The skin is most affected by age-related changes. However, the process is not even, and some parts of the body may appear older than others. This is what happens when you have the rather crudely named Turkey neck.
A Turkey neck is a combination of different aesthetic concerns. You need to identify them in order to choose the most effective treatment for you. And for that, it is important to have an understanding of this problem.
What Is Turkey Neck?
Turkey neck refers to the loose skin hanging down the neck, which has a crêpey, wrinkled appearance. Because it resembles the neck of a Turkey (bird), it is called the Turkey neck or wattle neck. Also, the skin on the neck is quite thin, so the signs of ageing can be quite prominent.
People have different aesthetic concerns regarding their necks. For instance, working from home and Zoom calls made many people conscious about their “jeck” – jawline, jowls and neck. As you tilt your head while using a mobile phone, laptop, tablet, or computer, you stress your muscles and end up folding your skin. Called the “tech neck,” this can also result in the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines, which will only worsen the appearance of a Turkey neck.
What Causes Turkey Neck?
Ageing and gravity are the main causes of a Turkey neck. After you turn 20, your body will produce 1% less collagen every year. And collagen is the protein that’s most abundant in the skin that gives it strength and elasticity.
As you age, your body will break down the collagen, and its production will also decrease. So, the skin of the neck will become less firm, and you’ll start noticing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. You will also start to lose another protein in the skin – elastin – which results in the sagging of the skin. Here, it is also important to note that prolonged exposure to the sun and smoking can speed up the ageing process.
Ageing, however, also causes internal changes in the neck region, which makes it appear older. There is a thin sheet of muscle in the neck called the platysma muscle that spans from the collarbone to the chin. As it weakens, it separates, and you end up with prominent vertical neck bands, which also make up the Turkey neck.
Another cause of Turkey neck is more related to your genetics. It has to do with where the deposition of fat takes place. So, if you’re genetically predisposed to storing fat in the neck, it can give you a Turkey neck. Lastly, if you lose substantial amounts of fat, you can end up with loose, hanging skin (regardless of your age) because irreversible damage has been done to it. This, too, can result in a wattle neck.
How To Get Rid Of Turkey Neck Exercises: Do They Work?
No reliable studies have examined the effectiveness of neck exercises. If your Turkey neck is a result of fat deposits, exercises can help you burn the calories and tone up the muscles. This can help improve the appearance of the neck. However, exercise won’t eliminate sagging skin, so it might not help your turkey neck.
Some popularly recommended neck exercises include the forehead push. In this, a hand is placed on the forehead and the head pushed against the palm. The same is repeated but with both hands at the back of the head. Another exercise involves puckering of the lips (like you’re kissing someone). And chewing gum is also believed to help with chin fat and muscle strength.
Keep in mind that these are spot reduction exercises, which according to a lot of experts, do not actually work. Also, if you have the wrong posture when doing one of these neck exercises, you can end up with strain and pain. Therefore, be careful about trying out any neck exercises for Turkey neck. It’s better if you consult a doctor beforehand.
What Is The Best Neck Cream For Turkey Neck?
The best neck cream for Turkey neck should contain ingredients that increase the production of collagen in the skin and hydrate it to minimise the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. For the former, retinoids and retinol (a weak retinoid) are popularly used.
However, their use can dry out the skin, which is why it’s best to pair it up with a moisturiser that contains hyaluronic acid. Keep in mind that while retinoid can help reduce the signs of ageing, it cannot get rid of sagging skin either. So, whether or not it will give you satisfactory results will depend on the condition of your neck.
One study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed that a cream containing N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) could help improve the texture of the skin by making it smooth and firm (the participants had “wrinkles, fine lines, laxity and/or crepiness”).
This happened after the use of the cream for 4 months. Other than helping with signs of ageing, it also helped reduce hyperpigmentation. There are many skincare products that contain this ingredient in their formulation. You can also consider trying it out.
How To Get Rid Of Turkey Neck Without Surgery?
Creams and exercises won’t really help improve the appearance of a Turkey neck if your skin has started to sag. Non-surgical treatments can especially help young patients who have mild aesthetic concerns.
Botox is a very popular, non-surgical treatment that has been used to reduce the appearance of different signs of ageing on the face. However, it also works on the neck, and it is called the “Nefertiti lift” after the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, who was known for her long neck.
In this procedure, Botox is injected into the platysma muscles (neck bands). This temporarily relaxes the muscles. That’s because Botox blocks chemical signals from nerves that result in muscle contraction. This will help smooth the skin on the neck. Keep in mind that results will last for 4-6 months.
Dermal fillers offer another treatment option. Adding volume to the skin, this liquid lift can smooth out the wrinkles and fine lines in the neck. They can also subtly lift the skin. Although dermal fillers are also temporary and may last from anywhere between 6 months to 2 years.
Kybella is another non-surgical treatment that uses deoxycholic acid to melt the fat in the chin area. Essentially it will help you get rid of the double chin, which for some, can contribute to the appearance of a Turkey neck. For this, you’ll need multiple treatments, and each one can cause side effects like bruising and swelling.
Another popular non-surgical treatment for getting rid of signs of ageing on the neck is ultrasound therapy. As the name indicates, it makes use of an ultrasound machine to heat the deeper layers of the skin.
This results in an “injury,” which triggers a healing response by the skin. Through this, the collagen production by the body increases. You’ll notice a gradual change in the appearance of the neck after 3 or more months. Again, keep in mind that it won’t give you dramatic results.
Radiofrequency therapy works the same way as ultrasound therapy. It tightens the skin by stimulating the production of collagen. You might also need multiple sessions of this treatment, and your skin texture will continue to improve a few months after the treatment.
Microneedling also works much the same way. Tiny needles poke holes into the skin, which stimulates the production of collagen in the skin. This helps firm up and tighten the skin. Some providers also combine microneedling with PRP, ultrasound and radiofrequency therapy for better results.
While you might have come across some at-home microneedling devices, it’s better if you don’t use them yourself. The skin on the neck is quite thin, and you can easily damage it if the technique is wrong.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing involves removing the outermost layer of skin and heating the deeper layers of the skin. Not only does it increase the production of collagen, but it also promotes the growth of new cells. Therefore, it can also help improve the appearance of a Turkey neck by minimising wrinkles and fine lines.
How To Get Rid Of Turkey Neck With Surgery?
Non-surgical treatments can help with a Turkey neck if the case is mild to moderate. However, if the problem is more severe, you’d be able to achieve better results with the following surgical procedures:
If the reason why you have a Turkey neck is the deposition of stubborn fat cells, you can benefit from liposuction. Sometimes even exercise and diet can’t help, which is why you can consider the surgical route.
The surgeon will make small incisions to break and suction the fat. But before you have this procedure, the surgeon will check the elasticity of the skin. The skin can snap back in place if you have good elasticity. However, if you’re left with sagging skin, you’d likely be recommended the following procedure.
This is one of the most popular and effective procedures to get rid of severe signs of ageing on the skin. It usually involves the combination of two surgeries:
- Platysmaplasty – In this, the platysma muscles in the neck are tightened.
- Cervicoplasty – In this, excess skin from the neck is eliminated.
You may also be recommended just one of the procedures, depending on your needs and concerns. Some people also combine a neck lift with a facelift for more dramatic results. It will take place under general anaesthesia and may require 2 weeks for recovery.
A Turkey neck is a common aesthetic problem. Since it can make one look visibly aged, many people seek different surgical and non-surgical treatments. While there are a lot of options to consider, keep in mind that they may only address specific concerns. You must consult a plastic surgeon and discuss your needs with them to get a treatment plan that can help you achieve the best results.