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Jenna’s First Time Trying KYBELLA®!

Sorry I’m a little shiny!

My double chin first appeared in high school after looking at a polaroid of myself from the side. I said out loud at 16-years-old, “What the hell is this?!” It’s a genetic chin, and no matter how much I weighed, that jerk never went away. I assumed my side chin would be a trait I’d carry all my life. Honestly, from the front it was not noticeable, but that side angle was frustrating. Thus began my journey to KYBELLA®.

Beauty in the Time of Robots

Fast forward to age 37. The technology in the cosmetic dermatology field has gotten to science fiction levels, and I am here for it. I started doing research on methods to remove my face fat pocket, and it seemed that microneedling had some good results.

“Collagen induction therapy (CIT), also known as microneedling, dermarolling, or skin needling, is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles (microneedling the skin.)“ – JAAD

Microneedling is used to treat a variety of skin conditions like scaring (acne, stretchmarks, surgical) burns, enlarged pores, and wrinkles.

I was at the Grand Opening of a SkinSpirit Med Spa in Gaithersburg and happened to mention to one of the nurse practitioners Caroline, that I was considering microneedling for chin reduction. She looked at my face from side to side; like I was a painting, and she was going to do a few gentle brush strokes Bob Ross style, and thought I’d be a good candidate for KYBELLA®.

So What is KYBELLA®?

According to the KYBELLA® website, “The active ingredient in KYBELLA® is synthetic deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, KYBELLA® destroys fat cells, resulting in a noticeable reduction in fullness under the chin. Once destroyed, these cells can no longer store or accumulate fat.”

KYBELLA® was invented in 2003, when a dermatology resident at UCLA Dr. Rotunda, alongside Michael S. Kolodney, MD, PhD, “performed a series of experiments showing the effects of deoxycholic acid on fat.” They investigated that deoxycholic acid reduced and destroyed lipomas, disturbing but benign fatty tumors. Through an additional clinical trial, Dr. Rotunda and other colleagues proved that deoxycholic acid reduced under the chin fat, which could otherwise only be eliminated with liposuction.

After a decade of treating over 2600 patients in 11 clinical trials conducted by a biotech company called Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, deoxycholic acid was finally approved by the FDA as a treatment of moderate to severe submental (below the chin) fullness on April 29, 2015 under the name Kybella” – Newport Skin Cancer


Procedure Prep

Ready to Roll!

KYBELLA® is a prescription medicine, and can only be administered by a medically licensed clinician. Caroline Ruhl, NP, is an Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner at SkinSpirit, and her NP status gave me a good feeling. As a John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore MD, nursing school graduate with a Masters in Advance Nursing Practice, I knew I wasn’t getting fat dissolving bile acid injected into my face in the bathroom of a Motel 6, so I decided to give this injectable a try, and was excited to revisit SkinSpirit!

Now, I’m going to be honest with you. This procedure hurts. I’m a Botox and filler aficionado and can handle pain, but THIS. FREAKING. HURT. Before the procedure began, Caroline injected me with a numbing solution (lidocaine) in the three locations she would be injecting. The injection sites were to the right and left of my jawline and underneath my chin. That part was easy peasy. I can take a quick face injection like a pro.

Once the Lidocaine takes effect, a cannula or thin tube is inserted into the numbed injection sites. This part, is also virtually painless since I was numb. Caroline uses a cannula instead of 25 separate injections. She’s nice like that! If you get KYBELLA®, I highly recommend finding a practitioner who uses the cannula method. It’s significantly less painful, and much quicker.

Where the Ouch Lives

The KYBELLA® solution is injected through the cannula and directly into the submental fat. This is where the ouch lives! I knew it would be painful, but I didn’t expect to hear and feel my fat sizzle and pop. Like Pop Rocks under your skin. It’s a gnarly sensation. Part painful, part surprising, part party popping carnival in your face. The initial OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING I MADE A HUGE MISTAKE feeling subsides in less than a minute, but then you still have two more injection sites. Pro tip: The final injection under the chin is so painful that you will curse the ancestors who bestowed such a chin upon you, but you are better than that. Respect your elders.

After the third injection, Caroline smooshed my chin a bit to move it around, and that kind of felt nice…like I deserved a little rub for my troubles. I then iced for 15 minutes, got a shmancy chin wrap, and headed home.

Who wore it better?

Healing Time.

When researching KYBELLA® you will hear the term, “bullfrog face.” It makes sense for there to be some swelling, so I wasn’t concerned. Plus it was cool that for about a week I got to see what life would look like with a wide jaw (Spoiler Alert: It was not a great look for me, but now I know and that’s growth.) This swelling is your immune system’s response to the medication. Swelling and numbness is normal and will subside with time. At week two post injection, I was blowing out my hair using the dual mirrors in my bathroom and saw a noticeable difference in my chin size. I immediately took a selfie. Obviously.

Showing off 6 weeks post KYBELLA®

Over the next 12 weeks my chin gradually got smaller, and now I am absolutely in LOVE with my results. Most people need 2-4 treatments, but I am happy with the one. It looks incredible and I have so much more confidence in my jawline.

Would I Recommend KYBELLA®?

Since the results of KYBELLA® are permanent, it’s essentially chemical liposuction; the short-lived pain was totally worth the results for me. I am happy! The cost of the procedure ranges, but at SkinSpirit it’s $700 a vile and I needed two. It’s pricey but compared to actual chin liposuction, it might be more affordable, less invasive, and a quick procedure where you can return to normal life immediately after…if you are cool looking like a rectangle face in public for a few weeks.

Personally, I don’t think I would have seen these drastic results with microneedling, an expensive procedure that is not permanent. I also would never get actual liposuction of the chin, as that procedure is much more invasive.

KYBELLA® doesn’t work for everyone. For some, the procedure has no effect. I’ve read stories where after the 12-week downtime patients had the exact same chin. This wasn’t my experience, but in full disclosure, I have heard that complaint in multiple online forums.

That’s the thing about body chemistry! Botox doesn’t work on everyone, Cool Sculpting has adverse reactions in certain people, and so on and so on. Before getting any injectable, do your research, speak with a medical provider about the procedure, and have realistic expectations about your recovery and results.

In terms of the pain, if you are a mom and have had natural childbirth or an epidural, this will feel like a walk in the park with ice cream.


Author: Jenna Levine Liu, Founder and President of Sixx Cool Moms! Find a Cool Moms Chapter Near You!



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