People don’t always focus their attention on the neck when they are concerned about signs of aging. Aging is usually noticed in the face, but not so often in the neck. However, your neck ages along with your face and the rest of your body.
Having an older-looking neck can contribute to an older-looking appearance overall, even if you don’t have as much aging in your face. A neck lift procedure can improve or reverse the aging in your neck and give you a more youthful look.
Signs of Aging in the Neck
Aging occurs in the muscles, skin, and fat of your neck. Your neck can start to age as early as your late 20’s, but usually, you don’t notice it until you’re well into your 30’s or 40’s.
There are a pair of muscles located in the center of your neck known as the platysma muscles. These muscles sit side by side and stay tight together when you’re younger.
As you get older, these muscles begin to separate from each other and then descend downward in your neck. This is what causes those two lines you see in your neck – these are the platysma muscles that have separated and descended. Over time, these lines become wider and move lower on your neck.
Skin universally ages all over your body, not just in your neck and face. As you get older, your body stops producing the necessary fibers and other components needed to keep your skin tight and smooth. Without these components, your skin loses elasticity and starts to sag.
Lax skin in your neck is usually noticed around the middle of your neck where your Adam’s apple is located. Severely lax skin can give a saggy look to your neck and the appearance of a “turkey waddle”.
The amount of fat in your neck can fluctuate even before you reach your twenties due to weight changes or hormones in your body. However, when the platysma muscles descend and your skin begins sagging, that opens up room in your neck for extra fat deposits to accumulate in your neck. This causes your neck to look heavy, resulting in a double chin that takes away some of the contouring around your jawline.
Why Does My Neck Look Old?
Your neck ages along with your face. The skin on the neck begins to sag, causing jowls and neck bands to form as the face shows signs of aging like crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles. But some people develop more obvious signs of aging on their neck, which causes them to appear older even when their face is just beginning to show signs of aging.
Genetics, stress, anxiety, smoking, sun exposure, and weight loss all increase signs of aging on the delicate neck area, including neckbands, wrinkles, sagging neck skin, and a turkey neck. Here are some key reasons why the neck shows accelerated signs of aging when compared to the face:
- Neck skin is much thinner than the skin on our face, which is why it is one of the first areas to show obvious signs of age.
- With age, gravity causes the thinner skin on the neck to sag and develop wrinkles.
- When we gain weight, the delicate skin on the neck becomes stretched. The extended neck skin can’t tighten and regain its contoured shape when we lose this excess weight.
- Some people are genetically predisposed to developing fat under their chin. As they age, the clear contouring and difference between the chin, jawline, and neck blends and sags, which is commonly referred to as a turkey neck.
- The underlying bone and muscle structures on the neck also become more prominent as gravity and genetics cause the skin to sag and thin, and the elasticity in the skin decreases.
- Collagen adds volume to the skin on the face and neck. But, as the already thin skin on the neck loses collagen with age, the underlying platysma muscles become visible on each side of the neck. The platysma muscles are always there, but as the skin thins they become visible and neck bands become much more noticeable.
Thinning, sagging skin on the neck or a turkey neck can cause you to look substantially older. A neck lift raises heavy, sagging skin, smooths jowls, removes excess fat from under the chin, and contours the jawline to create a younger appearance. A neck lift is performed alone or with a chin augmentation or facelift, depending on each patient’s unique needs and cosmetic goals.
At What Age Does Neck Aging Occur?
Our neck muscles are usually firm and robust in our 20s, but they weaken with time. Aging occurs throughout the entire body, but it is usually first noticed on the face and neck during the late 30s to 40s and sometimes in the late 20s. As our skin slowly stops producing elastin and collagen, the fibers keeping the skin tight and smooth stretch and weaken.
Lax and sagging skin is especially noticeable on the neck because as the skin sags and loses substance, the underlying muscles and skeletal structure become more evident. The platysma begins to protrude with age, which causes lines and wrinkles and possibly a turkey neck. If you have concerns about neck aging, Dr. Bustillo will examine you to determine the best options based on your age, muscle strength, and skin tone, which may be a neck lift with or without chin augmentation.
What Causes a Turkey Neck?
Age, genetics, smoking, and sun damage play a role in developing a turkey neck. The platysma muscles in the neck are side by side, and with age, they separate and begin to sag. These sagging muscles appear as two lines on the neck but widen and move lower as we age.
When the weakened platysma muscles begin to sag, it opens up an area in the neck where excess fat can accumulate. The neck starts to look heavy, and the sculpted jawline and smooth chin disappear. As the amount of fat on the neck increases due to hormones or weight changes, it gathers in this area, creating a turkey neck.
Exercising the neck can improve the strength of the muscles, but it will not change the condition of the skin. Individuals who want to get rid of a turkey neck may be good candidates for a noninvasive procedure using small incisions or a neck lift.
A neck lift is a standard procedure that addresses a drooping neck, double chin, and turkey neck. Excess fat and skin are removed, and the remaining skin and muscles are tightened to provide a contoured and youthful appearance. Dr. Bustillo strategically places the incisions to limit scarring, and patients experience impressive neck rejuvenation.
What a Neck Lift Does to Reverse the Signs of Aging
Each of these areas that show signs of aging in the neck can be improved or reversed with a neck lift procedure. The platysma muscles that have separated and descended can be tightened, and fat deposits can be removed from under the chin. The actual state of the skin can’t be changed with a neck lift, but the skin can be tightened to help improve the contouring of your neck.
A neck lift procedure from Dr. Bustillo involves three incisions: one under the chin and one behind each ear. The chin incision gives Dr. Bustillo access to the platysma muscles and the fat under the chin. The incisions behind the ear are for tightening the neck muscles from the sides, removing excess skin tissue, and tightening up the remaining skin tissues. These incisions are small and are placed in areas where they will not be seen once healed.
After Your Neck Lift
Patients can go home on the same day as their procedure and should try to keep their head elevated as much as possible. You’ll come back to Dr. Bustillo’s office the day after your surgery to have your bandages removed, again five days later to have your chin stitches taken out, and then once more ten days after surgery to have the stitches behind your ears taken out. You may experience some pain and swelling around your neck which can be managed with pain medication. Most patients are able to return to work after a week and can resume more strenuous activities after about three weeks.
Scheduling Your Neck Lift with Dr. Bustillo
Dr. Andres Bustillo is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who offers neck lift procedures at his office in Miami, FL. If you are interested in improving or reversing the signs of aging in your neck with a neck lift procedure, contact Dr. Bustillo to set up a patient consultation. During your consultation, Dr. Bustillo will evaluate your neck by checking all three of the main problem areas. He will also discuss your goals for surgery before making a plan to improve the appearance of your neck.
Contact Dr. Bustillo for your patient consultation today at (305) 663-3380.