Using Kybella on Jowls: How Effective Is It?

Using Kybella on Jowls: How Effective Is It?

If you take a poll of people’s top concerns with their appearance, we’d be willing to bet that “double chin” appears high up on that list.

For such a small area of the body, the skin underneath the chin can significantly impact our confidence and how we carry ourselves.

Luckily, Kybella offers a way for you to regain that confidence. If you’ve been interested in learning more about using Kybella for jowls, we’re here to help!

At Skin Pharm, we’ve got everything you need to know to decide if Kybella is right for you.

Okay, so what is Kybella?

Let’s start with the basics — what is Kybella?

Kybella, the synthetic name for deoxycholic acid, is the first and only injectable medication to target excess fat under the chin. The drug is available by prescription only and needs to be administered by licensed, trained professionals with experience giving injectable cosmetic treatments.

To qualify for Kybella, you need to have moderate to severe fat in the submental space (the medical name for jowls). The injections are also only available to people 18 years of age and older, as it has not been studied in anyone younger than that.

How exactly does Kybella work?

As we said, Kybella is the synthetic name for its active ingredient — deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid functions as a cytolytic, which means its primary method of action is to dissolve or destroy cells. It is also a substance (a bile acid) that the body naturally produces to help absorb fats, although the deoxycholic acid used in Kybella is made synthetically in a lab.

The prescription medication works by injecting directly into the subcutaneous area underneath the chin. Once your provider injects Kybella into the targeted areas, the deoxycholic acid gets to work targeting and destroying fat cells. With those cells destroyed, they are no longer able to store fat.

However, that process isn’t immediate, and you won’t see results overnight. It takes time for the deoxycholic acid to destroy the fat cells — and even longer for them to be reabsorbed, or metabolized, by the body. Multiple treatments are often needed to achieve optimal results.

Once your facial profile is the way you want it, those results are permanent! That’s part of what makes Kybella so popular — when done right, it’s a far more affordable and much less invasive way to reduce the appearance of your double chin without going under the knife.

How effective is Kybella for jowls?

The majority of Kybella studies have proven that the drug is incredibly effective. In fact, in 20 clinical trials performed globally, over 80% of subjects stated they felt “significantly improved satisfaction” with their results.

An estimated 70% of the people in these trials noted a reduction in the fat beneath their chin. For comparison, only 20% of people who received a placebo reported the same claim. However, it can take multiple treatments to achieve those results.

You can receive Kybella injections every three months (12 weeks) with an average of two to four treatments total for optimum results.

As a whole, there is enough evidence to confidently say that using Kybella for jowls is effective enough to be worth looking into. Besides, there aren’t any other injectable medications that make the same claims. Other than Kybella, the only options that may help reduce the appearance of a double chin are far more invasive.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get Kybella injections?

While your provider will ultimately decide who is and isn’t a good candidate for Kybella, a few situations and conditions may disqualify you from treatment.

For example, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not receive Kybella injections, as its effects have not yet been studied. Those with an active infection in the submental area are also not good candidates for the procedure.

In addition, if you have had any surgery or cosmetic treatment on your face, chin or neck, have any medication conditions that include the neck (including trouble swallowing) or have bleeding problems, make sure to let your provider know ahead of time.

You’ll also want to let your provider know if you take any medication, both over-the-counter and prescription. This list should include vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements and any drugs that may interfere with the clotting of your blood (including anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications like aspirin, heparin and warfarin).

I’m sold. What’s the process of getting Kybella injections like?

Needle phobia is common, but the results often justify the means. For people who are nervous about the actual injections but still interested in the benefits of Kybella for jowls, learning a little more about the process can help reduce related stress and tension.

In addition, we recommend scheduling a consultation with one of our advanced practice providers before making your mind up about Kybella. During your consult, you’ll get one-on-one time to discuss your goals and decide on a treatment plan to help you reach them.

At the end of your appointment, you’ll leave with a more concrete idea of how you can achieve the results you want. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need to feel confident with your decision.

Once you arrive for your Kybella appointment, the first step will be for you to wash your face. This step is crucial not for the quality of your skin, but also to minimize the amount of bacteria on it. With fewer bacteria present, there is also a decreased likelihood of infection.

With your skin clean and dry, you’ll be given ice packs to apply underneath your chin. This is done twofold — the ice helps to numb the skin before your injections (potentially reducing the discomfort involved), while also minimizing the swelling that often happens afterward.

With your skin clean and numb, the next step is the injections themselves. We use the smallest needles possible to inject the medication, which also helps to reduce any painful side effects. However, many sessions include up to 50 total injections, so there might be some slight discomfort involved during the procedure, which lasts about 15 minutes total. You can also reapply the ice packs to your skin immediately afterward.

What can I expect after my injections?

Once your injections are complete and you’re ready to leave the clinic, it’s essential to know what to expect. Having a basic awareness of the healing process can help you to understand what is a normal side effect and what is a red flag that should trigger you to call your provider.

Let’s start by first discussing the potential side effects.

What side effects are possible when getting Kybella for jowls?

All medications, even the most benign, have the potential for side effects. This is part of why it is so crucial to have your injections performed by one of Skin Pharm’s advanced practice providers.

Possible severe side effects of Kybella include:

  • Nerve injury to the jaw (resulting in facial muscle weakness or an uneven smile, which may be temporary or permanent)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Problems with the injection site, including hematoma (a collection of blood underneath the surface of the skin), bruising, damage to an artery or vein (if the drug is inadvertently injected into one), hair loss, ulcers (open sores) and necrosis (damage and tissue-cell death)
  • Allergic reactions, including hives, swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat and difficulty breathing

However, those severe side effects are rare. More often, people who receive Kybella for jowls will experience the following, more mild and temporary side effects:

  • Swelling
  • Discomfort (usually mild to moderate)
  • Redness
  • Numbness
  • Areas of hardness in the treatment area

Do Kybella injections require any downtime?

Although Kybella injections don’t give you results immediately, the side effects do require some downtime right after your procedure. While some people feel comfortable going back to work, others prefer to take the rest of the day off to recover.

Most of that decision depends on your personal comfort level and how well you deal with discomfort. Due to the placement of the injections, many people can successfully cover their redness and swelling with clothing while they heal.

The good news is that most of those side effects fade away by the 72-hour mark. It can also be successfully managed with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol coupled with ice packs. If you decide to use ice packs to help manage the pain and swelling associated with Kybella injections, you must follow a strict schedule.

Ice packs should not be left on the skin for more than 20 minutes at a time, as any longer can cause trauma to the skin. If the swelling is significant, you can use them for 20 minutes on and off until it has gone down to a more manageable level or for 24 hours (whichever comes first).

It can also help minimize the side effects of sleeping with your head slightly elevated. Sleeping helps reduce swelling in the chin and the pressure that can make it more uncomfortable as you heal.

To conclude...

Using Kybella for jowls has been proven effective in most people who have undergone the injections. However, if you’re still unsure if Kybella is suitable for you, schedule a consultation with one of our providers to discuss your options.

We’ll help you find the best treatment plan to help get your skin where you want it — and keep it looking its best once you’ve reached your goals. After all, you deserve it!


Kybella (deoxycholic acid) FDA Approval History | Drugs

Deoxycholic Acid Injection | MedlinePlus Drug Information

Noninvasive Submental Fat Compartment Treatment | PMC


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