What causes sagging neck, droopy neck skin, turkey neck or neck cording - and how can you fix it without expensive surgical procedures?
While thinning skin, gravity, sun exposure (along with tech neck) are in part to blame for the signs of aging, the main culprit for sagging neck skin is the platysma muscle. The platysma muscle gets shorter, stiffer and weaker as we age.
This major muscle in the neck is a power horse when it comes to lifting/firming the neck area and the whole lower part of your face.
The platysma muscle is a flat, broad muscle that stretches across the entire upper chest, shoulders, collarbone, up the sides of the neck, under the chin and wraps across the lower whole jaw bone. This muscle is also used to move the mouth and lips up and down and sideways.
In terms of keeping your lower face lifted – the platysma muscles are essential. The problem is this muscle starts to sag pretty early in life because it is a “floating muscle.”
A floating muscle means it's not attached to facial ligaments or bone. And, to make things worse, the platysma is naturally pulled forward by its own contraction.
Also, with age, the platysma bands become stiff and fibrous and begin to separate in the center of the neck. This separation contributes to vertical neck bands (sometimes referred to as turkey neck, turkey wattle, or neck cording.1), crepey skin, horizontal lines, and premature aging of the whole neck area. All of this combined with the reduction in collagen and elastin (thinner skin) causes the look of a sagging neck.
Can a non-invasive treatment fix or firm-up a sagging neck? That depends on how on much loose skin you have or how badly damaged your neck skin and muscles are.
If you have a fair degree of skin laxity, muscle atrophy, and/or excess neck fat cosmetic surgery is probably the only option, as this situation will require multiple procedures to reduce stubborn fat, tighten muscles and trim excess skin. You would need to consult a plastic surgeon on which medical procedures will offer the best results.
But, for those with mild skin laxity, good muscle tone, and good health, there are some in-office procedures and at-home treatment options that might help improve the look of a sagging neck and reduce the visible signs of aging.
Nefertiti Neck Lift
A Nefertiti Lift is where small amounts of Botox are injected directly into the muscle bands in your neck. These muscle bands are responsible for pulling your whole lower face/jawline downward. And paralyzing these muscles causes them to relax and lift up-ward giving your face the appearance of a slight lower face lift.2
Not everyone is a candidate for this treatment, especially if you have excess loose neck skin. Besides being evaluated by a physician, you can get an idea if this is right for you by taking this test.
Look in the mirror and say the word "Eeeeeee" very strongly. If you see bands of muscles protruding from the middle and sides of your neck, chance are this procedure might be right for you.
Ultherapy - best for saggy skin
Unlike radio frequency (RF) and laser treatments which focus on improving the outer texture of thin skin, Ultherapy uses sound waves to find and deliver a focused beam of sound to a certain level in the skin to prompt the body to develop more improving collagen production and elastic tissue around the area.This results in a noticeable lifting of the skin... smoothing out of creases, wrinkles and folds on the neck.
While Ultherapy is somewhat painful, no general anesthesia is needed aside from some topical numbing cream. Recovery time is usually a few day general side effects include: bruising, swelling, redness and sunburn like pain and sensitive skin .
There are other ultrasound energy based options when it comes to laser treatment to tighten sagging neck skin. Here are just a few of them:
The above treatments would be best way to address severe saggy neck skin. Your doctor can help you decide which would be most effective treatment for your individual case. Note: None of these office procedures will do much for a double chin.
Again, depending on the individual situation and the degree of damage and aging of the neck skin and muscles, some at-home, neck rejuvenation treatments might help improve the look of your neck.
Today we have some revolutionary at-home skin rejuvenating skin equipment that uses cutting edge technology that’s’ worth looking into.
Radiofrequency (RF) Treatments
Radiofrequency machines can offer some tightening effects for sagging neck skin. RF treatments use radiofrequency energy to heat the deeper layers of the skin, which helps stimulate collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. Heating the skin cells causes them to pull closer together, thus tightening the skin over time.
It takes several treatments before results are seen (about 4-6 weeks). Then repeated maintenance treatments are required every few months to maintain best results.
This skincare routine delivers low levels of electrical stimulation, which helps stimulate collagen and elastin production. Some say they can see results right away, and results may last about 7-10 days. But, for long-lasting results, you’ll continue treatments on a weekly basis.
Exercise Neck Muscles
Neck and facial exercises can help neck muscles from becoming stiff and brittle. Exercises also keep the muscles and connective tissues from atrophying which helps prevent loose skin (because skin is draped across a firmer, built neck muscle) giving it a smoother look and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
Plus, your face and skin will have a more refreshed youthful appearance. Here is more on why we age better when we exercise our facial muscles. See: Why we age better when we exercise our facial muscles.
Massage Neck Skin
The skin loves to be touched and massaged, contrary to what most people think, it increase skin elasticity and improves blood circulation, tone and firmness. Massaging the skin adds to your anti-aging efforts and helps reduce visible signs of aging. 3
Massaging benefits include:
Here is a good neck massaging technique that helps reduce neck wrinkles and firms up the muscles too. I practice this a few times a week along with a face/neck exercise. And trust me, it's worth the extra effort! Just look at my before and after pictures. You'll see a reduction in horizontal neck lines and general visible signs of aging.
Neck Ring Eraser
Copyright 2012 Carolyn’s Facial Fitness, LLC™
This exercise alone is great for the neck skin, but when added to the completed CFF workout program the results are even better. Carolyn is over 73 yrs old in the pictures below. Take a good look at the skin of her neck. Notice the lack of signs of an aging neck? Her skin texture is that of someone 20 yrs younger.
• Extend your neck up toward ceiling, leading with your chin and stretch with your bottom jaw.
• Make a loose fist with both your hands. Your thumbs stick out away from your hands.
• Place the fingernail sides of both hands against the left side of your jawline and underneath the left ear area. Your hands are side-by-side.
You have now performed 1 slide/round.
Make 10 slides, moving left to the right and 10 slides right to left for a total of 20 slides. Do this about 3 times a week.
Note: If you have issues with your hands like arthritis, you can use a massaging tool like the Kansa wand to help tone and massage the neck skin and muscles.
Hydrate and Feed Your Skin
To help further improve the quality and look of your delicate skin hydrate it with a nutrient rich cream or oil. The neck has fewer oil glands and applying a good skin cream can really make a temporary difference and give your neck tighter skin tone with a more youthful look.
I use CFF Moisture Plus on my face and neck. It's organic and very rich and little goes a long way.
Short of surgery, nothing will make your neck look like it did when you were 20. But the good news is, it’s fixable to a degree.
1. A comprehensive Face and Neck exercise program is a natural and effective solution to help firm the neck area - and the rest of the face.
2. Massage and stretching the skin and muscles keeps them in shape.
3. Hydrating the skin makes it look smoother and softer - temporarily, while feeding it with a good anti-aging cream may help slow the aging process.
How do I know these tips work?
Because I've been doing them for a while. You can see my before and after neck firming pictures here. You can also see how I reduced age spots (brown spots) using pure vitamin C cream that I mix up at home.
Final sagging neck skin care routine tip
As always, don't forget to apply sunscreen all over the front of the neck and chest to protect against sun damage and dark spots.
What have you tried to fix a sagging neck? Did it work well? Feel free to share your experience with us.
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