A Reason to Be Thankful: Turkey Neck Treatments that Work
“Turkey neck.” It happens to us all. No matter how fresh looking you’re able to keep your face, the neck will divulge your age. As humorous author Nora Ephron put it in her book, I Feel Bad about My Neck, “Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t have to if it had a neck.”
Maybe you’ve already tried neck-tightening exercises, the best neck-firming creams… even neck-lift tape? If so, you know that improvement is negligible to null. If you are serious about losing the loose, wrinkled or ropey neck skin, it’s time to consider turkey-neck solutions that only an expert can offer. For the most dramatic results, surgical procedures are usually the best choice. Not ready for surgery? You also have a growing number of exciting non-invasive options for improving turkey neck.
Why does the neck look older?
As with all skin, factors like genetics, extreme weight loss, collagen and elastin breakdown, and sun exposure can affect how your neck ages. However, there are additional factors that can act specifically on the neck to make it look older than the rest of you.
Thin, weak and delicate skin and muscle cover the neck. Year after year, twisting, stretching, and the pull of gravity and any pockets of subcutaneous fat have a cumulative aging effect. Most people notice neck skin beginning to significantly sag and wrinkle around the age of 40. That’s also when underlying platysmal muscles start to detach and loosen, their edges showing through thinning skin as vertical bands from the chin to collarbone.
What you see is turkey neck. You can choose to accept it. You can try to hide it with scarves and turtlenecks. Or you can visit a medical professional for effective treatment, whether surgery or a more conservative approach.
Whittle down the wattle
Is there extra fat hammocking under your chin? Many non-invasive technologies that are effective for carving away a double chin will also help with this type of turkey neck. Your doctor may recommend a highly targeted procedure to reduce neck fat, such as:
- Kybella – This injectable is formulated to eliminate fat specifically under the chin. It uses deoxycholic acid to break down fat cells, so your body can remove them for long-term, natural-looking improvement.
- CoolSculpting – With its special applicator for the neck, the CoolSculpting machine leaves skin unharmed as it passes through to adipose tissue, destroying fat cells with intense cold.
Tighten and flatten neck skin
In many cases, fat is not the primary characteristic of turkey neck. Especially in lean people, skin laxity and neck bands may be the most prominent features. Currently, you have a wide and growing variety of treatment options that are surgery free, including:
- Botox (Dysport, Xeomin) – In the hands of an expert, Botox injections can be effectively used to relax the platysmal bands, softening their appearance.
- Ultherapy – The only cosmetic procedure using ultrasound waves to target facial and neck tissue, it strengthens and tightens skin by stimulating new collagen production.
- Thermage – Also stimulates new collagen production, helping firm and plump up skin, but using radio frequency therapy.
- INTRAcel or Vivace – Like Thermage, INTRAcel and Vivace address skin laxity with radio frequency therapy. However, they do so in combination with microneedling for added reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.
- Firming, non-ablative lasers – Rather than removing skin at the top layers — as ablative lasers do — numerous devices send intense laser light below the surface to help build collagen and remodel skin. One example is the N-Lite Pulsed Dye Laser, which uses low-energy yellow light. Another is Fraxel Restore, a fractional erbium-based laser that takes neck-tightening treatment even deeper into the skin.
Smooth away crepiness
With or without a wattle, there may be some crinkly skin on your neck. Treatments to refine skin texture range from aesthetician peels to deep resurfacing treatments. For an especially crepey neck, your doctor may recommend:
- Prescription retinoids – Topicals like tretinoin or adapalene can trigger skin cell turnover, encourage production of collagen and elastin, and thicken skin below the outermost layer.
- Laser resurfacing – The CO2 laser can be used for the intense ablative treatment of neck wrinkles. It vaporizes damaged surface cells and speeds cell regeneration, helping your skin replace old cells with new, healthy ones. Fraxel Dual and Fraxel Repair lasers work similarly to the CO2 laser, but they map skin and deliver treatment beams only to damaged cells. This makes recovery faster and more comfortable.
The ultimate solution: surgery
If you have resolved to do whatever it takes to optimally rejuvenate your neck, nothing beats surgery. Not only can you eliminate saggy, excess skin, but surgery can force that neck ropiness to lie flat. Surgery is the most direct means of achieving smooth, clean neck contours. Your options include:
- Neck band surgery – Brings together the edges of the platysmal muscles, flattening out their appearance as subcutaneous cords from the chin to collarbone. Because this surgery focuses on just the neck bands, it is commonly performed along with neck liposuction, face lift or a neck lift.
- Neck lift – Removes excess, sagging skin, normally by pulling it upward to an incision behind the ears. A neck lift is commonly performed with a lower face lift, because the neck and lower face share muscle and skin structures. Conveniently, a physician has the ability to perform the two procedures using the same incision.
- Neck liposuction (lipo) – Helps chisel the neck line by surgically extracting extra fat in heard-to-reach pockets under the chin and along the neck.
- Chin implant – Augmenting the chin can often help fill loose skin, reducing a wattle and upper-neck sagging. It’s a fast procedure. It places a custom-shaped implant, fitted to your unique jaw, through a tiny incision hidden under the chin.
- Lower face lift – While this surgery doesn’t focus directly on the neck, it can remove jowling and further contour the chin area. It is frequently carried out in conjunction with a neck lift.
Goodbye turkey neck
Neck aging is complex. It involves myriad contributing factors, interdependencies, and complicated dermal and muscular structures. See a highly skilled, board-certified physician to determine your best course of action against turkey neck. Before you know it, you’ll only be wearing turtlenecks when your neck is cold!