Neck Bands and Wrinkles Causes, Types and Treatment
Necks don’t lie. It’s a hard truth, but necks show our age before our faces do. Some people dub the neck wrinkles neck “tree rings”- just as with a tree, these deep horizontal lines mark the passage of time. By the late 30’s or early 40’s, most women will notice crinkling and loss of elasticity on the neck area. Anyone with fair skin or who lives in a sunny climate may notice neck wrinkles crop up even earlier. Neck wrinkles come in two forms – horizontal and vertical or known colloquially as turkey neck and saggy neck.
How Neck Wrinkles Develop
So why do the injustices of aging show up rapidly on the neck? Chalk it up to a few reasons.
Most women apply sunscreen religiously to their face, but don’t apply anything to the neck or chest area. Long term exposure to the damaging rays of the sun can lead to crepey skin, sun spots, wrinkles and sagging. The skin on the neck and chest is also much thinner than facial skin, so this is where the signs of aging often show up first, in the form of wrinkles and age spots. The neck also has less fatty tissue and collagen, and a lack of oil glands here lead to dryness, which accelerates the aging process and makes skin look crepey. Neck skin has a similar composition to the skin around the eyes, and should be treated accordingly.
Neck wrinkles can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including genetics, sun exposure, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking too much. Gravity doesn’t help here either. Repetitive neck movements also play a role, as does sleeping position. Sleeping in a way that your neck is always crunched down can contribute to neck wrinkles, as can anything that strains the neck, like overly strenuous exercise (ever see someone’s neck tendons flare when they’re lifting weights?). Weight fluctuations and hormonal changes can also play a role in the development of neck wrinkles and texture of the skin here.
Don’t discount the role of your smart phone either. Constantly staring down at a phone can contribute to painful “tech neck” as well as wrinkles. Holding your head at a constant 45 degree and repeatedly “folding” the skin of the neck isn’t good for your neck, or your shoulders and spine for that matter. So stop scrolling, take a break from your phone and try keep your neck level when using any kind of screen.
Types of Neck Wrinkles
Most neck wrinkles are either categorized as “turkey neck” or “crepey neck.” They look different, and have different underlying causes. Another way to think about it horizontal versus vertical neck wrinkles.
“Turkey neck,” or vertical neck creases, sit deep within the skin and have developed over a long period of time. They are generally caused by keeping the neck in the same position for a long period of time, such as sleeping in a particular position or craning your neck to see a computer or smartphone. Turkey neck is marked by skin that looks flaccid under the chin. Some people have prominent vertical bands on the neck, known as platysmal bands. These are often genetic.
Horizontal wrinkles are usually chalked up to a decrease in collagen. Collagen occurs naturally in the skin and gives it its support structure, keeping skin firm, smooth and plump. Collagen production decreases over time as we age, and is also damaged by environmental hazards, such as damage from the sun. Horizontal wrinkles usually show up as dry, crepey skin.
Treatment Using Botox
While Botox was originally created for the facial area, to smooth out wrinkles around the eye area (“crow’s feet”) and expression lines around the mouth, doctors have begun to expand this practice into other areas of the body. Some have injected Botox into the neck area to get rid of loose skin in the neck which is sometimes referred to as a “turkey gobbler” due to its saggy appearance. This is known as a “Botox neck lift”.
Can Botox Get Rid of Neck Wrinkles?
While the use of Botox in the neck is “off-label”, as it is not the intended use of this treatment, the properties that make it efficient in eliminating wrinkles in the face apply here as well, however, it is not a cure-all.
Botox works best to soften shallow wrinkles in the skin, mostly seen in the thin skin in the facial area. The skin around the neck, however, is much thicker and neck wrinkles are much deeper folds than those on the face. While Botox can help tighten the skin and stimulate the underlying muscles, it will not fully eliminate severe cases and it is recommended to go the plastic surgery route with a proper neck lift instead. It is more effective, though temporary, on the vertical
It is more effective, though temporary, on the vertical bands in the neck that are called “platysmal bands”, but less effective on horizontal lines on the neck. The vertical neck cords respond better to local treatment such as this. The horizontal lines are formed through skin creasing and muscle contraction, which Botox will have little (if any) effect on.
It should also be pointed out that Botox can be rather expensive and should be applied by a doctor or dermatologist who has done these kinds of injections before. The results are temporary, lasting around six months at best, at which point your skin returns to its prior state unless you continue these costly treatments.
© All rights reserved Dr. Sergio Verduzco 2018