As cliché as it sounds, two and a half years ago, my life was changed completely. I first got a call officially offering me a new job — all the way across the country. But as I was dialing my grandmother to tell her the news, my phone rang. It was my uncle, telling me to come home immediately.
This is how I learned that my grandmother, the woman who raised me, the woman who shaped who I am, was unexpectedly ill. She passed away two days later. And after seeing my grandmother for the final time, I packed up to move to New York City — a place where I had no friends, no family, and no place that felt like home.
Needless to say, it was a dark period of my life. I spent the next couple of years working, moving, re-organizing my life, and never looking in the mirror. And almost three years later, I looked up and realized how that time had truly affected my face and skin. I had gained 35 pounds, my skin felt tired and saggy, and the area under my chin was not as taut as it used to be. The latter is something I became incredibly self-conscious about; I hated the way I looked, and would shy away from photos, finding the person smiling back practically unrecognizable.
So when I heard about Kybella, a non-invasive procedure meant to target the extra fat underneath your chin, I decided to try it out. "Generally, the area of fat underneath the chin is pretty genetic," facial plastic surgeon Dara Liotta, MD, tells me. "People who are genetically prone to have a little bit of extra fullness under the chin are just going to have it, no matter how healthy you are. And with time, we lose our collagen and elastin which holds everything up. Anything that runs you down can affect the way your skin and tissues respond."
Since I'm slightly terrified of plastic surgery, Kybella appealed to me because it doesn't require surgery, but still has permanent effects. The process essentially injects acid that "pops" any fat cells into your chin region. And while there is still recovery time (around six to eight weeks), the recovery period is only marked by a mild swelling that you can simply cover up with a scarf or turtleneck.
Still, the process was not immediate, and isn't for everyone. The important thing is to go to someone who knows what they're doing first: "You should only be seeing facial plastic surgeons, plastic surgeons, or dermatologists who are board-certified," Dr. Liotta says. "The neck is actually a really complex place of rejuvenation, so it's important to have relationships with them so they know if it's right for you. It's not one-size-fits-all." Oftentimes, people require anywhere from two to four treatments to see more obvious results, spaced out six to eight weeks apart.
Nor was the experience entirely pleasant. The acid causes a slight burning, itchy sensation, and for the first few days, the burning liquid sat under my skin, more annoyingly unpleasant than outright painful. It took six weeks for most of it to go away, but I can still feel the residual acid working in my chin, with a pain slightly more intense than a scab.
So, was it worth it? Watch the video above to see the process and results of my first treatment — and you'll see why I'm going back for round two. Having made it through some of the roughest years of my life, I want my jawline to be so cut, I'll look like a fucking superhero.