What causes sagging neck, droopy neck skin, or neck cording? And how can you fix it?
While aging, thinning skin, gravity, sun exposure are to blame in part, 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 is essential. The problem is this muscle starts to sags 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 those vertical bands that run up and down the front center of the neck - sometimes referred to as “turkey neck” or neck cording.1
This combined with the reduction in collagen and elastin (thinner skin) causes the look of a sagging neck.
Can you fix or firm-up a sagging neck? That depends on how bad or damaged your neck skin and muscles are.
If you have a fair degree of skin laxity, muscle atrophy, and/or excess neck fat surgery is probably the only option, as this situation will require multiple procedures to reduce fat, tighten muscles and trim excess skin.
However, for those with mild skin laxity, good muscle tone, and good health, there are some in-office procedures and at-home treatments that might help improve the look of a sagging neck.
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. 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 however. Besides being evaluated by a physician, you can get an idea if this is right for you by taking this test.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser Skin Resurfacing - like Fractionated CO2 lasers offer much better results than RF, but can be painful as it removes some outer layers of the skin. This treatment will require some local anesthesia and there is some downtime where you feel like you've had a bad sunburn for a day or two.
There are many options when it comes to laser skin resurfacing to tighten sagging neck skin. Here are just a few of them:
Your doctor will help you decide based on your individual need and skin condition.
Again, depending on the individual situation and the degree of damage and aging of the neck skin and muscles, some at-home 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 results.
This treatment 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
Exercise may help keep neck muscles from becoming stiff and brittle. It also keeps the muscles from atrophying which helps keep the skin (draped across the neck muscle) looking smoother too.
Plus, your face and skin will have a more refreshed youthful appearance. Here is more on why we age better with facial exercises.
Massage Neck Skin
The skin loves to be touched and massaged, contrary to what most people think. Massaging the skin adds to your anti-aging efforts. 3
Massaging benefits include:
Here is a good example of a neck massaging technique that helps reduce neck wrinkles and firms up the muscles too.
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.
• 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 the skin hydrate it with a nutrient rich cream or oil. The neck has very little oil glands and applying a good skin cream can really make a temporary difference in how the neck looks.
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.
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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