Friday, September 30, 2016

Kybella Double Chin TV Ad: Are the BEFORE & AFTER Photos REALLY Unretouched as Claimed?

Perhpas you've seen the recent TV ad ("Ancestors") for Allergan's Kybella, a new drug approved for the treatment of double chins (read "Pfizer May Own Your Penis, But Allergan, Maker of Botox & Kybella, Owns Your Face"). The ad claims that double chins may be inherited. You can view it on here.

To prove the efficacy of Kybella, several screens are devoted to showing BEFORE and AFTER photos as in the following example:

You clearly can see from these "unretouched photos" of an "Actual KYBELLA patient" that the double chin is gone.

But are these photos really "unretouched." It all depends on what you mean by "unretouched." Let me explain.

The AFTER photo on the right looks AMAZINGLY identical to the BEFORE photo on the left. The  lighting highlights and shadows, angle of the pose, the amount of smile (more on that later), the opening of the eyes, the position of the eyebrows, etc. all look identical.

As I learned from the website, (Allergan does not own the domain :-), it may take up to 6 injections over 6 months to achieve this end result. IMHO, it would be nearly impossible to get two photos so nearly identical - except for the double chin - taken 6 months apart.

I did a little experiment with Photoshop to overlay the AFTER image on top of the BEFORE image and, sure enough, the two fit EXACTLY except for the double chin. Here's an image which shows you what I did:

Using Photoshop, I created two identical copies of the BEFORE image and laid them side by side. I then overlaid the AFTER image on each BEFORE image using the "Darken" filter. In one case - on the right - I overlaid the AFTER a bit offset to show that when the images are different or not aligned properly, you see a double image. On the left I overlaid the AFTER image on the BEFORE image as exactly as I could. You can see absolutely NO double image at all! The arrow points to only area of difference; i.e., where the double chin used to be.

I suspect that Allergan is not being truthful in its claim that the BEFORE and AFTER images in its commercials are "unretouched." It appears to me that the BEFORE image was simply retouched to remove the double chin to create the AFTER image.

Perhaps I am wrong, If so, I hope Allergan can prove I am wrong somehow.

One other thing. There is a litany of side effects that sound horrible. The narrator uses the last 30 seconds of the commercial to list them all, including "unequal smile." Here's my version of the BEFORE and AFTER when that happens:


  1. Excellent detective work! This misleading/false advertising is a pretty big deal.

  2. While I am skeptical as well, I do see that the woman's hair is not exactly the same. Her highlights and low lights do not match up. How easy would it be to manipulate that?

    1. Pretty easy in Photoshop to alter a bit here and there, including the hair.


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