Is your face working hard to keep your true age a secret, but your neck is giving it away? While clothing can go a long way towards covering up the problem, very few people can pull off wearing a turtleneck or a scarf every day of the year. The good news is there are a range of options available to tighten, lift and smooth away the wrinkles, sagging skin and jowls that plague an aging neck.
An aging neck is a common problem, due in large part to damaging UV rays. Many women make a conscious effort to wear makeup with SPF on their faces, without ever realizing they are leaving their necks vulnerable to sun damage. “It starts from a young age where they get too much sun exposure on one hand, and on the other hand they don’t use enough sun block to protect the neck and the decollete,” explains New York City board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stafford Broumand. “The skin is very delicate, and gets sun damaged. You get the wrinkling, the excess skin and the sagging.”
Not everyone who shows signs of an aging neck is ready to undergo surgery to fix the problem. Surgeons take into account the amount of sun damage and sagging as well as the patient’s age before coming up with a plan that will work for them for years to come. “They might be too young for surgery, but we do have non-surgical options for that,” explains Broumand. Here he breaks down some of his go-to methods for rejuvenating an aging neck.
Methods for Rejuvenating an Aging Neck:
Tighten Loose Skin with Ultrasound
When the skin of the neck is in the early stages of beginning to look and feel less firm, Dr. Broumand often recommends an in-office treatment called Ultherapy. “Ultherapy is an ultrasound treatment that tightens the skin,” he explains. As the skin tightens following treatment, lines and wrinkles become less noticeable and sagging is visibly reduced.
If you don’t have time for the downtime associated with surgery and you aren’t looking for a dramatic change, Ultherapy is a great option to turn back the clock while flying under the surgery-detection radar.
Remove Fat For a Smooth Jawline
“Sometimes with the neck, fat is the issue,” explains Broumand. As the body ages, it begins to store fat in different places, including under the chin. To make matters worse, this is an area that often does not respond to diet or exercise. One way to regain a youthful neck and jawline is to remove the fat deposits.
A traditional approach to fat removal in the neck is liposuction, which Dr. Broumand does for his patients in-office under local anesthesia. “They have the procedure done and afterwards we’re chatting with them,” he shares. “They walk out with a little head wrap for a long weekend.”
A treatment option that has only become available in recent years is an injectable called Kybella that dissolves fat under the chin. Kybella offers patients an even removal of fat with less of the swelling and bumpiness that is often associated with traditional liposuction. Unlike liposuction, however, Kybella may require a series of treatments and the results are not immediate.
Combining Fat Removal & Skin Tightening
In many cases, the best approach to rejuvenating the neck non-surgically is to combine more than one non-surgical procedure. By first removing excess fat and then tightening the skin, years can be erased from an aging neck without ever undergoing surgery. A combination of Kybella and Ultherapy has become a popular anti-aging treatment plan for women in their thirties, forties and fifties. While results are great, non-surgical procedures require the right patient; they don’t work for everyone.
Surgery: The Gold Standard
When the aging of the neck has gone beyond mild or moderate, surgery is still the best option. Surgical lifting of the neck, jawline and jowls is called many different things by many different surgeons. “People ask me, ‘Am I having a neck lift, or am I having a facelift, or am I having a jawline lift?’ The reality is, it is all marketing. We can call it whatever they want to call it,” says Broumand.
Through carefully placed incisions, he removes excess skin and redistributes the remaining skin, creating a tight, youthful neckline. The result is no more jowls, wrinkles or sagging skin. “It has an incredible patient satisfaction rate,” concludes Broumand. “When they have a surgical treatment we can get an incredible outcome where they come back two weeks later and say, ‘Why did I wait so long?'”