This time of year, those darn turkeys always remind us of our own aging necks. The neck ages more rapidly than other areas of the body because the skin on the neck is thinner, delicate, and more sensitive, which means it is quickly affected by sun exposure, smoking, and simply time. Ultraviolet light not only causes red and brown discoloration of the neck, but it also breaks down collagen and elastin, which results in changes in texture, laxity, and wrinkles. Sometimes, it merely comes down to genetics, and you must thank your ancestors for the double chin you have inherited.
Surgery is frequently the most effective option for the aging neck. This option, however, carries a higher risk of side effects and requires more downtime. There are also many non-surgical options, such as BBL at our Naples and Marco Island offices, that men and women can benefit from if started at the appropriate time. Today, I will try to quickly run through some of the best non-surgical options.
Of course, as I always say, the first step is daily sun protection to prevent further damage. There is no point reading further if you do not want to follow this easy step. There are topical creams that can improve the texture and tone of the neck as well. Peptide-based creams are useful to smooth lines and improve the firmness and texture of the skin. Retinol and retinoids can be used cautiously on the neck to stimulate collagen and elastin. I recommend using a peptide cream with sunscreen in the morning and a peptide cream with retinol at bedtime.
If you are bothered by the red/brown discoloration of your neck (this condition is called poikiloderma), lasers can be used to even the skin tone. Lasers must be used carefully on the neck since the skin is so delicate. For this reason, multiple treatments are usually needed. There are many different lasers that can be utilized, depending on your concern. My favorite light treatments for the neck are the pulsed dye lasers, which are great for removing redness; broadband light (BBL™), which is great for removing red and brown discoloration; and the Halo™ fractional laser, which is great for removing brown discoloration and improving fine lines. Additionally, there are also skin-tightening devices that can result in a modest tightening of the skin. It is best to have a consult to see what option is best for you.
Injectables can also be very useful for the neck in a variety of ways. Deoxycholate acid (Kybella®) is the first and only FDA-approved product to treat fat under the chin. It is usually a series of treatments to achieve reduction of the fat causing a double chin. Botulinum toxin can be used to soften longitudinal neck bands. This is a quick, easy, no-downtime treatment, but it needs to be repeated every three to six months. Finally, fillers can be injected into the neck to smooth horizontal wrinkles.
In conclusion, there are many non-surgical treatment options for the neck, many with little to no downtime. It is important to consult a professional to see if these options would be right for you. Come see me if you want to lose your turkey neck before Thanksgiving!
For more advice on neck procedures and treatments, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Anne Marie Tremaine or another member of the team, contact Skin Wellness Physicians. Call (239) 732-0044 or send a message online.