Feel Great About Your Neck

Isn’t it weird to see a woman of a certain age with the smoothest face but with the most wrinkly neck? It’s because for years we’ve been taught to focus our care on our face. What we didn’t know and what we’ve just recently discovered is that what works for the face, works for the neck too.

How to treat dark splotches?

Blotchiness is caused by exposure to UV rays. UV exposure overstimulates pigment-producing cells.

To treat dark splotches in the neck, some people reach for their bleaching cream. However, it is advisable to choose one that contains kojic acid, or mushroom or licorice extract. Results don’t happen overnight though. If you are using a product made with hydroquinone, use it cautiously.

Products containing hydroquinone can be irritating to the skin. Heidi Waldorf, MD director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine says "This area is drier and more sensitive because it contains fewer lubricating oil glands."

Anti-aging creams with retinol or alpha hydroxy acid for base help bring the lightening agents deeper into the skin, thus making them more effective. To reduce the irritation, use them only every third night and gradually work your way up to nightly application.

To protect your neck from UV exposure, use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 daily. For the best protection, use a sunscreen with avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Helioplex or Mexoryl.

How to treat wrinkles?

Aging breaks down collagen fibers that keep the skin young and firm.

Most skin care products, even those which contain retinol and peptides, can build collagen and smooth skin. They are even known to reduce tree-ring lines.

Ronald Moy, MD, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA says in-office options are the golden standard. One of these options is fractioned resurfacing. It uses lasers such as Fraxel and Affirm which stimulate cell turnover and the fresh collagen production by making thousands of microscopic ‘wounds’ over 20% of your skin.

The redness brought about by these microscopic wounds subsides within days. Fine lines are reportedly reduced by up to 50% after about 6 months of treatments at $500 each.

How to treat turkey wattle?

That’s the fleshy flap of extra skin under the neck that is caused by excess fat, loose skin, and weak muscles.

Yael Halaas, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in New York City suggests liposuction under a local anesthesia is a quick fix. In this procedure, small incisions are made behind the ears or below the chin. The excess fat is then vacuumed out using small suction cubes. The procedure takes only about half an hour, and cost around $2,500. Bruising and swelling can last up to two weeks.

Another option is ultrasound-assisted lipo. It uses sound waves to liquefy fat before it is suctioned out. After either procedure, you will need to wear a neck sling for about two weeks so the skin can re-drape properly.

For excess skin, you may need to have a neck lift to regain firmness. During a neck lift, incisions will be made behind the ears or under the chin. The excess skin is then trimmed, lifted and sutured in place. The procedure takes a bout 1-2 hours and costs about $1,000.

How to treat banding?

These cord-like things appear when the thin sheet of muscle called the platysma which covers the neck begins to stretch out of shape.

One treatment option is Botox. Botox directly injected into the platysma temporarily smooths the ‘cords’ by relaxing the muscle. Botox injections cost about $500 each and approximately up to 4 months.

Another option is surgery. During a platysmaplasty, the muscle is tightened and secured through a small incision under the chin. Post-operation swelling and bruising are common and usually subside after a week or so. Platysmaplasty is a more permanent option. However, it will set you back by $4,000.