Neck Sagging & Wrinkles
As we age, the skin on the neck loses collagen and elastin. This leads to thin and less pliable skin on the neck which gives rise to wrinkles. Loss of fat and skin thickness also leads to the appearance of neck sagging.
A saggy neck, often referred to as “turkey neck”, is a term used to describe the appearance of loose, drooping skin beneath the chin and along the neck. Neck sagging and wrinkles are a common aesthetic concern. They affect both men and women. Whilst there is no medical harm from sagging neck skin, it can affect self esteem and confidence in some. In this article we will explore why neck sagging occurs and how to treat it.
What Do Neck Sagging & Wrinkles Look Like?
Whilst lumped in together, these are actually two different things. You can have neck sagging without the wrinkles or vice versa. It is also possible to have both. The reason its important to make this distinction is because it allows you to find the best treatment.
Sagging Neck (Turkey Neck)
A sagging neck is characterised by loose, droopy skin that hangs beneath the chin and along the throat. This sagging can give the appearance of having extra folds or layers of skin. This is especially visible when the head is tilted down or the neck is bent down. The texture of the skin in this region can also vary. Tt might appear thin and almost translucent in some areas, while in others, it may be thicker. This is especially likely if fat deposits are present. In fact, these underlying fat deposits can sometimes contribute to the appearance of a double chin.
The skin on the neck can develop wrinkles in a few distinct patterns. The most common type are horizontal lines. These are sometimes called “necklace lines” and they run around the circumference of the neck. The lines start off as fine and over time can widen, lengthen and become deep set. Another type of wrinkle, vertical lines or bands known as platysmal bands, can also appear on the front of the neck. These become more pronounced when the neck muscles, specifically the platysma, are tensed or during speech. Alongside these wrinkles, the skin may have a crepey texture and lose its pliability and firmness.
Causes of Neck Sagging & Wrinkles
This aesthetic concern can be the result of several factors. Most people tend to have a combination of causes and often these build up over time. In general, the most common causes of wrinkles and sagging skin on the neck include:
As we age, the skin on the neck loses collagen and elastin. This leads to thin and less pliable skin on the neck which gives rise to wrinkles. Loss of fat and skin thickness also leads to the appearance of neck sagging. This is further made worse by the shortening and loosening of the platysma muscle around the neck. When this happens it causes sagging and banding.
Over time, the continuous pull of gravity can contribute to the downward droop of neck skin. As we age, this pull combines with the skin’s natural loss of elasticity. Together this causes sagging and a reduction in firmness. This dynamic is especially pronounced in the neck area. It leads to jowls forming around the jawline and the ‘turkey neck’. Additionally, the persistent downward tug of gravity worsens horizontal lines and emphasises vertical banding. Beyond the skin, gravity influences the distribution of fat in the neck. It causes it to migrate downward and sometimes resulting in sagging or bulging pockets. The effects of gravity can be intensified by factors such as sun exposure, smoking, genetics and inadequate skincare.
Significant weight loss can leave behind excess skin. This is especially noticeable in areas like the neck where the skin might not retract entirely after the loss of underlying fat. When this happens it gives rise to loose and sagging skin on the neck.
Some people may be genetically predisposed to develop a saggy neck. This can be due to familial traits dictating skin elasticity and fat distribution. In addition certain genetic conditions like connective tissue disease may also cause neck sagging or wrinkles.
Chronic exposure to the sun can break down collagen and elastin in the skin faster. This accelerates the skin’s ageing process. The neck, often neglected in sun protection routines, is particularly vulnerable. Ultimately, sun damage can lead to premature sagging and wrinkles on the neck skin.
In addition to serious health problems, smoking reduces collagen production and restricts blood flow to the skin. This contributing to premature ageing and sagging of the skin.
Consistently poor posture can lead to horizontal wrinkles and contribute to sagging over time. This is especially common in today’s digital age where people frequently bend their necks to look at devices. So much so that this condition is called “tech neck”.
Prolonged exposure to pollutants and toxins can speed up skin ageing and contribute to the loss of skin elasticity. This can lead to neck sagging and fine lines or wrinkles.
The Best Treatments to Smooth & Tighten the Neck
If you are not happy with the way your neck looks, don’t worry. There are a number of treatment options for a saggy or wrinkled neck. The best option will depend on the specific concern you have and how severe it is.
Before you even think of treatments however, please make sure you take a few simple steps. Firstly, try to limit or get rid of any causes or exacerbating factors. This includes improving posture, stopping smoking and protecting your skin from the sun. These are vital to stop the problem from getting worse and avoid chasing your tail. Secondly, make sure that you have a proper skincare routine. This includes sun protection and moisturising as well as anti-oxidants and anti-ageing actives. There’s not much point in investing in expensive treatments if your skin baseline is poor. A good skincare routine will help you get better results from any treatment and then maintain them.
Anti-Ageing Prescription Skincare for Neck Wrinkles
Prescription anti-ageing skincare can help improve the texture, smoothness and quality of the skin on the neck. Tretinoin is the mainstay of prescription skin ageing treatments. It is clinically proven to reduce the signs of skin ageing including skin laxity, lines and wrinkles. You can combine Tretinoin with skin transformation systems like Obagi Nu Derm and Obagi-C if you also want to treat severe hyperpigmentation such as age spots or melasma due to skin ageing and photo-damage.
Botox® Non-Surgical Neck Lift (Or Nefertiti Neck Lift) For Neck Sagging & Bands
Botox® anti-wrinkle injections are highly effective for smoothing out wrinkles and lines on the skin. Furthermore, Botox® can be injected to relax the platysma muscle as well as other muscles that pull on the neck or jawline.This procedure is known as the Botox® non-surgical neck lift or Nefertiti neck lift. The effect of this is that it lifts and sculpts the neck as well as jawline. The treatment takes 3-4 weeks to work and last for 3-4 months.
Dermal Fillers For Neck Wrinkles
If the main concern is deep lines or wrinkles on the face and a sagging jawline, then dermal fillers provide an ideal non-invasive procedure. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers smooth put wrinkles and can also be used to sculpt the jawline and lower face and upper neck.
Skin Boosters For Neck Sagging & Wrinkles
Profhilo injectable moisturiser and other skin boosters like Juvederm Volite injections are a good way to enhance your skin. These treatments stimulate your skin to make more collagen and elastin. This helps to smooth out wrinkles, improve texture and plump up the skin. A course of these treatments can help tighten and firm up the neck.
This is a minimally invasive skin boosting procedure that combines traditional microneedling with radiofrequency (RF) energy. RF microneedling uses a device equipped with fine needles to create micro-injuries in the skin. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process and boosts the production of collagen and elastin. It also delivers targeted RF energy directly into the deeper layers of the skin which enhances the collagen stimulating effect. This not only tightens the skin but also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and laxity in the neck area.
These treatments work by emitting concentrated beams of light energy that penetrate the skin. Laser therapy targets and heats the underlying collagen and elastin fibres. This controlled thermal injury stimulates the body’s natural healing process which leads to synthesis of new collagen and the remodelling of the existing. The outcome is a noticeable firming and tightening of the skin. It can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, lasers can target uneven skin tone and texture. This makes the skin not only firmer but also smoother and more even coloured.
This is a non-invasive treatment designed to combat the signs of ageing. Ultherapy delivers micro-focused ultrasound energy to target the deep layers of skin. This energy stimulates the production of collagen. Over time, as the body naturally regenerates collagen, the skin starts to lift and tighten. This reduces sagging and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.
Neck Lift Surgery
If you are looking for a more permanent and pronounced correction of neck sagging and wrinkling, then you might want to consider a surgical neck lift. This procedure involves making incisions behind the ears and sometimes under the chin to access and adjust the underlying tissues. Excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is repositioned to achieve a tighter and defined contour. As with any surgical intervention, there are of course inherent risks. These include bruising, bleeding, infection, scars and anaesthetic risks. However, when done by an experienced plastic surgeon, the results can be transformative. Patients can expect significantly reduced appearance of sagging skin, more defined jawline and the elimination of vertical neck bands. Recovery time varies, but most individuals can resume normal activities within a few weeks. Whilst this procedure can provide long term results, it is of course expensive and results can vary from person to person.
With any beauty treatment, its important to take time to figure out your specific concerns and treatment goals. There are a number of options for treating neck sagging and wrinkles. The best one will depend on the causes, your health, lifestyle and personal preferences. Non surgical treatments offer an easy and non invasive way to help tighten and smooth the skin on the neck. However, these treatments are usually temporary and require a course of treatment to deliver results. You will also need to have future treatments to maintain your outcomes. Surgical neck lift does provide long term and more enhanced results. However, surgery does carry risks, has greater down time and is more expensive in the immediate term. Whichever way you lean, make sure you consult with a medical professional. They will be able to advise you on the best options for you.
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