
In the weeks leading up to my final appointment with Dr. Jaliman, I was seeing some major results in photos of myself. Whereas I used to have to jut out my chin to avoid a “chubby” appearance, now below my chin was looking slimmer and leaner from every angle. And in real life, friends and family were asking what had changed, like whether I’d gotten a haircut (ha!).
The real proof came, however, with the photos. Upon seeing my side profile before CoolSculpting and after, it was obvious that the little bulge of stubborn fat under my chin is gone, leaving it looking leaner. “I like CoolSculpting [because] it works,” Dr. Jaliman has said. “My patients are happy with their results.” And as someone who’s directly experienced said results, I couldn’t agree more.
CoolSculpting® is an Allergan®-owned non-invasive fat reduction treatment.
CoolSculpting® Treatment Important Information
The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen and flank (love handles), along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll), and upper arm. It is also FDA-cleared to affect the appearance of lax tissue with submental area treatments. The CoolSculpting procedure is not a treatment for weight loss.
Important Safety Information
The CoolSculpting procedure is not for everyone. You should not have the CoolSculpting procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
Tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions including recent surgery, pre-existing hernia, and any known sensitivities or allergies.
During the procedure you may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the area becomes numb. Following the procedure, typical side effects include temporary redness, swelling, blanching, bruising, firmness, tingling, stinging, tenderness, cramping, aching, itching, or skin sensitivity, and sensation of fullness in the back of the throat after submental or submandibular area treatment.
Rare side effects may also occur. CoolSculpting may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction.