“Turkey neck,” “neck wattle,” “double chin”... How can we love the skin below the chin with nicknames like that? Well, most of us don’t—but the reality is that saggy neck skin is a pretty inevitable result of aging and genetics, two things we have little control over.
The skin on our necks is drier, thinner, and muscularly weaker than the skin on our faces—so, it’s especially prone to the effects of time. And although you might be super committed to caring for the skin on your face, the odds are you haven’t been as devoted to that little region below. Sunscreen, for example, is a biggie. Are you protecting your neck daily from UV damage? If you’re like most women, the answer is no.
But it’s not a lost cause. Lucky for us, surgery is far from the only option to tighten the neck.
Treatment Options for Loose or Saggy Neck Skin
There’s a wide range of remedies for loose neck skin that can easily slip into your routine as an extension of your skincare regimen—and a few that are more involved (or more expensive) if you’re willing to go deep. So, let’s dive in.
You probably know all about day cream and night cream, but how well-versed are you on the subject of neck cream? Yup, it exists! And it’s legit. In fact, a 2015 study showed that using a neck cream twice a day improved the neck’s appearance in 94 percent of the participants.
Neck creams are generally heavier than face creams, which makes sense when you consider that the neck has significantly fewer oil glands than the face. Neck creams also tend to offer key ingredients in higher volumes than your face cream, which helps to lift and tone.
Sold and ready to take the leap? Look for a few of these top-performing ingredients in your neck cream formula:
- Retinoids, proven to reverse signs of skin aging by improving elasticity and speeding up cell turnover
- Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid, which have been shown to help resurface any unevenness and encourage the skin’s ability to bounce back
- Amino Acids, useful for stimulating collagen synthesis
- N-acetyl Glucosamine, a powerful ingredient, backed by science, that effectively firms and smooths the skin while reducing the effects of photoaging
And last but not least, don’t forget the most important ingredient of all: SPF. Make sure you’re extending that protective daytime moisturizer to all areas exposed to sunshine; the neck is no exception! Nothing ages the skin faster than UV rays, and the professionals recommend a minimum of SPF 30.
Sure, the sheet mask trend is great, but if you’re not yet familiar with silicone patches, you’re in for a next-level experience—and mess-free, at that! Medical-grade silicone has long been used in the healthcare industry for wound healing, scar prevention, and a number of other heavy-duty, skin-related cases. But these days, you don’t have to pay a visit to the hospital to get the benefits of this miracle material. SiO Beauty makes a handy product called NeckLift that’s a highly effective patch made of 100% medical-grade silicone and adheres to the neck in order to hydrate, tone, and tighten the delicate skin. While even a three-hour session will prove productive, the comfy, easy-wearing patch really works its magic overnight for 6-8 hours straight. What’s even dreamier? One patch will last up to two weeks—and the more consistently you wear it, the longer your results will last (due to the hydration levels of the skin).
How does it work, you ask? For one, it compresses existing wrinkles for smooth skin in a snap. For another, it hydrates deeply—from the inner layers to the outermost layer of the dermis. In fact, in clinical studies, 90% of participants said their skin felt smoother and softer upon removal.
Feel free to gorge on that crudité; your skin will thank you! A 2010 study conducted by the National Institute of Health found that eating foods high in beta carotene can actually repair aging skin. As an added bonus, beta carotene has also been proven to help your skin ward off UV damage and reverse signs of photoaging from the inside out. When you consider that sun exposure is the number one lifestyle factor that causes saggy necks, this is major.
What is beta carotene, though, anyway? Beta carotene is a reddish-orange pigment found in plants that the body converts into Vitamin A, which you may recognize as none other than the skin’s holy grail, retinol: one of the most highly studied and validated ingredients in anti-aging skincare. Vitamin A can be toxic in large amounts and harsh on sensitive skin when used topically—but when eaten, your body only converts as much as it needs.
Foods high in beta carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onions, apricots, and leafy greens like spinach and kale. But you can always pick up a beta carotene supplement to make things simple.
Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient when it comes to skincare. In addition to praise for its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C has also been revered for its positive effects on the body’s natural ability to produce collagen when taken internally. Vitamin C is nothing new—but it has become a popular topical ingredient for facial care in recent years. You may have just never considered that it’s just as effective below the chin, where the thin skin especially needs a boost of volume and elasticity in order to keep trim and taut.
An important thing to know about Vitamin C, though, is that it oxidizes quickly. So shoot for the highest percentage your skin will tolerate to ensure potency over time, and if the formula changes color or starts to smell rancid, snag a fresh bottle.
Ultherapy (also known as high-intensity focused ultrasound) is a relatively new, non-invasive treatment that’s been getting a lot of buzz for its ability to reverse loose skin on the neck, though it delivers the best results in mild to moderate cases. The way it works is actually by injuring the tissue surrounding the neck muscles, which triggers a healing response in the body that results in lifted, regenerated new skin. As you can probably imagine, it comes with a little discomfort… and it definitely comes with a price tag higher than most non-surgical options. But the before and afters are pretty impressive!
Still on the professional side of the equation but less expensive than some of the other options is microneedling, a dermatological treatment involving tiny needles that are repeatedly rolled over the skin. Similar to ultherapy, it inflicts little injuries all over the neck’s surface, which stimulates healing and encourages cell turnover. Again, in this case, beauty is pain. But people rave about the results!
4 Exercises to Naturally Tighten Neck Skin
Let’s make things easy; the best home remedies don’t require so much as a trip to the store. Got a few minutes before an appointment? Have a few emails to answer? Okay, so a few of these might be better performed in private, but hey—no shame in the toning game. If you’ve got a minute or two, you’ve got just enough time to sneak in a few simple exercises that will zap that turkey neck before you can even say, “Gobble, gobble.” Sorry, bad joke!
1. Twist and Turn
To tone the sides of the neck, twist your head to one side and then tilt it back so the crown of your head faces the back of the room. Hold for three long, deep breaths, and repeat on the other side.
2. Kiss the Sky
To address the dreaded double-chin region, tilt your head upwards towards the sky and make a kissing face. You should start to feel the muscles in this area contracting and tightening. Repeat about 20 times each session, and you’ll find yourself bouncing back in no time.
3. Cow Face
It doesn’t sound so glamorous, but just wait until you’ve done it a few times! Marie-Veronique Nadeau, author of “The Yoga Facelift” teaches this exercise in her workshops, and it’s a fantastic way to define both the neck and the jawline.
To start, relax your face and neck completely—to the point that your lips just barely come apart. Stick out your jaw to give yourself a sort of underbite, with your bottom front teeth jutting out past your top front teeth. Then, rotate your head to the left and look upwards. Lift your right arm, and hold the position for five seconds before relaxing again. Then start over—this time for ten seconds. Repeat three times on each side.
Tip your head back so you’re looking at the ceiling, then stick out your tongue and point the tip of your tongue upward, too. Hold this for about five seconds, and then relax. Repeat for three or more sequences if time allows! You’ll notice a sensation of tension straight down the front of the neck and at the chin line. That’s progress you’re feeling!
The Last Word
Well, there you have it. No need to go under the knife to “go from turkey to swan,” as they say at SiO Beauty. Spoil that underserved part of the body for a change by giving it the luxurious creams and hydrating treatments it deserves! And in your spare time, do a few quick exercises to tighten up on the go. As with any anti-aging remedy, the earlier you start, the better your results. So, what are you waiting for? Now that you’re neck-deep in solutions, time to put these power moves to work.