Derm-Approved Ways to Treat Neck Wrinkles and Sagging

First, the bad news: You probably aren’t giving your neck the attention it needs. Because the skin on our neck is thin and sees quite a bit of sun (plus, you know, gravity), it can often show signs of aging sooner than other parts of the body. Now, the good news: There are steps you can take in preventing and addressing neck wrinkles and sagging—a.k.a. “turkey neck,” from skincare to devices to in-office treatments.

What Causes Neck Sagging?

We hate to say it, but you’ve got thin skin (at least on your neck). “The dermis, the layer that contains collagen, is very thin, making it more prone to aging than other parts of the body,” says Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at the Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. A lack of sunscreen application may be to blame, she says. “Cumulative sun exposure over a lifetime has always been the main culprit of premature aging on the neck.”

On top of that, our cell phone addictions aren’t helping the cause. “Between sun exposure and the addition of looking at our phones repeatedly, we are seeing neck changes even earlier,” says Engelman. “With tech neck [wrinkles] we also see tech spots, because cell phones emit radiation shown in mice models to cause oxidative stress to the skin structures. This can also lead to premature dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and other signs of premature aging.”

Is Neck Sagging Reversible?

Like any signs of aging, the long-term goal when reversing sagging is to increase collagen production. Look for products with retinol and peptides as well as hyaluronic acid, which plumps and hydrates skin.

More intensive, in-office procedures are an option too. “Neurotoxins [like Botox] can be used to soften neck banding, and smaller particle hyaluronic fillers can be used for fine lines and wrinkles in order to soften and rejuvenate the neck,” she adds.

Lasers and radiofrequency are a less invasive option. “Fractionated CO2 lasers work beautifully to help make the neck skin look younger, less wrinkled, and tighter,” she says. (Note that patients with acne or very dark skin may not be candidates for this type of treatment.) “Devices like BTL Exilis, which uses radio frequency and ultrasonic technology, have also been shown in studies to help tighten the skin and make it look more youthful.”

Do I Need to Use Different Products on My Neck?

“I often recommend my patients use the same products on their face and neck, especially when they are using retinols or retinoids,” advises Engelman. (And yes, this goes for sunscreen too.)

However, there are also tons of products intended specifically for neck usage. “I like Nectifirm by Revision Skincare and Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Neck and Decollete Firm & Repair Cream. It has antioxidants, retinyl linoleate, and tightening polymers to tighten skin,” she says.

What Can I Do to Prevent Neck Wrinkles?

In addition to sunscreen and skincare, Engelman says it’s all about limiting the range of motion, so you don’t further stretch the skin. “Try to bring your cell phone up towards your face instead of moving your neck to look down at it,” reminds Engelman. “Because neck skin is thin and doesn’t have the healing capacity of other parts of the body, prevention is key.”

Can Exercise Help Prevent Neck Sagging?

Sorry to disappoint. “Truth be told, there aren’t great exercises to prevent wrinkling,” says Engelman. There are, however, some tools (like face rollers or gua sha) and treatments you can try to help your neck fight the good fight against gravity.

This medical-grade silicone pad smooths the neck’s appearance after each use (each pad can be used up to 30 times).

A natural alternative to fillers and retinol, gua sha has a devoted following (and storied Chinese beauty history). It may have a rep for smoothing away fine lines and increasing blood flow to the face, but this tool can be used on the neck too.

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