The neck often shows signs of ageing sooner than our faces, and historically it’s one of the hardest areas to treat. 36% of people questioned in a recent aesthetics survey said that their neck was the area of their ageing appearance which troubled them the most.
The skin below our chin is just as delicate as the skin on our faces and is equally as vulnerable to sun damage, age spots, sagging, and wrinkling over time, but often we fail to take as much care of it as we do our face.
According to Dr Victoria Manning from River Aesthetics, “Many of us neglect our neck when it comes to cleansing, applying daily moisturisers and night cream. In addition, many forget to apply sunscreen to the neck area” she says. “Cumulative sun exposure over the years is often a major culprit of premature ageing on the neck.”
“The layer of tissue under the skin in the neck contains collagen, and it is naturally very thin. As we age and our natural collagen reserves begin to deplete, the lack of volume becomes more noticeable in the neck area”.
Until recently, the most popular methods of treating slack and sagging skin, which characterises an ageing face, has been to either ‘go under the knife” for a surgical neck lift or to use HA fillers to ‘plump out’ the loss of volume in the neck area. According to experts, both come with their downsides:
Dr Charlotte Woodward, co clinical director at River Aesthetics says “Whilst a surgical neck-lift is an effective way to tighten the jaw and the skin around the neck area, it involves a general anaesthetic and requires significant recovery time. It can also be expensive and will need to be repeated after approximately ten years.”
Dr Woodward continues: “Traditionally, Botulinum Toxin (Botox) or Hyaluronic Acid (HA) fillers are injected into the platysmal bands, which are the horizontal lines that appear on aging and heavier necks. Whilst Botulinum Toxin temporarily paralyses the platysma muscle, and HA filler effectively ‘fills out’ the lines, both treatments are short lived. The improvements will only last few months or so, making it reasonably high maintenance and expensive.”
Whether your concern is a double chin, sagging of the jawline or the development of platysmal bands, many experts believe that stimulating your body’s natural collagen is the answer.
Dr Woodward explained “A much more effective solution is to encourage the body to stimulate its own diminishing collagen in the neck area. This way, the results look more natural and they last for longer.”
That is the principle behind the next generation of dual acting regenerative treatments which are changing the way the most progressive aesthetic doctors are rejuvenating ageing faces. Two of the most contemporary - Silhouette Soft and Ellansé work by kick starting the body’s own collagen production by provoking its natural reaction to foreign bodies.
According to Dr Leah Totton, award winning doctor and BBC Apprentice Series winner, “My go-to procedure when up-lift is called for, especially in those over forty is Silhouette Soft. It provides a discrete and immediate lift of the skin around the jowls, chin, neck and mid face area – and in the following weeks and months the results get better and better”.
“Collagen stimulating treatments offer the potential of regenerative lifting and volume restoration, allowing us to create a far more naturalistic appearance. The results are so impressive, no one will notice that ‘work has been’ done, rather they will think someone looks progressively better over a period of months. At different stages in our lives we may need one or both treatments so I classify my patients into four types according to their facial degeneration, drooping or excess of skin to help me determine when to lift or combine the treatments. With these combination treatments we can achieve natural regenerative results akin to face lift surgery without the risks of going under the knife and achieve impressively sustained results.”
So aside from these non-invasive treatments, what else can we do to help improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles around our neck area? Dr Victoria Manning and Dr Charlotte Woodward provide three practical tips that will help preserve the appearance of your neck:
Often we neglect our neck in our daily cleansing routine so be sure to remove all signs of make-up and daily build up when cleansing first thing in the morning and at night. Obagi Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser is a favourite of ours and is gentle enough to use on the delicate neck area.
Be sure to use a high quality SPF on your neck every day whether it’s sunny outside or not. Your neck needs protecting as much as your face does.
Microdermabrasion treatments gently exfoliate skin to restore softness and smoothness and can be done over a lunch hour. Chemical peels can help reveal younger-looking skin, while clay mask peels are best for uneven skin complexion. The Obagi Blue Peel Radience is a great option for the neck area.
Thank you to all of our expert contributors who feature in this article. You can find out more about them on our Meet Our Experts page.