Ah, the neck! In the words of my dermatologist, “Necks are the worst.” I agree! Even if you’re diligent about skincare and your face looks pretty good, your neck may be one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Mine is driving me crazy! Today, we’re going to talk about what causes our necks to age and what we can do about it.
Why and How Necks Age
The first thing to understand is that the skin on your neck is thinner and more delicate than the skin on your face. Just like the thin skin under our eyes, this makes the neck more prone to show signs of aging. Here are a few other reasons that your neck may be aging faster than you think it should:
- Your neck has fewer sebaceous glands than your face, which means it produces less oil and is more susceptible to dryness and wrinkling.
- Your neck is often exposed to the sun, which can cause damage, such as dark spots, dryness, and wrinkles.
- Poor posture can cause the muscles in the neck to weaken and sag, leading to the appearance of what is commonly referred to as “turkey 🦃 neck.” (LOVELY. 😬)
- Genetics can play a role in the aging process. You may be predisposed to developing wrinkles and sagging skin on your neck.
Aging Neck Issues
As you age, you may experience a wide range of issues with your neck, including:
- Sagging Skin: The skin on your neck may begin to sag or droop, causing jowls or a “turkey neck” appearance. 🙋♀️ That’s my issue!
- Fine Lines & Wrinkles: Fine lines and wrinkles may appear on the neck, particularly horizontal lines known as “necklace lines,” caused by repetitive movement or keeping your head in the same position over a long period of time. (Think sleeping, working at the computer, or looking at your phone.)
- Crepey Skin: The skin on your neck may thin and develop a crepey texture, increasing the appearance of aging.
- Age Spots/Discoloration: These are primarily due to sun exposure.
- Double Chin: The skin under the chin may accumulate fat and create what we refer to as a “double chin.” This can be especially true with weight gain or even weight loss.
- Prominent Neck Bands: Vertical neck bands, called platysmal bands, may become more prominent as you age and the neck muscles weaken.
- Lack of Definition: As your skin loses elasticity and the muscles weaken, your jawline and neckline may lose definition, causing them to appear less defined.
What You Can Do About Your Aging Neck
Know that there are various treatments available to address the signs of aging on the neck, as well as to protect and slow signs of future aging. Before I get into what can help, let’s address one thing that doesn’t work: neck yoga!
Face or neck yoga is centered on the idea that you can look younger by performing face and neck exercises that help to strengthen the underlying muscles. The problem is that because sagging skin is primarily caused by the loss of collagen and elastin, building up the underlying muscles, unfortunately, isn’t going to affect the laxity of your skin. So ignore those convincing-looking internet ads!
Here’s what can help.
Slow Signs of Future Aging
It can come down to the basics that we all need to be reminded about periodically. (Sigh.)
Perfect Your Posture
Forward Head Posture (aka “tech neck”), is where the position of your head is in front of the midline of your torso. The problem is that over time, certain muscles will weaken, and others will get tight.
I struggle with this! 🙋♀️ Ideally, your ear canal should be aligned with the midline of your torso. I’ve found the exercises in this video helpful.
Maintain Healthy Habits
Maintain a healthy diet, hydrate well, and exercise regularly. Practicing these healthy habits can help to maintain overall skin health and help to reduce the appearance of aging on the neck.
Use a Good Sunscreen
Don’t neglect your neck and decolletage when it comes to your everyday sunscreen (even in the cooler months). I use Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 on my face and neck every day, rain or shine, 365. I do it even if I’m staying home all day, because the sun coming through the windows counts as sun exposure, and the time we spend in front of windows accumulates over time.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 is invisible and weightless and provides broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection, as well as antioxidant skincare benefits. It goes on so smoothly that you can easily use it as a primer. It’s clear, so there is no danger of white residue. I’ve even got Bob using it! It’s available at Supergoop HERE, Ulta HERE, and Sephora HERE. (I buy the jumbo size to keep at home, but also the mini size to keep in my purse for reapplications!) Now, Supergoop even has an Unseen Sunscreen specially formulated for the body.
Treat Your Aging Neck
Beyond the prevention of future aging, there are a few things you can do topically to address the current signs of aging skin on your neck.
Extend Your Everyday Skincare
As I told you when I shared my daytime and nighttime skincare routines, get in the habit of treating your neck (and the backs of your hands) with the same skincare products you use on your face. To see what I use, click HERE.
Use a Neck Cream
Apply a neck-firming cream like SkinMedica Neck Correct Cream or Revision’s Nectifirm Advanced. These products are specifically designed for the neck area and contain ingredients like peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants that can help to tighten and tone neck skin and give it a firmer, smoother appearance. The ingredients are similar to those in good face creams, but the concentrations and formula vary, so they’re more appropriate for the neck area.
Use an At-Home Device
While you can’t expect the level of results that you can at the doctor’s office, at-home devices may help stave off expensive and time-consuming in-office procedures. Most effective at-home devices are designed to stimulate collagen and elastin, improving sagging and wrinkling.
The Nuface Trinity is an award-winning microcurrent device that uses gentle low-level electrical microcurrent to stimulate the facial muscles, help tone, lift, and contour the skin and produce collagen and elastin. I own this and use it almost every morning.
The GloPRO is a patented, award-winning microneedling tool with two main benefits: natural skin regeneration and enhanced absorption of topical skin care products. The device uses small needles to create imperceptible micro-channels in the top layer of skin, which is a form of controlled injury. In response to this injury, the skin produces collagen and elastin. In addition, the micro-channels that microneedling creates allow skincare ingredients to absorb deeper and work more effectively. I own this and use it on my face and neck two or three times a week. It takes about 60 seconds per area, and it doesn’t exactly hurt, but I wouldn’t say it’s comfortable! I always notice a difference the next day!
Minimally Invasive Procedures for Aging Necks
Minimally invasive procedures are usually performed in a dermatologist’s office with little to no downtime. Procedures are generally focused on stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, which constrict the skin, making it look tighter, firmer, and less crepey. The results are temporary, and they are often time-consuming and costly.
- Kybella is an injectable that is used to reduce excess fat beneath the chin. This is an ideal procedure for individuals with double chins. It requires several in-office visits and a few days of downtime after each treatment while the swelling resolves.
- Botox relaxes the neck muscles that pull down the jawline. It’s more useful for improving the jawline than the neck itself. It will smooth out wrinkles and reduce fine lines, but it won’t reduce or remedy serious sagging. I do this a few times a year.
- Ultherapy uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) energy to stimulate the body’s production of collagen and elastin. Ulthera is expensive and not ideal for very saggy and wrinkled skin.
- Thermage is a radiofrequency treatment in which the superficial skin layers are cooled while heat is delivered to the fibers deeper in the skin. This stimulates the production of collagen and improves wrinkles and sagging skin.
- Scarlet SRF combines radiofrequency and microneedling to rebuild collagen in the skin. This treatment helps to smooth fine lines, tighten skin, decrease pore size, and improve the texture of the skin. I tried this with Dr. Lori Stetler from the Dallas Center for Dermatology & Aesthetics, with the hope of sharing before and after images in this post. Although I know that the procedure is proven to produce collagen and elastin, I did not get noticeable results.
Still, as an introduction to that procedure, Dr. Stetler did a Q&A about aging necks that I think you’ll find helpful.
Invasive Procedures for Aging Necks
Liposuction uses a cannula to remove extra fat underneath the chin and sculpt the chin and neck contour. In the absence of other issues, like severe platysmal banding or sagging, it can be effective because it causes changes in the undersurface of the neck, causing a redraping of the skin.
A neck lift is a surgical procedure that can help to tighten and lift the skin and underlying muscles of the neck. It involves removing and tightening excess skin in the chin and neck areas for a more defined jawline and smoother neck contours (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). It involves making cuts under your chin or behind your ears (or both) to access a neck muscle called the platysma. Sometimes, that may even mean removing some muscle. Newer procedures let your surgeon make smaller cuts and use an endoscope (a small camera attached to a thin tube) to perform a neck lift. If you’re interested in this procedure, do your research, find a surgeon you trust, and discuss your options.
What have you tried and found effective to treat your aging neck? Leave a comment and let me know, okay?
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