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May 14, 2021

Everything You Need To Know About Kybella

Chin fat has met its match. 


Your diet and exercise regimen can be Kim Kardashian-levels of intensity, but no matter how many squats you do or how many carbs you’re not eating, stubborn chin fat may be impossible to lose or hide without the help of plastic surgery, injectables, and/or fat-absorbing acids like FDA-approved Kybella. But is Kybella the right procedure for you? We chatted with leading NYC plastic surgeon David Shafer of Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue to break down the “miracle injection” and whether or not Kybella works. 


Do you have some fullness under your chin? Kybella might be the answer.


What Is Kybella?


According to the product’s website, Kybella is a “prescription medicine used in adults to improve the appearance and profile of moderate to severe fat below the chin (submental fat and submental fullness), also called ‘double chin.’” The active ingredient is a synthetic deoxycholic acid, which is naturally produced in the body and assists with dietary fat removal and absorption. When injected beneath the chin, Kybella can destroy fat cells to yield a more defined look. These cells can also no longer store fat after treatment, so results are permanent. 


Who Are the Best Candidates for Kybella?


While Kybella is the only FDA-approved injectable targeted for the aforementioned submental fat, many dermatologists and plastic surgeons are utilizing it for minor fat reduction on different areas of the body.


“Good candidates are those with localized areas of palpable fat or fullness and good skin quality,” says Shafer. “Poor candidates are those with either no fat (as there would be no target tissues), loose skin (as reducing any fat may exacerbate their issues), large amounts of fat (as surgical reduction may be more appropriate), or fullness not attributable to fat.”


What is the Downtime and Side Effects After a Kybella Treatment? 


“Everyone who is treated with Kybella will have swelling,” shares Shafer. “This common side effect that patients experience is expected and should be planned for.” That being said, Shafer adds that the current use of face masks can actually hide the area of swelling, which should take about a week to dissipate. 


As far as the number of aesthetic treatments, it’s important to note that most patients will require between two and four over the course of several months for optimal results, but that the initial treatment will have the most swelling. 


Kybella is a prescription medicine used in adults to improve the appearance and profile of moderate to severe fat below the chin.


Are Other Procedures Recommended with Kybella?


While Kybella’s purpose is to reduce excess fat under the chin, patients may benefit from additional procedures that enhance the overall chin and jaw area. “Reducing the fat under the chin is just one component of lower face rejuvenation,” says Shafer.  “Enhancing the jawline with filler or a chin implant is the second part of the equation. Which treatments are recommended is based on the patient’s anatomy and their final goals.” This is important to keep in mind if your ultimate goal goes beyond the removal of fat, as Kybella may not significantly alter the shape of your face. 


Is Kybella the Most Effective Non-Surgical Treatment for Chin Fat Reduction? 


While Kybella injections are certainly one of the least invasive procedures for chin fat reduction, Shafer is quick to point out that nothing is more effective than mini liposuction. 


Liposuction has the advantage of immediate results and minimal recovery, but it does require a trip to the operating room,” he says. “The advantage of Kybella and (fat-freezing procedures like Coolsculpting) is no operation, but there may be a delay in final results as several treatments may be needed.”  


Is Kybella Affordable? 


“A full four courses of Kybella is roughly the same cost as having neck liposuction. So Kybella treatment sessions may spread the payments out over several months, but there are no appreciable cost savings in the long run,” reveals Shafer. “Both give permanent results, so it’s best for the patient and doctor to discuss treatment options and develop cosmetic treatment plans based on the patient’s anatomy, goals, timeline, and expectations from the injectable treatment.”  


Is Kybella Actually Worth it?


The answer to this question is obviously unique to the patient. There have been plenty of conflicting literature as to whether or not the injections are worth the money, discomfort, and downtime, but it’s ultimately up to you, your desired results, and long-term aesthetic goals. “In most cases, a combination of fat reduction of the neck area, by any means, as well as chin enhancement [like an implant] gives the best results,” says Shafer. 


Those looking for a more dramatic difference in their chin and jaw projection and/or shape may want to consider minor plastic surgery or liposuction, while those seeking simple fat removal may benefit from an injection like Kybella. Of course, learn everything you need to know about Kybella by speaking with a skilled healthcare professional prior to making any decisions.


What are your thoughts on Kybella and its seemingly overnight popularity? Is it something you’d consider as an alternative to going under the knife (or liposuction wand)? Sound off in the comments. 

Joey is a writer/editor, TV/radio personality, lifestyle expert, former entertainment publicist and author of Basic Bitchen. He was most recently editor-at-large of CBS Interactive’s Chowhound and his work has also been featured in major outlets like Food & Wine, People, CNET, InStyle, Yahoo!, Travel + Leisure, Lonny, and BuzzFeed. In addition, he is the host of Awesomeness TV’s Dish This and has appeared on Wendy Williams, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, HLN, NBC, CBS, and SiriusXM. Currently based in New York City, in his spare time Joey enjoys volleyball, worshipping Beyonce, fine dining, writing depressing poetry, interior design, and perfecting his stand-up comedy routine. You can find him on Instagram @joeyskladany.




Aesthetic medicine is truly a miracle. An inection can help remedy a double chin. We are truly living in ultra modern times. What's next? Reminds me of the movie, Death Becomes Her - a must for anyone who hasn't seen it!


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I have heard such amazing things about Kybella since it hit the market. I can’t wait to see how they utilize this technology over the next 10 years.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I never knew I needed Kybella until now. Thanks for the informative read Joey!


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Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

With all the new injectables, laser treatments, and cool sculpting options, it's crucial to do your homework, as Joey said. It's equally important to research the person giving your treatment too. So many day-spas or general salons add injectables to their portfolios after only having a class or two. Be sure the person coming at you with a needle has all the licenses, experience, and intelligence to do the job.


So thorough! Thanks Joey. Any treatment that helps people feel better about themselves and doesn’t involve surgery sounds like a win.