The Neck of Time: The Best Neck Rejuvenating Treatments
By Chelsea Campbell
We spend plenty of time worrying about keeping our faces looking fresh and youthful, but often the first signs of age happen below the chin. It's very common for people to develop sagginess, redness, discoloration, and wrinkles on their necks, betraying all of the diligence put into slathering one's visage with sunscreen and pricey anti-aging creams. We talked to San Diego dermatologist Dr. Arisa Ortiz to get her advice on how to get our necks looking less "turkey" and more swan-like.
Dr. Ortiz gives us the low-down on how to tackle the signs of age that appear on the neck and contribute to an older appearance, despite how tight and smooth the face may look.
According to Dr. Ortiz, "There are four major problems or concerns that you want to address when rejuvenating the neck:
1) You want to consider sun damage, which we call poikiloderma, which is a reddish discoloration and also has sunspots or a brownish discoloration.
2) You want to address wrinkles or lines, especially those horizontal bands across the neck. This is becoming more common because we're always looking down at our phones and that constant pressure on the neck is creating more lines.
3) You also want to address laxity or looseness of the neck.
4) And segmental fullness, or double chin."
Treating Loose Skin
Dr. Ortiz explains, "The hardest [of these concerns] to treat is probably skin laxity. We have ways that we can non-invasively improve laxity, but it's not going to approach surgery. I like to use radiofrequency devices that help tighten the skin, or some of the newer devices like microneedling RF or microneedling with radiofrequency heat. Those are some nice ways to improve laxity."
For wrinkly, saggy skin, Ortiz says that she prefers microneedling in conjunction with radiofrequency energy because the heat tends to augment the treatment and lead to more dramatic results. The only downside? There is a bit more downtime, ranging from 3-10 days of pain afterward, depending on how aggressive the treatment was. However, the more intense the heat, the more impressive the results are.
Tackling Tech Neck
Neck wrinkles are more common these days due in part to looking down at our smartphones for a large part of the day, contributing to horizontal lines from a bent neck. Dr. Ortiz says that a neurotoxin like Botox or Dysport can be used to relax the muscles and soften the lines. "But," she goes on," I actually prefer to use dermal fillers like hyaluronic acid. It's temporary, it lasts about six months or so, and little drops of filler soften that band [across the neck]. And the result is instant!"
Double Chins, Be Gone!
Dr. Ortiz says that the best way to get rid of a double chin is with an injectable like Kybella or with CoolSculpting. Which one is best suited for you depends on the amount of tissue or fat under the chin, but she prefers Coolsculpting for larger surface areas and likes that it requires no downtime. She also likes the amount of control and fine-tuning that is possible with Kybella injections, so both treatment options offer different but equally impressive results.
How Do I Know Which Type of Tightening is Best for Me?
"There are so many ways to tighten the skin, and they all really do the same thing," says Dr. Ortiz. "Namely, they're just depositing heat to stimulate college remodeling, which tightens the skin." She recognizes that there are a lot of products on the market; it's hard for patients to know which one is best. Her advice is to go to someone that you trust to make sure that you're getting the best treatment. "The technology is changing all the time," Dr. Ortiz continues, "and so it's really difficult for providers to keep up, let alone patients. I think the most important thing is to go to someone who is a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon or an expert in the field, who's going to have more knowledge about the best treatment that fits your needs."
Above all, remember that your neck is an extension of your face and deserves the same care and attention! It is essential to apply sunscreen to the neck and to carry your facial products onto your neck as well.