Weakened muscles and sagging skin under your chin, otherwise known as “turkey neck,” is one of the most common complaints I hear from patients. The neck is an area that often changes significantly with age — starting as early as your 40s. Despite weight loss and good skincare routines, many men and women are unhappy with the appearance of their neck and are determined to find a way to improve it.
Treating aesthetic neck issues
Aging in the neck takes on multiple forms, and each may require different treatments. Every person is anatomically and texturally unique, so what works for your friend may not work for you. It’s important to have an in-depth discussion with a reputable cosmetic surgeon to determine what solution is right for you.
Prevention is key
Prevention is the best cure. Good skincare in your 20s and 30s can certainly impact the appearance of your neck in later years. Consistently using sunscreen, avoiding tanning and regularly using Retin-A (tretinoin) on your face and neck can increase collagen production, tighten skin and remove sun damage.
There are several options available to treat excess fat under your chin, including:
Liposuction. Fat is removed through a small incision just large enough to accommodate an instrument narrower than a pencil. With the fat cells removed, your skin bounces back to make up for the lack of tissue. This works best in your 30s and 40s because in your 40s, your skin begins to lose its elasticity.
Nonsurgical Injections. Specific chemical agents, such as Kybella© can be injected to remove fat cells. Not everyone is a good candidate for this treatment though. The only way to know if this option is right for you is to talk to a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who can advise you based on your age, skin type and specific anatomic considerations.
Loose skin is the most challenging aspect of rejuvenation. For decades, we’ve been searching for the ideal tool for nonsurgical skin tightening — but so far nothing matches the long-term results of surgery.
Neck lift. Surgical neck lifting (or face lifting) is the most predictable, safest and longest-studied form of neck rejuvenation. If you’re older than 45 and you have loose skin, excess fat, or looseness or prominence of the bands of muscles in your neck, a neck lift may be the right option for you.
Through a small incision just beneath your chin, liposuction can be performed to lift the skin and contour the area under your neck. Then, the skin of your neck is lifted through incisions behind your ears and just into your hairline, and the underlying muscle is tightened. This allows the skin to be re-draped and excess skin to be removed.
The goal of plastic surgery is to turn the clock back a few years, not stop it. After a neck lift, you’ll continue to age and regain some looseness over the course of three to five years. However, you’ll always look better after having undergone a lift than if you had not.
Many people overlook the skin texture of their neck. Sun damage accumulated over years can be treated with methods such as peels and light laser treatments. These can be performed in a medical spa under the guidance of a medical aesthetician or doctor. They require little downtime and are less expensive than other treatments, especially when started early.
If you have a lot of sun damage, a heavier laser treatment may be needed to kick-start significant improvement. Fractionated CO2 laser treatments can be performed under local anesthetic to improve sun damage, stimulate collagen and smooth (maybe even somewhat tighten) your skin over time. It will not give the same tightening results as surgery, but in cases where sun damage is the true culprit, it can make a significant improvement.
Emory Aesthetic Center
If you’re ready to turn back time and improve the appearance of your neck, come talk to the expert cosmetic surgeons at Emory Aesthetic Center.