The weight to be ‘beautiful’ is heavier than ever with filters and ‘tweakments’ replacing selfies and face cream.
I’m not immune to these pressures but I typically try to enhance my outer appearance through inner conditioning, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet. But no matter what I ate or how much I exercised, regardless of the weight on the scales, I could never seem to budge a stubborn pocket of fat under my chin.
My double chin was most prominent, I found, in photos making me volunteer myself to take the picture instead of being in it and capturing memories.
It turns out ‘submental fat’, which is the correct terminology for double chin (sounds so much nicer, doesn’t it?), is actually pretty common.
After years of trying and failing to shift the fat, I decided to see what additional help was out there because, at this point, I wondered if my submental fat was hereditary and may never leave.
The good news is there are plenty of treatment options to help with the removal of stubborn fat including fat freezing, fat removal injections and skin tightening. But which one would be right for me?
After much research, fact-checking and review-cross referencing, I opted for the clinic Look Lovely London, which has been around for nearly 15 years and has treated stubborn fat removal for four years.
Owner and Director, Dr. Davina Wilson, has been working in general practice for 14 years and set up Look Lovely London in 2009. She is also a clinical teacher in aesthetics and is one of the most respected cosmetic doctors in West London.
She is a member of the General Medical Council, The Royal College of GPs and Save Face which regulate patient safety in aesthetics and has carried out over 80,000 procedures with no complications to date. I thought, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right.
I hit ‘send’ on my inquiry email and the liaison team soon came back to me asking for photos of my chin for the practitioners to review. I was identified as a candidate and one week later I was sitting in the patient chair with Dr. Davina for my face-to-face assessment.
The Aqualyx Treatment
After a thorough examination and background check, Dr. Davina and I agreed that fat-dissolving injections, known by the brand name Aqualyx, would be the best treatment for my concerns.
The clinic recommended a cooling-off period so I was sent away and after a week of thought, I decided I was happy with the risks and felt comfortable with Dr. Davina and her level of expertise.
While fat dissolving has fewer treatment sessions than alternative treatments, the downtime is often more intense, taking up to eight weeks for the swelling to fully subside. Most people also need a course of two to three treatments so it’s worth saying now if you’re looking for a quick fix – this probably isn’t the treatment for you.
Positioned as the non-surgical alternative to liposuction, Aqualyx is made from several different plant-based compounds with the active component, deoxycholic acid found naturally occurring in the human body. It works to dissolve the membranes lining our fat cells, causing them to spill their slippery contents.
Once the fat cells become unstable, they break down and the body’s immune system then eliminates the fatty acids through excretion as waste over the course of one month, so drinking plenty of water is important!
Dr. Davina adds: “I think it’s a really safe treatment and, if done with the right clinic, results are fantastic. If you’ve been trying hard for years to clear an area of fat that you’re unhappy with then fat dissolving is a good treatment for you. Be it a ‘double chin’, a slight bulge at the side of the jeans or a little bit of bra fat that can stop you from having photos from certain angles or from wearing certain clothes, you don’t have to live with it.”
Who is Eligible for Aqualyx?
At Look Lovely London, there is a strict criteria patients need to meet to be eligible for the treatment. It’s stressed that this is not a weight loss fix but rather to treat a stubborn pocket of fat.
At 28 years old, I was deemed an “ideal candidate” as my stubborn fat was genetic and younger patients typically do well because they have better skin elasticity and are less likely to have excess, sagging skin under the chin.
Dr. Davina adds: “More often than not we do have to turn patients away when they’re not quite suitable”.
“If there are a lot of fatty areas it’s recommended to make healthy lifestyle changes first by going to the gym and improving your diet before coming in for the treatment. As a general rule of thumb, a person’s BMI should be under 28”.
“To assess the area, I take a detailed history and examine the area with the ‘pinch test’. If you can pinch the area and there’s about an inch of fat called adipose tissue, then you’re probably appropriate for the treatment”.
Dr. Davina uses a lipo cannula to inject the solution meaning there is only one needle prick meaning less pain and bruising.
A numbing agent is also mixed with the Aqualyx solution so a few seconds after you feel the initial sting from the needle, it subsides to what feels like a slight pressure on the chin.
I could feel a slight burning sensation building under my chin from where the solution was being injected but the whole procedure was over in a matter of minutes.
Pain-wise, I would equate it to getting laser hair removal – uncomfortable but completely tolerable. The numbing solution really does work.
The most uncomfortable part for me was sitting up for the first time and adjusting to the pillow of liquid underneath my chin. It also felt numb but heavy and remained like that for the next couple of days.
The swelling was immediately visible, like a low-hanging peach dangling off my face. This looked like the double chin of my nightmares, about three times the size of my chin only ten minutes earlier. It was like looking at myself as if I had instantly gained 20 kilograms in weight.
Dr. Davina pre-warned me about the swelling, saying: “You’re going to get instant swelling and you’re going to be swollen for about seven days. You will feel a little bit self-conscious about it”.
It’s nothing to worry about, explained Dr Davina: “We want you to have inflammation because that’s when the breakdown of the fat cells starts and gives you the results that you need”.
At least my treatment was working but I should have heeded the warnings.
All I wanted to do was go home and hide but I was booked for a park walk with a friend. Luckily, Dr. Davina graciously gave me a face mask to wear which helped to hide the amphibious-like gullet.
Aqualyx Before & After
The next day the swelling had intensified and as Dr Davina had predicted, I felt pretty self-conscious about it but I also took solace in the fact that it was working.
I had a friend’s wedding to attend in roughly six weeks which is why I decided to get the treatment in the first place – I was just praying the swelling would have at least subsided to pre-treatment levels by then.
Thanks to the lipo cannula, I had absolutely no bruising and only a tiny pinprick from the needle that disappeared after 48 hours.
For me, I felt for two weeks post-treatment, it looked obvious that my chin was swollen but luckily, I had cleared my social calendar and opted to work from home why the Aqualyx worked its magic.
By week three, my chin was finally at a size where I didn’t think it was noticeable to strangers and by week five, it was back to pre-treatment size and only continued to improve with each day. Towards the end of week six, I could clearly notice a reduction of fat around the chin area and when I lifted my chin, I could feel the skin was tighter.
I’m happy to say that I was ecstatic with the results on my friend’s wedding day, so much so that I didn’t think I would need three treatments (but still needed Dr. Davina’s opinion).
Back at Look Lovely London after eight weeks, it was staggering to compare the difference in the before and after photos. But there was still a small pocket of fat remaining and for optimal results, we decided to go with a second treatment.
The procedure went much the same as the first but this time, I was prepared for the swelling. To my surprise, the bulge was much smaller this time.
At the three-week mark, I felt like it was back to pre-treatment levels, as opposed to five weeks previously.
The Bottom Line
This treatment is a better price than more invasive options priced at £750 for three sessions. At £750, you can get three treatments of Aqualyx at Look Lovely London.
I love that it’s permanent and a naturally occurring compound already in the body. This means you can retain the natural shape of the face unlike other face contouring products like filler.
But it does leave a pretty big gap in your social calendar for the downtime and there is a set of criteria you need to meet meaning the treatment isn’t suited to everyone.
In terms of my experience, I couldn’t be happier with the results and treatment. My chin is exactly how I have always envisaged it – uniquely mine but without the added baggage.
Dr. Davina is an expert in her field and from the moment we met, she made a real effort to listen to my concerns and communicate clearly what my options were. It’s so important to do your research and feel totally at ease with your doctor.
Dr. Davina adds: “Sadly, there are a lot of unregulated, non-professionals offering this treatment and they’re injecting incorrectly and that can therefore lead to complications like nodule formation, pigmentation and even skin necrosis if it’s put in at the wrong level and the wrong place”.
If asked if I would do the treatment again if I had to, the answer would be 100% yes. Dr. Davina and her team are clearly experts when it comes to medical-grade skin treatments, particularly fat dissolving.
I’m happy to say that I now love getting my picture taken and capturing memories of my most confident self.
So, if you’re thinking about the treatment for yourself, take Dr. Davina’s advice and “Come and have a discussion with professionals that have had high training in the area and get it cleared”. Look Lovely London is located at 4 Wellington Road, St John’s Wood, London, NW8 9SP and if you are interested in learning more about treatments, check out their website.