Tightening Neck Skin without Surgery

While we can have many changes that occur in the face with age, sagging neck problem could also be one of the most bothersome things. Surgery is probably the most powerful, quick way for tightening neck skin.  But there are also a number of treatments and remedies without surgery which some could be effective enough to help deal with the problem.

What causes sagging neck?

Like the skin of your face, your neck skin is also vulnerable to signs of aging. The most common ones probably are turkey neck and crepey skin.

As the name suggests, turkey neck is a condition in which you have loose and wobbly skin under the chin that resembles the turkey’s wattle. Crepey skin looks like the elbows, making your neck skin become rough and crinkly. Both neck skin problems are common as we age.

Sagging neck occurs for various reasons, these include:

Poor skin elasticity

Naturally, your body has ability to rejuvenate and repair. But this ability will decrease with age. The same goes for your skin. Collagen, an important component to keep the skin healthy and elastic, is also affected by the ravages of time.

As you age, your skin collagen production decreases. Collagen is also more vulnerable to breakdown caused by many factors (e.g. poor diet, free radicals, or UV rays).

Collagen provides structure and foothold for the tissue on top of the dermis (the skin middle layer). Without enough collagen, your skin is relatively easier to sag and wrinkle.

Weakened muscles

The muscles are located under the body fat, they lie underneath the skin. But do they affect your skin? When you lose a massive amount of weight, you also take away the mass that have stretched your skin, resulting in a sagging shell. Here muscle growth is necessary to help fill in loose skin so it is a little less apparent and appears tighter.

The same goes for neck muscles. They are important to give support to the neck and its function. The neck skin relies on them. If they get weakened, they’re less able to support the neck – either the skin over top of them. This may cause the skin to sag more easily.

Fat and bone

More fats accumulated along the neck and under the chin will make sagging skin more likely. This excess fat drives the skin to stretch more, and over time this causes loose skin that appears the turkey’s wattle.

Certain bone positions of your neck structure may also factor into sagging skin. Some may make rounded neck more likely, causing the skin more susceptible to the looseness due to gravity.

Tightening neck skin without surgery

Sagging skin on the neck is a common consequence of aging, so you’re not alone. Even with all factors mentioned earlier, there are ways to help deal with the problem.

Treatment is dependent on the severity of the sagging. Non-surgical procedures are probably effective enough if the loose skin of your neck is mild. Surgery is recommended for very loose skin.

Several treatment options without surgery for tightening neck skin are available. The common ones are as follows.

Skin-tightening creams and lotions

These products are quite overwhelming out there. Many are offered with such promising claims that we have to try them. But many times the results we see from a skin-tightening lotion /cream will be subtle at best. Even some are probably useless — you will not see any improvement.

If they provide immediate results, this is probably associated with their moisturizing ingredients. Moisturizer can plump up the skin, making a few signs of aging less noticeable – and this is temporary. So you need to continuously use the product to gain the benefits optimally.

The penetration to the skin is usually not deeply enough to treat sagging skin. But it’s OK to use skin-tightening products as long as you don’t experience any negative reaction since it’s also not possible for them to carry improvements especially if they contain potent anti-aging skin ingredients (e.g. retinoid).

Radiofrequency therapy

When it comes to tightening skin with no scars, and zero downtime — radiofrequency is probably one of popular choices. Radiofrequency therapy tightens the skin without taking much of your time for surgery and recovery. It has been used in skin tightening therapy since 2001 [1]. It uses a type of energy from electromagnetic spectrum that is safe enough to be transmitted to the skin. As with most form of energy, it has the capacity to release heat.

There are several types of radiofrequency therapy to choose from. But in general, all work by heating the deeper layers of the skin to help stimulate collagen and elastin production, promoting skin cell turnover and youthful-looking.

#Ultherapy

It is a non-invasive, FDA-cleared procedure. It doesn’t cause traces or scabs that it was there. With appropriate setting of an ultrasound unit, it transmits focused energy to the deeper layers of the skin in order to trigger a natural response of the skin and result in collagen growth.

The downside, still it is not completely free of pain (especially quite painful as the first time). And it takes months to see the result. Many people say they notice improvement after 6 months of the therapy. Also, you may need to do it several times for optimal result.

#Thermage therapy

This radiofrequency therapy uses a hand held device applied to the skin. The device releases the radiofrequency energy penetrating to the skin’s deeper layers. This affects the skin tissues, so does the existing collagen. As a result, the collagen is stimulated to become more cohesive. Also, the production of new collagen increases.

Each session of the therapy typically lasts for about 45-90 minutes. And there is no down time, you can return to your normal activities afterwards. But it’s more recommended for smaller body areas. If you have larger area of sagging skin on the neck, Exilis would be better!

# Exilis

This FDA approved radiofrequency procedure targets fat cells to help stimulate and strengthen the collagen. It releases thermal energy gradually, that’s why it works for lager body areas. Also, it’s relatively more affordable than Thermage therapy.

As with most radiofrequency therapies, there is also no downtime. You should be able to return to all your activities after the procedure.

Which is the best one? This depends on your situation. Several factors are probably necessary to take into consideration. Consult an experience doctor for more guidance – always choose a qualified, experience provider for best results!

Radiofrequency therapies are probably your best bet if you’re looking for tightening skin without surgery and downtime. But every popular superstar has a bunch of haters, the same goes for radiofrequency therapies. A few drawbacks include;

  1. The procedure is not completely painless, even some could be quite painful.
  2. Some may also increase the risk of damage to the underlying fatty tissue.
  3. Vision problems. That’s why you need to wear appropriate goggles during therapy!

When the procedure is performed properly, there should be nothing to worry. If side effects do occur, they are typically short-lived. Results may last for years (probably 2-3 years or more), and you may gain the benefits most from more than 1 treatment.

Other non-surgical skin resurfacing therapies

Many people are looking for treatment that won’t cause a puncture wound or incision. The demand for skin-tightening treatments that leave the skin intact (without causing raw skin afterward) continues to grow. If you’re not a fan of radiofrequency therapy, here are a few alternative choices.

#Lasers

As the name suggests, this treatment uses lasers (highly concentrated ‘single wavelength’ beams of light energy). It may improve the texture, tone, and appearance of your skin. There are two categories; ablative and non-ablative lasers.

Ablative lasers are designed to be powerful enough to remove outer layers of your skin and stimulate new skin, depending on the wavelength of the light. Non-ablative lasers won’t break the outer layers of the skin, but they heat up the skin’s inner layers to stimulate new collagen growth. Non-ablative procedure works more gradually.

More than one treatment is probably required to acquire results. The improvements take weeks or months to appear, they won’t show up overnight. Depending on the kind of laser resurfacing procedure, it may require some downtime.

#Intense pulsed-light (IPL) therapy

This treatment is marketed under several different names (e.g. photo-rejuvenation and broad band light). Although each platform may have different specifications, all rely on a broad-wavelength IPL technology. The skill of your provide also have a role to the result of your therapy.

Like laser resurfacing procedure, IPL therapy uses light to treat signs of aging skin but it uses a wide spectrum of light wavelengths. IPL doesn’t remove outer layers of the skin, it is non-ablative procedure.

It tightens skin in two ways. First, it treats unnecessary excessive pigment of the skin to carry a more even complexion. And it boosts collagen production.

#Chemical peels

In this procedure, a chemical solution is applied on the skin and left for a certain period of time to peel the outer layers of the skin. It’s usually performed by a specially trained aesthetician. The treated areas will gradually peel away over the days following treatment.

There are several chemical peels to choose from. In general, it’s classified into 3 categories; light, medium, and deep. Which one to choose is dependent on the quantity of skin layers you need to remove! What specific tissues you address and your skin type also should be taken into consideration.

#Mechanical exfoliation

In this therapy, an instrument (mechanical exfoliation) is used to remove visible skin damage by sloughing off the outer layers of your skin. Microdermabrasion is probably the most popular one for such option.

Microdermabrasion uses a very fine mist of abrasive particles or a very tipped mechanical exfoliation. It is a relative gentle procedure for tightening neck skin. It may work for any skin type since it has very little risk for side effects. Plus, it has no downtime.

But you may require a series of the treatment for best results. Also, be careful to the sun. You need to protect the treated area because it could be more sensitive to UV rays after treatment.

There is also another procedure called dermabrasion. It is more powerful than microdermabrasion, but it’s more likely to cause varying degrees of side effects. To keep safe, do this only when your dermatologist says it’s okay.

#Micro-needling

It is a relative gentle, safe skin resurfacing technique for all types of skin. It doesn’t use chemicals, lasers, or something else that remove the outer layers of the skin. Instead, it uses very fine and tiny, short needles inserted to the skin.

The needles create invisible, microscopic ‘injuries’. Then these injuries trigger the natural healing response of the skin, driving the body to produce more collagen and elastin. The treatment doesn’t have a post-treatment period (peeling period), neither does downtime. But probably it doesn’t result improvements as significant as what is possible with more aggressive, non-invasive skin resurfacing treatments.

Lifestyle measures

Healthy lifestyle choices in our day-to-day life will carry a huge impact on our well-being, which is also true for our skin health. They could be important pillars to keep your skin healthy, elastic, and youthful-looking. Here are a few changes for a better look of your skin in long term.

#Stay active

People spend a lot of time sitting; on the couch, at the desk, or in the car. Too much time parked for inactive activities will take a serious toll on our overall health, including skin health. Just remember anything that causes poor, unhealthy circulation is also likely to cause negative affect on your skin [4].

Fortunately, negative effects of sedentary lifestyle are preventable by simply moving more. Try to have 30 minutes of moderate physical activity for 3 times a week. And do your exercise regularly to gain the benefits most. When your blood circulation is healthy, so is your skin.

#Stick to a healthy, balanced diet

Your skin health could be the window of your entire body. And eating right is a must if you’re serious to keep your skin elastic and healthy in long term. For your good looking skin, here are few recommendations [5]:

What you need? Why?
Avocados Avocados are good sources for unsaturated /healthy fats, fiber, and minerals – all these properties are good to help fight aging skin and enhance your complexion. Avocados are also commonly used in skin masks, though it would be better to eat avocado than putting it on your skin (especially if you’re acne prone since avocado mask may provoke clogged pores).
Vitamin D Vitamin D is important to help fight skin aging. It’s naturally found through sun exposure. But if you stay inside a lot or live in a less sunny region, you need to eat it more through diet. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find vitamin D in foods. In such case, try vitamin D-enriched foods and beverages!
Keep the skin hydrated and moist Your skin has molecules that bind water, and being hydrated is important to have youthful and plump-looking skin. Drinking plenty of liquids is necessary to replace daily water loss and prevent the skin from drying out.
Green tea Green tea provides multiple health benefits. Its antioxidant content is probably the most potential one why it’s good for your skin health. Antioxidants play a role to help fight the effects of skin sagging and aging. Also, drinking green tea is a good way to keep hydrated.
Fruits and veggies Most fruits and vegetables are awesome for your skin health. Blueberries and broccoli are some of the recommended ones. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants to help fight signs of aging skin. The same goes for broccoli. This green vegetable is also good source for antioxidant, plus it contains vitamins A and C which are good to help fight wrinkles and fine lines.
Sweet potatoes They provide your skin a healthy dose of vitamin A, which is helpful to ease signs of skin aging such as wrinkles. Although there are lots of cosmetic products containing vitamin A, using too many of these products could be counterproductive. It’s much better to get vitamin A naturally, and sweet potatoes along with a healthy-balanced diet are so recommended.
Fish (healthy oils) Not all fats are bad. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are required by the body (including your skin). If you’re lack of omega-3s, your skin will be miserable. Omega-3 (especially EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid) is involved to delay skin aging process. So you don’t have to eliminate fats at all costs! Just make sure most of your dietary fats are derived from healthy fats, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and other fatty fish.

#Use sunscreens

Sunscreens protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. They are always good for your first-line solution to deal with aging skin. The effectiveness of sunscreens is dependent on which type of UV they block. There are several types of UV rays — the main ones are UVA and UVB.

Both UVA and UVB can factor into skin damage. But UVA is more likely to provoke skin aging. UVB is to blame for skin burning. For optimal result, broad-spectrum sunscreens are recommended. They can block both UVA and UVS rays. And choose one with SPF of 30 or higher!

#Use moisturizer regularly

Keeping your skin moist is vital to deal with signs of aging skin. And using moisturizer will make your neck skin hydrated and look firmer. Here are a few things to remember [6]:

  1. To get optimal result, choose a moisturizer product that is specifically purposed to help boost collagen and elastin production.
  2. Oil-free moisturizers are more recommended if you have oily skin. Some are also produced with non-comedogenic label.
  3. Moisturizer built in sunscreen is probably your best bet if you have to spend more time outdoors.

Some moisturizers contain hyaluronic acid and silicone, which are also good to help boost your youthful-neck looking. If necessary, see a dermatologist for best recommendation of moisturizer that meets your skin most.

#What else?

  1. Maintain your healthy weight, avoid sudden weight loss or gain! A significant change in weight, especially in an extremely short period of time, can stretch the skin abnormally.
  2. Tobacco smoke is loaded with harmful chemicals which some may provoke your natural aging process. So avoid smoking, including secondhand smoke!
Certain exercises may help, too

Exercise is an important pillar for healthy skin and youthful looking. And when it comes to tightening neck, exercises that involve the neck muscles are worth a try. Here are a few simple exercises you can do anytime.

#Neck muscles working

This exercise will give stimulation for your neck muscles so you feel the neck muscles working. Touch the forehead with one hand and push your head against your hand without letting the head to move forward – hold for about 10 seconds, and release. Then clasp and place both of the hands behind the head, push backwards (hold this for 10 seconds).

#Kiss the sky

Sit with a straight neck and back. Lift the head and chin so your chin points to the sky. Pout your lips, do a sort of kissing motion as if you’re making a kiss (repeat for about 20 times). You may feel it similar to the first exercise, but it works on different parts of your face and neck.

#Chew exercise

Sit down with a straight back. Lift your chin so it’s pointing toward the skin. Hold, and make a chewing motion with your mouth (keep the lips closed). Do this for about 20 times. You should feel the muscles of your neck and face being worked.

#Neck-lift straining

Be extra careful with this one. Lie on the bed, and place your head hanging over the edge. Then when you’re ready, lift your head up (do this slowly and carefully as high as you can with your neck) and release carefully. Repeat for about 5 times. Stop right away if you feel any pain or other discomforts since this exercise could strain the neck.

Citations /references:

  1. https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/are-radiofrequency-treatments-really-safe/
  2. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/anti-aging-skin-care/firm-sagging-skin
  3. https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/non-surgical/skin-resurfacing-guide
  4. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise
  5. https://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty-pictures/foods-that-boost-healthy-skin.aspx
  6. https://www.wikihow.com/Tighten-Loose-Neck-Skin

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