When our bodies begin to age, we mostly notice it in our faces. Creaky joints, slow metabolism, and other annoyances may cause problems and limit activities. However, the aesthetic changes caused by aging can often be the most distressing changes people go through. As the facial skin experiences age-related changes, wrinkles, sagging, and volume loss can change resting facial expressions. This can quickly make the face appear tired, hollow and, of course, aged. Though changes in the facial skin are the most noticeable, there’s one other area that can influence how old someone looks: the neck.
How Does the Neck Age?
All skin ages in the same way. Over time, several changes occur. First, collagen and elastin production begin to slow down. These components in the skin allow it to retain its shape, firmness, and elasticity. As the levels of collagen begin to drop, wrinkles and folds form and the skin starts to sag. Sagging skin is particularly noticeable in the neck area since gravity pulls down the loose skin and creates excess bulk that’s difficult to hide. Once the skin in the neck and jowl area begins to sag, it can create a “turkey wattle” appearance that can make people appear much older than they really are.
Factors Affecting Neck Aging
So why does the neck affect how old someone looks? Mainly because neck aging tends to occur quickly and and cause loose skin to settle in the area. Skin on the neck is somewhat thinner than facial skin. That makes it more likely to show signs of aging more quickly than areas like the cheeks. Despite being more delicate than the facial skin, the neck still gets almost as much exposure to environmental elements, causing early aging. Sun damage, toxins, smoking, and genetics all have a role in how quickly the skin ages. But many people also neglect the delicate skin of the neck when it comes to skincare and sun protection. Aside from the skin, the neck can also develop sagging and signs of aging from muscle laxity in the area.
The Aging Neck Affects Cosmetic Treatment Results
Major issues can arise when patients have experienced significant neck aging but focus only on the face when it comes to rejuvenation. Laser treatments, facial plastic surgery, injectables, and other treatments can help reduce wrinkles or stimulate collagen production, but they can’t offset the appearance of the aging neck. If you want to achieve a rejuvenated appearance, it’s important to consider treatments for the neck area as well as the face.
Sagging skin can be a challenge to treat. Typically, plastic surgery or collagen-stimulating treatments are necessary to tighten loose skin and restore a youthful appearance to the neck. Patients who are concerned with neck aging might want to consider a neck lift on its own or as part of a facelift.
What is a Neck Lift?
A neck lift is a surgical procedure that not only tightens the sagging, soft skin of the neck, but also tightens the underlying muscles. Patients who have a “double chin” or other fat deposits in the neck can also have the area contoured for a sleeker, more youthful appearance. Modern techniques allow patients to get great results while maintaining a natural appearance. Lifting loose skin during this procedure does involve some scarring, but this is mostly camouflaged using advanced techniques so that minimal scarring should be visible.
Talk to an Expert
If you’re not sure if a neck lift or combination procedure is right for you, then it might be time to take your questions to an expert for advice. Whether you’re interested in minimally-invasive procedures or comprehensive anti-aging surgery, a reputable facial plastic surgeon will be able to help you design a custom treatment plan that suits your individual needs.
Your neck shouldn’t define your first impressions. Dr. Edward Buckingham is a board certified facial plastic surgeon who is known for the fantastic, natural-looking results his patients enjoy. For more information, call Buckingham Center in Austin, TX, at 512.401.2500 today to schedule your consultation.