How to Get Rid of Turkey Neck without Surgery, and why we get it.
When it comes to anti-ageing, or even with the daily application of creams, we tend to neglect the neck. As a result, an ageing neck can easily become the #1 giveaway sign of age – no matter how smooth and wrinkle-free the face.
The neck contributes greatly to the overall appearance of a person, and is commonly exposed and within full view. In youth, the neck is a defined and smooth structure. With age, skin deterioration and loss of elasticity creates lines and sagging areas. The loss of definition in our neck’s anatomical structures also gives way to a indistinct and sagging appearance. The cause of these changes is much more than skin deep. Wrinkles on the neck are just one of many signs of an aged neck.
Prevention of Turkey Neck and Neck Wrinkles
Prevention is as, if not more, important than treatment. The first mistake made is not treating the neck the same as the face. Our necks are exposed to all the same elements of nature as our faces, yet are often forgotten when it comes to creams and serums.
Sunscreen should be worn daily with a minimum protection of factor 15, and factor 30 if exposed to sun. When using skin-care products, apply them to your neck as well as your face.
Women who like to exercise or lift weights at the gym also often make the mistake of “working out” their platysma muscles at the same time. When lifting weights at the gym, do it in front of a mirror so you can spot when you’re accidentally tensing your neck muscles. Relax and correct your posture before continuing.
Treatment of Neck Wrinkles and Turkey Neck
Luckily, when signs of ageing have advanced beyond protection and SPF, there are still numerous treatments available to reverse a ‘turkey neck’.
Contrary to popular belief, surgery is not the only treatment for turkey neck. Nowadays, numerous highly effective and affordable treatments exist. Most with no downtime or risk whatsoever.
Nefertiti Neck Lift (Botox to the Neck and Platysma)
The quickest and easiest treatment is Botox (Botulinum Toxin) injections to the neck bands. These cause them to relax, and restore a more youthful contour within two weeks. This treatment has the added benefit of reducing the downward pull under the jaw, giving the neckline area a lifted appearance. Botox injections are not permanent, and last approximately 6 months before a repeat treatment is needed. The treatment is sometime called the ‘Nefertiti Neck Lift’, named after the Egyptian queen’s fabled beautiful neck contours. Read more about this botox treatment here.
Neck Anti-Wrinkle Skin Care
Just because neck wrinkles are present, doesn’t mean nothing can be done anymore about the skin condition. The skin on our neck is still just that – skin. Treatments that are effective on the face will also be effective in the neck area.
Retinol creams and serums are widely proven to be effective in the treatment of wrinkles, skin texture, sun damage, photoaging, and pigmentation. Regular nightly application of retinol to the neck area will result in a noticeable reduction in wrinkles and skin tone. Read our guide to Retinol creams here.
Other effective skin treatments that can and should be used on the neck include Vitamin C serums. But beware – numerous high-street skin products are sold claiming to contain Vitamin C when in fact they contain no active vitamin C at all. Read the guide to Vitamin C Serums here.
Gentle skin peels or chemical peels can also be applied to the neck area with the same results as to the face. As with the face, it is important to remember to patch test new peels and products.
What Causes Turkey Neck?
To better understand this ageing process, we have to consider the dynamic changes in the neck anatomy that contribute to the appearance of an aged wrinkled neck.
The skin on our necks take on a roughened appearance as we age, due to progressive cellular deterioration of skin texture, sun-damage, and loss of elasticity. Loss of collagen and elastin within the skin leads to irreversible sagging of the skin. The general causes of wrinkles in the neck are the same as anywhere in the face or body. What’s unique to the neck is the interesting change in underlying anatomy.
Losing the Jawline (Inferior Mandibular Margin)
A youthful neck boasts a sharp jawline, with a smooth contour running from the angle of the jaw (mandibular angle) to the chin (mentum). Jowling is a phenomenon of ageing where increase in the jowl fat and loss of skin elasticity lead to sagging and the typical jowl formation. Jowls can be exaggerated by hypertonic action of neck muscles (platysma) pulling between the jaw and lower neck. Furthermore, ageing is also associated with loss of bone on either side of the chin, worsening the appearance of any existing jowls.
The Inverted L
When comparing a youthful neck to that of an elderly neck in profile, there is often a noticeable blunting of the angle between the bottom of the chin and the bottom of the neck. A youthful neck is characterised by a sharp “inverted L” when drawing a line from the chin down the neck. Saggy skin is not the only contributor to this rounded appearance – loss of neck height with age also decreases the distance between chin and collarbones.
It is often suggested that the ‘ideal’ angle of a female neck was between 90-120 degrees. A wider angle would give the illusion of a double chin.
A visible front border of the most prominent neck muscles (sternocleidomastoid) also contributes to a youthful neck. These strong neck muscles run from behind the ear to the head of the collarbones (clavicles). Though in a key study this was found to be the least important visual aspect of a youthful neck.
Another major muscle in the neck that contributes to ageing are the wide bands that cover the neck to our collarbones known as the platysma. These are easily noticeable when you tense your neck muscles or when lifting a heavy weight. This is the biggest contributor to what is often referred to as a “turkey neck”. Platysmal bands tend to become more obvious as we age, leading to the turkey neck appearance even at rest.