Never have we taken greater measures than we do now to keep our faces youthful.
From committing to elaborate daily skincare routines to splashing out big bucks on facial rejuvenation and injectable treatments, anti-ageing has become a booming business.
But in all our haste to keep the signs of ageing away from our faces, the neck is often forgotten.
“As we get technically better at ‘turning back time’, we are seeing a disparity between the apparent age of people’s necks compared to their faces,” says The Skin Clinic Fremantle owner Dr Sarah Boxley.
“Neglecting to include the neck, either in a preventative skin regime or in a facial rejuvenation plan, can exacerbate this disparity.”
The skin on the neck is thinner with less collagen and has fewer hair follicles and oil glands, which means it is not as resilient and tends to age faster than facial skin when exposed to UV light.
“The neck area lacks the bony support of the face and so when the skin starts to age, it loses its elasticity, looking soft and loose and hanging into creases and folds,” Dr Boxley says.
5Glyde registered nurse and cosmetic injectable specialist Allison Ellison says treatments that address ageing necks are very popular with clients.
“We probably see at least 20 neck clients a week, so it’s definitely something that bothers women for sure,” she says.
Prevention is key
The best way to prevent the neck from prematurely ageing is protecting it from UV exposure.
While many facial moisturisers and make-ups now include UV protection, the majority of people don’t carry application down to their necks and decolletage even though this area is being just as exposed, if not more than, the face.
“The shade protection offered to the facial skin by a hat usually does not extend down the neck either,” Dr Boxley says.
“UVA can travel through clouds, water and glass, so it will come straight through the windscreen of the car on an overcast day to the neck/chest.”
Treating an ageing neck
If a dreaded turkey neck is letting down your youthful face, there are plenty of cosmetic treatments that can help reverse the clock.
Dr Boxley says one of the most exciting developments during the past two years has been the introduction of the TGA-listed injectable product for permanently dissolving the fat underneath the chin.
Ms Ellison says the permanency of the treatment has been very well received at the clinic.
“It’s the only permanent treatment on the market worldwide and what it does is it destroys the fat cell and in turn creates an inflammatory response, which seems to tighten, so you get a far more defined jaw and tightening of under the chin and around the neck area,” she says.
“I’ve not had one person say they’re not happy with it — it’s amazing.”
It requires two treatments four to six weeks apart.
“You do get some swelling immediately post-injection and it can last up to seven days and there can potentially be some bruising, a little bit of numbness in the area that’s been injected, which only lasts up to just a few weeks,” Ms Ellison says.
Ms Ellison says fillers are placed predominantly in the corner of the jaw to help lift the slack and saggy skin that occurs with ageing, and usually lasts up to two years.
She says dermal fillers and Belkyra work really well in combination.
Dr Boxley says dermal fillers can be used in the neck skin for deep folds, or can be injected via a collagen induction technique similar to dermal needling (biorevitalisation) that hydrates and targets the crepe-ness of the loose neck skin.
This can be used in the neck area to slightly reduce fat and tighten the skin, as can radiofrequency.
Theseare useful both for improving patchy pigment in the neck and for promoting increased collagen growth.
Fractional ablative lasers
Thiscan be used to tighten skin and improve collagen and elasticity in the neck area.
Non-surgical thread lifts
These can be used to pull the neck skin up and back, which works best in conjunction with threads to the face as well.