We often neglect our neck, and yet, it is one of the most common and visible areas on our body that betrays our age! In fact, I frequently see patients giving their well-maintained faces plenty of love, juxtaposing the lack of attention for their aging neck. If you look into the mirror today and start noticing double chin, ‘turkey neck’ or saggy and wrinkled skin, deep lines, or poorly defined jawline, then this article is for you.
When you start seeing the first signs of ageing! Ageing, coupled with the accumulation of sun and environmental damage over the years, will cause a gradual loss of skin collagen from the late 20s. Most ladies however, will only start noticing these changes in their mid to late 30s. Unfortunately, Asians can also be more prone to sagging due to our naturally thicker skin, and face/neck structure.
In addition to aging, excessive weight gain can also contribute to jowling and a loss of neck definition. During this period of Covid-19 where most of us are working from home, some (me included, *sigh) find it challenging to lose weight despite our best efforts at exercising. Alas, the weighing scale does not lie and the truth hurts! On the other hand, those who are leaner or with thinner skin could be more prone to turkey neck or visible neck banding.
Furthermore, medical conditions as well as unhealthy lifestyle, habits and diets can also contribute to a less-than-perfect neck.
Neck concerns can be broadly classified into the different layers below:
Your doctor will assess you based on multiple key areas, including the:
If your condition is mild or you are not ready for plastic surgery just yet, there are various effective and non-invasive neck rejuvenation treatments for you to consider.
Q-Switched or picosecond lasers can be used to brighten the skin tone on your neck, reduce pigmentation and stimulate the production of skin collagen. There is no downtime, but multiple sessions are usually required for best results.
Skin tags and small growths can be safely removed with an ablative laser such as Erbium-YAG laser or CO2 lasers. Overall skin resurfacing can also be done with these lasers on the neck but at a lower setting compared to the face.
Radiofrequency treatments such as Exilis, Thermage and Endymed are efficacious in stimulating the production of skin collagen, improving skin quality and tightening the neck jawline. Fats under the chin is also thinned and contoured. HIFU, which uses ultrasound, is another effective anti-aging treatment for lifting and contouring.
Rejuran and skin boosters can be used on the neck to plump up the skin with intense hydration and promote the natural healing and repair of the skin. See my earlier article where I discuss the benefits in greater details!
Dysport Dermalift, also called by a variety of names such as microbotox and Nefertiti lift, can be used to stimulate fibroblasts in the skin which encourages the production of collagen. Microinjections of diluted Dysport helps to relax the platysma muscle, thus pulling up the facial muscles. You can expect tighter skin, smaller pores, an improvement in your neck’s bands and a more defined profile!
Fillers can be used judiciously to improve horizontal neck lines, as well as enhancing the overall quality of the skin. Significant improvement can also be seen when fillers are used in the chin and/or jawline when appropriate. The choice of filler is best determined after an examination and discussion with your doctor.
Threadlifts are excellent for tightening and lifting the skin and muscles to improve the profile of the neck. For a suitable candidate, satisfactory results can be achieved without the need for surgery.
Kybella injections are indicated for dissolving the submental (under the chin) fat. However, it has a long downtime which most people are not able to accept. Other non-invasive alternatives include Cryolipolysis (aka fat freeze), Radiofrequency (e.g. Exilis), Ultrasound (e.g. HIFU), and other devices for localised fat reduction. However, multiple sessions are usually required or combined with other treatments to effectively address skin laxity.
In people with excessive skin and pronounced sagging, surgery will often yield the most dramatic and longer-lasting results. However, surgery comes with inherent risks and longer downtime. There will also be post-surgical scars at the submental, neck, under the ear or hairline. Some of these surgical procedures include liposuction, neck lift (many variations), platysmaplasty, and myotomy. It is important to speak with a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon if you are considering this route.
In summary, there are many non-invasive treatments for neck rejuvenation which are extremely safe, with little to no downtime. However, everyone is born unique, and not everyone is suitable for the same set of treatments. I customise every patient’s program after careful examination and consultation, often combining a number of treatments with subsequent maintenance sessions to yield excellent results. Please speak to your certified doctor to find out more.
Written by Dr. Clement Leong,
MBBS, BMedSci, MRCS
Disclaimer: The material contained in this is for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for doctor's advice, diagnosis, or treatment.