It may seem like it happened overnight, but our necks can be the first to display common signs of aging. Unfortunately, wrinkled, crepey skin and neck bands can add years to our look. Whether due to genetics or ignoring the skin below the chin, the lines across the neck can be difficult to conceal without turtlenecks.
“Neck lines, bands and wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors. By far the number-one cause of neck aging is the sun. In addition, the neck is a dynamic structure with muscles that move the neck and help it function normally. These normal, necessary functions help contribute to the formation of prominent lines and wrinkles,” says Salt Lake City, UT facial plastic surgeon P. Daniel Ward, MD. No matter what causes neck wrinkles, there are several solutions that can help reduce neck lines for a smooth, taught look.
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Facial exercises can tone and strengthen the underlying neck muscles.
Side sleeping can lead to neck wrinkles, which are formed by the forceful pressure of your skin against your pillow at night. When done regularly, facial exercises can help tighten your neck muscles and create a more sculpted look. “These exercises, which involve tilting your head, stretching your neck and holding for five seconds, can help strengthen the muscles so the lines aren’t as apparent,” says face yoga expert Fumiko Takatsu.
A neck cream can improve rough texture.
Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can break down collagen and elastin, causing the skin to lose its flexibility, resulting in etched-in neck lines. “Topical antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E can help reverse the damage caused by sunlight and pollution,” says Saddle Brooke, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman. “Retinoids and tretinoin cream are a solid choice and should be initially applied three times a week with moisturizer and increased slowly until tolerated every night.”
“Protect the neck with lots of antioxidants and SPF,” adds Short Hills, NJ facial plastic surgeon Alexander Ovchinsky, MD.
“Beyond sunblock use, the most effective topical treatments to help stimulate collagen are retinol, peptides and growth factors,” adds Dr. Ward. Kat Burki Form Control Neck Lift ($190) features amino acids, plant stem cells and Burki’s exclusive Form Control complex to help improve skin firmness. Use it on the neck and décolleté twice a day for best results.
A neck mask may help firm skin.
According to Los Angeles facial plastic surgeon Michael Godin, MD, weight loss and gain are major causes of premature aging in the neck. “Drastic weight loss and gain in a short time can cause the skin on your neck to expand and contract, leading to sagging skin and pronounced neck bands.”
When you are searching for solutions on how to get rid of neck wrinkles, a neck mask incorporates the same skin-care ingredient infusion that have made face masks so popular. LAPCOS Hydra Collagen Neck Mask ($42) contains marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and a peptide complex to hydrate and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles on the neck.
A facial tool can help get your neck in shape.
You may have forgotten to include your neck and décolleté in your daily skin-care routine. Neglecting to care for it just as you do your face leaves it more susceptible to developing wrinkles and bands over time. Osmosis +Beauty EPIC Duo Skin Tool ($74) has hundreds of mini pyramids that create micro-channels to promote blood circulation and stimulate collagen over time.
Noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures can help mild to moderate neck laxity.
Some nonsurgical treatments for the neck include Ultherapy or ultrasound-based skin-tightening, and radio frequency-based skin-tightening treatments like Vivace RF, Morpheus8 or Evoke. “Wrinkles, or rhytids, in the neck are often accompanied by sagging, or ptosis. Some form of resurfacing like a light chemical peel, fractional laser or multiple energy-based treatments like Morpheus8 or Fractora can help tighten skin and improve the area,” says Northbrook, IL plastic surgeon Michael A. Epstein, MD.
“I have to admit that the neck is one of the more challenging areas to rejuvenate,” adds Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD. “More and more patients are looking for noninvasive treatment options, even if a surgical neck lift is seriously being considered. A simple and quick treatment is called the ‘Nefertiti Lift,’ where Botox, Dysport, or other equivalent neurotoxin is injected superficially into the platysma muscle of the neck. Although this is an off-label indication for Botox and other neurotoxins, it can help to reduce the ‘webbing’ and lines in the neck, thereby rejuvenating the appearance of the aging skin here.”
A necklift will get rid of excess skin and restore youthful contours.
Patients who are genetically predisposed to skin laxity may need a more permanent fix. While some nonsurgical solutions can help with neck lines, a necklift can get rid of sagging and gives lasting results. Dr. Epstein performed a necklift on this patient to remove wrinkles. “Wrinkles in the neck are also seen with loss of laxity in the skin and can be found running in all kinds of directions. These are best treated with a combination of some surgical lifting of the skin,” he notes. This patient’s after photo was taken three weeks after her procedure.