In our 50s, the skin on our neck can become thinner, lose elasticity, and develop wrinkles or sagging. This is the time to really take care of the skin below your chin and top surgeons say there are preventative and rejuvenation measures you can start doing now.
Texture changes in the skin on the neck can make it appear crepey or wrinkled, says Reno, NV plastic surgeon Tiffany D. McCormack, MD. “The underlying structures, such as the platysma muscle, may begin to sag as well. This can cause ‘bands’ and heaviness in the neck. Weight gain can also contribute to heaviness in the neck and chin area.” For a smoother, tighter neck, experts say heed these anti-aging recommendations.
1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sun Protection
Sun damage can accelerate the aging process and cause wrinkles and age spots. “Always wear sunscreen,” says Encino, CA plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD. The same SPF 30 and above sunscreen that you use on your face can be worn on your neck. Be sure to reapply every two hours if you are outdoors.
“Sunscreen and sunblock can be helpful and preventative, and when you ask the question about what happens to our necks as we age, a lot of that is aging due to loss of elasticity caused by sun damage,” adds Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo R. McCafferty, MD.
2. Use Neck-Friendly Ingredients
Moisturizing regularly can help keep the neck skin hydrated and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “Choose ingredients that will stimulate tissue growth, like retinoids, which stimulate collagen and elastin production,” says Dr. Sanders. “Defensins do the same without the side effects of the retinoids. Antioxidants, peptides and glycerin are other key ingredients that are useful in this area.”
3. Try a Nonsurgical Neck Treatment
Nonsurgical skin-smoothing treatments like laser resurfacing, radio frequency or ultrasound therapy can help improve the appearance of your neck. “Energy devices such as Ultherapy or slightly more invasive treatments such as Renuvion can help with skin tightening early on,” says Dr. McCormack. “Radio-frequency microneedling devices may also help with skin texture.”
“There are surgical and nonsurgical approaches depending on the degree of severity and also the degree of concern that patients have about this,” notes Dr. McCafferty. “One of the noninvasive approaches that works the best for the neck is microneedling with platelet-rich plasma.”
4. Consider Injectables
Some injectable solutions for the neck area that doctors are employing include neurotoxin injections for vertical muscle bands, fillers to fill in deep neck creases and Kybella to dissolve excess fat under the chin, says Dr. Sanders.
5. Opt for Natural-Looking Neck Surgery
When nonsurgical solutions fail to offer the appropriate amount of improvement, a surgical approach may be recommended. Treating the neck at this stage may stave off the need for surgery at a later age when the procedure may be more complicated. “For a patient in their 50s, there is usually a more ideal result than for an older patient since the tissues that are being lifted hold the necklift better due to their greater amount of collagen and elastin,” explains Dr. Sanders, who also says the necklift results usually lasts longer than one in an older patient.
“With surgery we are typically able to address multiple layers at once, such as the skin, muscle, fat and fascia,” adds Dr. McCormack. “You will get the most correction with the longest-lasting results surgically. This will often include treating the lower face that is often aging along with the neck in our 50s.”
Dr. McCafferty adds that it’s important to realize the connection between the cheek and the neck. “Sometimes in order to satisfactorily address the neck, you have to think about addressing the lower face as well, and it’s something to be aware of if you’re considering surgery on just your neck.”