When it comes to aging, everyone experiences the process in a slightly different way. Some people experience greater signs of aging in different areas of the face, and still others seem to be nearly ageless, with very little wrinkling or sagging skin. Most of this has to do with genetics and lifestyle, but the basics of how the face ages are mostly the same. While many people notice an abundance of lines around the eyes and mouth, many underestimate the significance the aging neck lends to the aesthetic changes that come with getting older. Let’s take a look at how the neck ages, and ways to combat the problems.

The Appearance of the Aging Neck

Neck aging may be less of a concern for most people than facial aging—until it suddenly becomes a big concern. One aspect of neck aging that can be distressing to those coping with the process is how quickly major signs of aging can appear in the area. Skin is thinner on the neck, and once all the normal processes of aging have begun, the aesthetics of the neck can deteriorate very quickly. Here are some of the ways the neck ages, and why these changes occur.

Collagen Loss

As with other areas of the body, aging slows down many natural processes, including the production and maintenance of collagen, an essential structural protein that lends skin its foundation, elasticity, and firmness. Collagen loss in the skin is a major cause of aging in the face and neck, and triggers problems like sagging skin and wrinkles.

Muscle Looseness

Muscle laxity is just another part of aging, and when it happens in the neck, the skin and muscles loosen and create a sagging appearance. Along with skin looseness from reduced collagen, an appearance known as the “turkey neck” or “turkey wattle” can occur, so-called because the neck begins to resemble the loose skin of a turkey.

Soft, Sagging Skin

In addition to the “turkey neck” appearance, the soft, sagging skin on the neck can also make the jaw appear soft and undefined, and may also give the appearance of a double chin.

Folds and Wrinkles

Just like your face, your neck can wrinkle easily, especially considering the thinness of the skin in the neck. As folds and wrinkles occur, the skin can take on a crepe-y appearance that exacerbate the aged appearance.

Why Neck Aging Occurs Rapidly

In addition to having thinner skin and weaker, unattached muscles, the neck is subject to all the other factors that cause aging. Besides this, the neck area is typically given less attention and care than other areas of the face, with cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing mostly concentrated on the face itself. Because of the delicate skin on the neck, it is important to be conscientious about sun protection for the area, but few people realize the ramifications of not doing so. Finally, gravity pulls down loose skin which can contribute to the aged, “turkey wattle” appearance. Unfortunately, if good preventative measures are not taken to help avoid major neck aging, the only solution to the problems of an aging neck is surgery.

Neck Lift

A neck lift is a common procedure used to address a double chin or aging neck. Using surgical techniques, excess fat and skin are removed, and remaining skin and muscles are tightened for a more youthful appearance. Scarring is minimal with modern techniques, and patients who are good candidates can expect to see impressive rejuvenation following neck lift. Recovery from a neck lift takes about one to two weeks, with final results and residual swelling resolved within a few months.

Combination Procedures

In many cases, a neck lift alone is not the best option for patients. When there is significant aging present in the neck area, there are often further aesthetic issues in the rest of the face. Because of this, a neck lift is often combined with other procedures (surgical or non-surgical) for more comprehensive results. For example, a neck lift is often part of a full facelift procedure, as typically both the face and the neck require extensive rejuvenation. Plastic surgery is very customizable, and procedures can be tailored to suit each patient’s needs. Combination procedures have many advantages, but also a few risks and drawbacks as well, which should be discussed with prospective surgeons.

Choosing a Provider

As with any plastic surgery procedure, it is important to choose an experienced and skilled specialist to perform your neck rejuvenation procedure. Only a board certified facial plastic surgeon has the knowledge and experience to tackle difficult facial procedures and produce consistently good outcomes for the majority of patients.

If you are looking for a reputable facial plastic surgeon in Austin, come to Buckingham Center and consult with Dr. Edward Buckingham, an acclaimed specialist and double board certified surgeon. When you’re ready to take the next steps toward facial and neck rejuvenation, call Buckingham Center at 512-401-2500 and schedule a consultation.

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